The Creativity Crisis – Newsweek

On July 10, 2010, Newsweek came out with a very powerful article on the importance of creativity and how our capacities for it as a nation are on the decline.  I was fired up, as usual, when I read it because for years I have been uncovering the greater importance of the role of the arts in our children’s lives and have been a huge proponent of the arts in my own inner circles and as an educator in my own classrooms.  Now, not only should we think of making sure the arts have a central place in education, but creativity and innovation as well.
This is a fantastic article on exactly what our nation has been missing the point on:  we need a current national strategy on cultivating creativity within our children, which is one of the 21st century fluencies, in order to be able to solve our world’s problems now and into the future.

The Creativity Crisis

Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the “Torrance kids,” a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, “How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?” He recalls the psychologist being excited by his answers. In fact, the psychologist’s session notes indicate Schwarzrock rattled off 25 improvements, such as adding a removable ladder and springs to the wheels. That wasn’t the only time he impressed the scholars, who judged Schwarzrock to have “unusual visual perspective” and “an ability to synthesize diverse elements into meaningful products.”

The accepted definition of creativity is production of something original and useful, and that’s what’s reflected in the tests. There is never one right answer. To be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result).

To read more of the article, go here.


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