It’s No Longer A Choice But A Necessity

For many years schools have focused on the 3 R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic and have been doing a decent job of it. This structure of education worked well for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, but what about the 21st century? Are we doing as good a job focusing on other aspects of education, such as soft skills like collaboration and creativity.  Are schools doing a good job preparing students for 21st century? According to a study done by The Economist Group, employers are looking for employees with most critical skills in problem solving, team-working, communication, critical thinking, and creativity! Let me share my experience and what creativity has done for me.

Dude, Creativity Helped Me

Growing up in the 80’s was fun! We had neon-colored clothes, boomboxes, Walkmans, parachute pants, MTV, and Saturday morning cartoons.  I spent my formative years in public education during the 80’s.  It was common for schools at that time to have courses like wood working, metal shop, auto shop, drafting, culinary arts, and many more. I learned to weld and solder in metal shop, saving me tons of money for home repair jobs. I was able to design an armoire in drafting and build it in woodshop.  I’m convinced that what I learned helped nurture my creative side so much, that some 20+ years later it has come in handy both in my career and life. I share this story as an anecdote to the power of creativity in education. What are we doing now for our students?

Barriers

English author, speaker and creative evangelist, Sir Ken Robinson, in his 2006 TED Talk stated that schools no longer promote innovation and creativity, we stifle it! Robinson asserts that we are all born with an extraordinary capacity for innovation.  As children we aren’t afraid to explore, imagine fantastic worlds, and make mistakes. But somehow during that time period, mistakes and errors are penalized. Creativity is educated out of us! There needs to be a paradigm shift. Creativity has to be brought back into the classrooms. Teachers are willing to integrate creativity, but don’t know how or where to begin.

Creativity + Education = Opportunity

So what can teachers do to learn about creativity? Fortunately, there are many opportunities to learn about how to foster and promote creativity in the classroom.  Adobe and Apple offer free courses for educators on creativity through Adobe Education Exchange and iTunes University, respectively. If you belong to an education consortium, chances are you can find courses on promoting creativity.

Policymakers in education need to look deeply at the importance creativity will have on our students. School boards need to ensure educators are equipped with proper tools and training so they can foster creativity in their classrooms and help teachers make creativity an integral part of the curriculum. In doing so, they will prepare students for those 21st century jobs. Employers look to hire individuals who are creative thinkers, creative problem solvers, and creative visualizers. The school system created in the 19th and 20th century met the needs for the students at that time. The opportunities for students in the 21st century requires school systems to alter disciplines, curriculum, and courses to promote and foster creativity…it is a necessity!

References

Greenberg, Alan D., and Andrew H. Nilssen. The Role of Education in Building Soft Skills. Rep. Duxbury: Wainhouse Research, 2014. Print.

“Creativity and Education: Why It Matters.” Adobe Systems Incorporated (2012): 1-23. Web. 1 Mar. 2016. <http://wwwimages.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/education/pdfs/adobe-creativity-education-findings.pdf&gt;.

“Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System.” (2013): 1-18. Adobe Systems Inc. Web. 22 Mar. 2016. <http://wwwimages.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/education/pdfs/barriers-to-creativity-in-education-study.pdf&gt;.

Tabary, Zoe. “The Skills Agenda: Preparing Students for the Future.” The Economist Group. N.p., 20 Apr. 2015. http://www.economistinsights.com/leadership-talent-education/opinion/skills-agenda-preparing-students-future. 22 Mar. 2016.

“Seeking Creative Candidates: Hiring for the Future.” Adobe. N.p., Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://wwwimages.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/education/pdfs/creative-candidates-study-0914.pdf&gt;.

“Do Schools Kill Creativity?” Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity? TED.com, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2016. <http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity&gt;

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