Tag Archives: Education

Creativity Crisis 2017

 

Dr. Kim’s 2017 research on the creativity crisis is presented as a think piece for you, to help prep for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21.

Join me in spreading the creative spirit, knowledge about it,  opportunities for it, and ways to use it to help create a decent life for all on a sustainable planet. WCID2018.

New ideas, new decisions, new actions, new outcomes to make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too.

Here’s the Research
The Creativity Crisis: It’s Getting Worse

Children are born to be creative, like eagles are born to soar, see the world, and find food, not scratch and fight for scraps in a coop. Instead of competing against each other on memorization tests, when children utilize their creativity to its full potential, creativity can contribute to healthy lives and future careers.

How High-Stakes Testing Has Caused Exam Hell in Asia

High-stakes testing has shaped the main Asian cultural values: 1) filial piety (e.g., to be a good son or daughter by achieving high scores), 2) social conformity (e.g., to think and act like others); and 3) social hierarchy (e.g., to obey the authority). High-stakes testing has made millions of young men focus on preparing for tests, instead of challenging the social hierarchy. It has resulted in exam hell, the excessive rote memorization, and private tutoring, starting in early childhood, to achieve high scores among students in Asia. This situation has fostered social conformity and structural inequalities. It has cost Asians their individuality and creativity.

How High-Stakes Testing Has Caused The Creativity Crisis in the U.S.

During the 1990s, American politicians, fearing the educational and economic success of Asia, began to focus on test-taking skills to emulate Asian success. Today, high-stakes testing costs American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year, but the real cost is much higher

Highly-selective university and graduate school admission procedures rely on high-stakes tests such as the ACT and the SAT. Testing companies and test-preparation companies have reaped enormous financial benefits and lobby Congres heavily for more testing. However, because students’ scores are highly correlated with both students’ family income and spending on test preparations, high-stakes testing has solidified structural inequalities and socioeconomic barriers for low-income families.

American Education Before and After the 1990s

Creativity is making something unique and useful and often produces innovation. Prior to the 1990s, American education cultivated, inspired, and encouraged. However, since the 1990s:

  • Losing curiosities and passions. Because of the incentives or sanctions on schools and teachers based on students’ test scores, schools have turned to rote lecturing to teach all tested material and spent time teaching specific test-taking skills. Students memorize information without opportunities for application. This approach stifles natural curiosities, the joy of learning, and exploring topics that might lead to their passions.
  • Narrowing visions. Making test scores as the measure of success fosters students’ competition and narrows their goals, such as getting rich, while decreasing their empathy and compassion for those in need. However, the greatest innovators in history were inspired by big visions such as changing the world. Their big visions helped their minds transcend the concrete constraints or limitations and recognize patterns or relationships among the unrelated.

Prior to the 1990s, many schools had high expectations and offered many challenges. However, since the 1990s:

  • Lowering expectations. Schools focus on students whose scores are just below passing score and ignore high-achieving students.
  • Avoiding risk-taking. High-stakes testing teaches students to avoid taking risks for fear of being wrong. The willingness to accept failure is essential for creativity.
  • Prior to the 1990s, educators sought to provide students with diverse experiences and views. However, since the 1990s:
  • Avoiding collaboration. Because teachers have been compelled to depend on rote lecturing, students have few opportunities for group work or discussions to learn and collaborate with others.
  • Narrowing minds. Schools have decreased or eliminated instruction time on non-tested subjects such as social studies, science, physical education, arts, and foreign languages. This contraction not only narrows students’ minds but gives them few opportunities for finding or expressing their individuality and cross-pollination across different subjects or fields. Low-income area schools, especially, have decreased time on non-tested subjects to spend more time on test preparations.

Prior to the 1990s, schools provided children with the freedom to think alone and differently. However, since the 1990s:

  • Losing imagination and deep thought. Test-centric education has reduced children’s playtime, which stifles imagination. With pressure to cover large amounts of tested material, teachers overfeed students with information, leaving students little time to think or explore concepts in depth.
  • Fostering conformity. American education has increasingly fostered conformity, clipping eagles’ wings of individuality (All schools preparing students for the same tests and all students taking the same tests). It has stifled uniqueness and originality in both educators and students. Wing-clipped eagles cannot do what they were born to do – fly; individuality-clipped children cannot do what they were born to do – fulfill their creative potential.
  • Fostering hierarchy. Students’ low scores are often due to structural inequalities, which start in early childhood (e.g., the number of words exposed to by age 3), affecting their later academic achievement. Yet, high-stakes testing has determined the deservingness and un-deservingness of passers or failers. The claim of “meritocracy” has disguised the structural inequalities by conditioning disadvantaged students to blame themselves for their lack of effort.
Results of The 2017 Creativity Crisis Study

In “The Creativity Crisis (2011)” I reported that American creativity declined from the 1990s to 2008. Since 2008, my research reveals that the Creativity Crisis has grown worse. In addition, the results also reveal that the youngest age groups (5 and 6-year-olds) suffered the greatest.

