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I have just completed another course in my Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) in Art History through the University of Chicago (Yes, the art teacher still goes to school!) There were a few really interesting questions my professor posted, and encouraged the class to have a (written) discussion based on the readings, cite our references and state our opinions. I wanted to share my perspective with you.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement that our nation is in a “Creativity Crisis?” 

I completely agree that our nation is in a “Creative Crisis” as stated in the opening point of the article “The Creativity Crisis. The Decrease in Creative Thinking Scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking” by Kyung Hee Kim “even as IQ scores have risen, creative thinking scores have significantly decreased. The decrease for kindergarteners through third graders was the most significant.” We have to ask ourselves as educators “Why is this occurring?” Well, lets look at the obvious fact, in my experences when children are younger, they are allowed more free play, more activities to express themselves, and more opened-ended assignments. As they get older, classroom activities become more structured, less open-ended and more inclined to find a “right” and “wrong” result to the activity. These ways don’t promote the practice of creativity, instead it discourages a child from developing their creative ability.

Just like the article states, “In early childhood, distinct types of free play are associated with high creativity”, the older they get, the less free play children have time for, so in turn, it support the fact that the less creativity is practiced, which supports my opening statement. 

 Another fascinating point that I’ve observed in my classes, and now reading evidence of it in this article is “Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. Why, why, why—sometimes parents just wish it’d stop. Tragically, it does stop. By middle school they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same time is when student motivation and engagement plummet. They didn’t stop asking questions because they lost interest – it’s the other way around. They lost interest because they stopped asking questions.” If this is occurring, and we know it, why not foster it? We kill it, which in turn as we are not seeing has a profound effect on our nation. We aren’t raising free and creative thinkers. Creativity needs to be combined with every subject, that is how children will flourish. Even the scientist needs to be creative, to come up with a hypothesis you need to think outside of the box.

What evidence do you notice from your own students and teaching experiences that support the notion that creativity is vibrant? 

I define creativity as the ability that allows students to follow their imaginations and explore self-expression. This is the philosophy I teach with, that I’ve built my business with, and what I personally follow when exploring creativity. I believe when you give children the freedom to explore and allow them to create what is withheld in their imagination, they begin to flourish, and become vibrant and excited with what they create. This euphoric feeling will always give children the great feeling about prating their creativity. creativity, raising artists

How does Sir Ken Robinson’s message in Chapter 1 either align with or contrast from the notion of the Creativity Crisis?
Book: 
Out of Our Minds-Learning to be Creative, By Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson’s message in Chapter 1 is aligned with the notion that there is a crisis pending in the development of our nation’s creativity level. In his opening statement in chapter one when he says, “Most children think they are highly creative, most adults think they are not” as he states “this is a bigger problem that it seems”. He asks why children are “buzzing with creativity”, and when they group up, they aren’t – what happens? He asks all the same questions in the article, leading to believe that maybe we have come up with the answer, however, implementing a solution, is the problem. This is the common factor in all these articles. It’s not a new relocation or issue. This has been an issue that even Picasso recognized. In 1976, “Time Magazine” released an interview after Picasso’s death stating a quote directly related to the issues still pending today. Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I see it all the time when teaching my Children Workshops, ages 11 months  – 6 years old. The imagination, the innovation and creativity is exploding through the roof, because they have no negative self talk, or are insecure about their works. However, for my Adult Workshops, we had to change the whole curriculum model to step-by-step painting workshop, because the opened-ended abstract workshops where adults can explore their imagination, and the innovation and creativity on a canvas, were working because the workshops weren’t structured and adults were forced to be creative on demand. As Sir Ken Robinson’s idea supports the “Creative Crisis” article, “creativity needs to be taught”  he says. Children don’t know whats involved, but they embrace the idea. This should continue so that adults can be more open to embracing the idea of creativity, and its importance on our nations development. 

creativity, raising artists

I feel sometimes these perspective need to be discussed, and we need to be able to express ourselves freely based on the education evidence given to us about a topic at hand. Parents should have this information easier accessible to them, so that they also understand what is happing with creativity. If you know me, I make all my formative decisions, create all my educational workshops, and share all information on social based on facts, readings, and research. I feel transparency is the best way to be. This is why I wanted to share with you some of my research in my class.

Hope you enjoyed, and understood my perspective.

Until then,
The Art Teacher

References:

  • Kim, K. H. (2011). The Creativity Crisis: The Decrease in Creative Thinking Scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Creativity Research Journal, 23(4), 285-295. doi:10.1080/10400419.2011.627805
  • Kowarski, I. (2013). Educators combat “Creativity Crisis”. District Administration, 49(12), 77-78.
  • Robinson, K. Out of Our Minds-Learning to be Creative. Capstone. 2nd Edition
  • Time Magazine (1976) Periodical: Time, Article: Modern Living: Ozmosis in Central Park, Note: The quotation appears as an epigraph at the beginning of the article. (Online archive of Time magazine)