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Creativity…

March 9, 2012

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.

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