The significant declines in outbox thinking skills (fluid and original thinking) indicate that Americans generate not only fewer ideas or solutions to open-ended questions or challenges, but also fewer unusual or unique ideas than those in preceding decades (Figure 1).

The significant declines in new box thinking skills (elaboration and simplicity) indicate that Americans think less in depth, with less focus, and they think less critically and in more black-and-white terms than those in preceding decades (Figure 2).
The significant decline in open-mindedness (creative attitude) indicates that Americans are less open to new experiences and different people, ideas, and views than those in preceding decades (Figure 3).

The greatest declines in creativity among the youngest age groups suggest that the younger children are, the more they are harmed by American test-centric education.

Similarities between American high-stakes testing and Asian exam hell have appeared. Increasingly, fewer American innovators will emerge. The longer test-centric education continues, the fewer will remember or know that eagles can fly, and the more we will see creativity and innovation decline. America must not abandon its traditional way of raising eagles. Eagles that soar high will see the whole big world, and children who maximize their potential will become world’s greatest innovators. The world has improved from breakthroughs made by eagles, not by wing-clipped chicks.

Dr. Kim is Professor of Creativity and Innovation at the College of William & Mary (kkim@wm.edu or Tweet @Kreativity_Kim). https://www.ideatovalue.com/crea/khkim/2017/04/creativity-crisis-getting-worse/

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Can one learn to be creative? New Straits Times Malaysia

By HAZLINA AZIZ
January 31, 2018 @ 9:31am

IN the next few years, more than three generations may be working side by side at the workplace. They are the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (also known as millennials) and Generation Z.

Gen Z, who were born after 1995, are beginning to appear in the workplace. By next year, Gen Z is expected to represent more than 20 per cent of the workforce.

Growing up in a world where the Internet, social media and mobile technology have always existed, they will bring their new technology and big ideas with them. It can be a significant challenge to prepare for the clash of these four generations.

Many organisations are still struggling to analyse the challenge that millennials pose in the workplace.

But, how different will Gen Z really be? A digitally innate generation of students, Gen Z have access to more information than the generations before them. Growing up in the age of technology provides them with more outlets and digital tools for exploration and expression.

So, they are said to be more curious, innovative and open-minded than past generations.

While they should be more advanced in searching for information and figuring things out on their own, they also expect everything to be available at any time and with low barriers of access. With Gen Z starting university and the first batch graduating soon, are the schools preparing them for their future? Is higher education ready for them?

A study done by Adobe that provides insight into Malaysian Gen Z students shows that they are feeling unprepared for the problems the “real world” face today, and want greater focus on creativity and hands-on learning in the classroom.

The study, “Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future”, surveyed 250 Gen Z students between the ages of 11 and 17, and 100 teachers in Malaysia.

A similar study was also conducted in five Asia-Pacific (Apac) countries — Australia, India, Thailand, China and Korea. For Malaysia, they found 97 per cent of students and 100 per cent of teachers — the highest rating among five other countries — see creativity as essential to students’ future success.

Malaysian Gen Z students also have mixed emotions when it comes to their future after they finish schools.

According to the study, they feel “excited” and “curious”, but at the same time “nervous” or “worried”. Some are concerned that schools have not properly prepared them for the real world.

They believe that there are a variety of careers that require creativity. Ninety six per cent of students from this study believe their future careers would involve creativity.

Both students and teachers alike agree that Gen Z learn best through hands-on experience and wish that there is more focus on creativity. Students feel that classes focusing on computers and technology hone their creativity and will best prepare them for their future.

Developing creative people is an aim that most in education share; there have been growing calls to nurture and teach creativity from an early age in schools and universities.

The World Economic Forum predicts that creativity will rise from the 10th most sought-after skill in 2015 to the third in 2020.

But, what is creativity? It can seem that creativity is a natural gift for those who are lucky, for instance, great artists, musicians or entrepreneurs. Can one learn to be creative? Can we prime the mind for creative ideas to emerge?

Research has shown that creativity is a skill that can be taught, practised and developed. With imagination, we can be wired to be creative. Creative thinkers in any discipline are those who can tackle complex problems and develop innovative solutions.

