Friday, September 2, 2011

The Creative Initiative

My friend and I were talking just this morning about the winds of change in education. I won't bore you with the details, but to over-simplify, our education system is finally catching up with what lay people have known all along.

Kids need to play.

Years ago, elementary schools had two recesses, science class usually meant that you went home dirty, economics units had students getting paid for their work only to spend the play money at a "candy store" on Friday. That, of course, was after paying a few bucks for rent, a car, electricity, etc. And taxes. Yeah. Let's not forget about those.

My point is this: creativity was encouraged as a way of making learning fun. It's only been the past fifteen to twenty years that there was a tremendous shift. With the rise of the almighty test score, creativity was thrown out the window. Classrooms started looking like little board rooms. Teachers were told that creative bulliten boards were a waste of time. Every minute of the day had to be accounted for, right down to how many minutes used for the restroom.

I'm so glad to see that there might be a light at the end of this ridiculous tunnel. After raising a generation of children that can spew facts with the best of them, yet cannot creatively think thier way out of a paper bag, we finally are seeing a shift. More experiential education. Performance based activities. Creative problem solving ... and, wait for it .... allowing children a snippet of time in thier week to actually explore something they what they want to learn for the sheer sake of learning it. No mindless word search homework. No boring spit-and-get sessions where the teacher drones on and on. Music and art throughout the day. Teachers focused on the relationships with their students, where they can then devise a plan specifically to meet that child's needs. Utopia, right?

Let's hope so! Here's to a brighter future!