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October 21, 2011

Pop Can Penguin: Emily Lopresto, SHS Class of 2011

In a recent article in The Chronicle Review, it was noted that certain qualities will be key to U.S. success in the decades ahead: cognitive flexibility, design thinking, and non-routine approaches to messy problems.

“Simply put, America cannot maintain a competitive position in the world unless we better understand how to nurture creative talent and put in place policies and practices to do so.”

The authors noted, to prepare students for the global economy, we first need to get past “the naively egalitarian, almost mystical view of creativity advanced by many creativity enthusiasts” – that it will naturally flow if we structure the right conditions. “Existing research suggests otherwise,” they say. “Creativity is not a mysterious quality, nor can one simply try one of Edward de Bono’s six thinking hats to start the creative juices flowing. Research indicates creativity is cultivated through rigorous training and by deliberately practicing certain core abilities and skills over an extended period of time”  This training includes:

  • Using analogy and metaphor to approach problems in non-routine ways;
  • Being able to use critical feedback to revise and improve an idea;
  • Posing “what if” propositions and reframing problems;
  • Looking closely for new and unexpected patterns;
  • Being willing to risk failure in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty;
  • Being able to bring people, power, and resources together to implement an idea;
  • Being able to draw on visual, oral, written, and media tools to communicate ideas.

One of the best places to find this kind of training is in the arts.  As we continue to refine standards and prepare for the Common Core, the arts must remain a critical component in a well rounded curriculum.  Even our reading curriculum can support creativity.  While talking about creativity with Woodland Meadows Principal, Michelle Szczechowicz she noted,

Many of the skills that foster cognitive flexibility can be seen daily in our Reading and Writing programs.  Students frequently pose “what if” scenerios, or predict outcomes in their daily literacy instruction.   They revisit, and revise their schema and understanding based upon changing details as they progress.    They work together to provide positive critical feedback to improve and revise their writing.

With the shift away from routine grammar worksheets and leveled reading books, the door opens to individuality and the empowerment of the creative thinker!

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 21, 2011 10:41 pm

    Thanks for posting this article. I hope the doors of Two Twelve have opened to cultivate creative thinkers.

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