Of course, this does not mean that you can teach one to be a genius. The techniques of teaching creativity are not going to turn a student into Einstein or Picasso.

It is more about encouraging day-to-day creative thinking that can make a student, and then later, as an adult, more productive.

Many educators claim to value creativity, but they do not always prioritise it. In some parts of the world, teaching creativity is already a necessary part of an undergraduate experience.

The International Centre for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College in New York is the world’s first university department of its type.

The term “makerspace” in education — probably still new in Malaysia’s education scene — is also the buzzword now to refer to physical spaces that support learning and doing, in a way that redefines traditional schooling. It provides hands-on experiences and encourages creative ways for students to design, experiment, build and invent.

How can creativity be cultivated in the classroom? The way Gen Z students consume and learn today is very different from past generations, hence, educators in Malaysia need to provide the right environment, updated tools and creative outlets to bring out the best in their students and foster innovative problem-solving skills the future workforce will need.

Education systems should focus less on the reproduction of information and more on critical thinking and problem solving. There are multiple solutions to open-ended and complex problems, a situation that the students will face as they pursue future careers.

Encouraging divergent instead of convergent thinking leads to solving problems that do not have one correct answer.

However, it is important to remember that teaching creativity does not mean that we should throw out the textbooks and exams while encouraging children to let their minds wander rather than concentrate in the classroom.

Children should not be given free rein for their imagination to run wild at the cost of understanding a subject. In encouraging creativity, I believe if you want to think outside the box, you must fully understand what is inside the box first.

hazlina@nst.com.my

Hazlina Aziz left her teaching career more than 20 years ago to take on different challenges beyond the conventional classroom. She is NSTP’s education editor for English language content.

https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/01/330504/can-one-learn-be-creative

Creative Problem Solving – a skill needed for the Future: Adobe Study

In preparation for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, take a look at this infographic revealing research by Adobe. It shows the importance of Creative Problem Solving – of using new thinking to approach and solve challenges to make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too.
Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.34.20 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.35.00 PM

You can see the regional difference insights here.

What are three things you can do, or three people you can talk to about this  – to use creative problem-solving day-to-day?  It’s important.

Creative Academic's Contributions to #WCIW

World Creativity and Innovation Week  starts tomorrow. It sets out to encourage people and organisations to use their creativity to make the world a better and more interesting place.
WCIW draws attention to society’s fundamental need for new ideas, new decisions and new actions and the fundamental right of human beings to have freedom to express their fundamental urge to  create.
So the question for higher education is, ‘what are we doing to support this value that should underpin the education we provide?’
posterCreative Academic’s contribution has been to devote an issue of our magazine to exploring the idea of ‘Creativity in Development, Achievement & Innovation’. While innovation is the buzz word of political and business leaders, development is the unsung hero as it embodies all the effort and ingenuity that connects our ideas with our innovations and achievements. The magazine is free to download at  http://www.creativeacademic.uk/magazine.html
To raise awareness of the importance of students’ creative development Creative Academic is hosting a week long social learning event beginning on April 17th on the #creativeHE Google+ platform which we are calling ‘Imagineering in Higher Education’. All you need is a bit of imagination to join in and it would be great if you could participate in the conversation and share your own experiences and perspectives. To join the community discussion please click on this link. https://plus.google.com/communities/110898703741307769041
Creative Academic is a social enterprise whose purpose is to encourage higher education to value students’ creative development as much as their academic development.
http://www.creativeacademic.uk/
Post submitted by Norman Jackson, Creative Academic, April 14, 2016.

How ‘twisted’ early childhood education has become — from a child development expert


Early childhood development expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige: ‘Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that we would have to defend children’s right to play.”
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.washingtonpost.com
Wondering how we all have been shaped toward creativity and creative thinking thanks to our early years influences. A worthwhile read for people who spend time with young children.
See on Scoop.itCreativity and Learning Insights

Brewing Innovation at University of Michigan through across campus random coffee meet-ups

Innovate Brew is a first-of-its-kind program that randomly matches U-M faculty for 30-minute coffee meetings once a month to foster more innovative thinking on campus.


So simple an idea.  Perhaps an initiative to begin at your workplace for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21?
 
https://record.umich.edu/articles/random-coffee-meet-ups-spurring-innovation-across-campus

College of Fine Arts enhances creativity in students – Vidette Online


Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay found that skills gained through even the smallest of fine arts courses can make a big difference in students. Aside from helping students work on skills like promptness, understanding and collaboration, the arts also help students gain confidence in public speaking.
Source: www.videtteonline.com