How Schools Can Promote Creativity
History is replete with the names of those who have changed the course of civilization with their ingenuity. People such as Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Nikola Tesla, had two things in common – the ability to think outside the box and the courage to stand out from the crowd. These two attributes, nurtured through their formative years, fueled their creativity and made them the ground-breaking thinkers we know them as today.
Nature has imbued all of us with at least some portion of creativity and it’s in large part up to schools to help our children harness their innate abilities. For better or for worse, schools play a crucial role in helping our younger generations develop their creativity.That is why our schools have an obligation not just to prepare our children for the future with an education, but also to equip them with the wherewithal to shape that future using their ideas, skills, and most of all - their creative thinking.
So what can schools do to promote creativity in our world’s young minds?
Inquisitiveness is the foundation of the learning process. It is the pivot on which the world of knowledge and ideas rest. An inquisitive mind will always keep looking for better, more efficient, more equitable solutions to a problem. Schools must promote inquisitiveness in our children. By encouraging our young people to continually question their world, we will create a future in which members of our society will never accept things as they are, but will instead try to make things as they should be. We must embolden our children to question set dogmas and accepted notions and not to be content until they have satisfactory answers. In turn, this spirit of continuous curiosity will trigger a life-long upwelling of creativity for our children to draw upon as they become confident asking tough questions of both themselves as well as others before coming up with new solutions.
Accept and Encourage Uniqueness
Schools must embrace the children under their care for who they are. Sometimes, we become too rigid and clamp down on any diversion from the norm. This is a dangerous path to follow because it does not recognize every child as an individual, with their own set of unique thought processes, personalities, aspirations and opinions. Allowing children to be independent thinkers will enable them to accomplish unprecedented feats and contribute to society in their own meaningful ways.
Curriculums should be designed in a way that strikes a balance between academics, the arts and extra-curricular activities while allowing students the space to explore what subjects interest them most, be it painting, music, dance or a specific sport. Only when a student knows and feels that they have the support of their school along with their parents will they dare to follow their passions and to work toward achieving their dreams. Any school that does not provide their students this opportunity for self-exploration is doing them a great disservice, as this system will fail to help many children realize their full potential.
All creative journeys require one main ingredient – patience. The creative process can be frustrating and disappointing at times. When this happens, students need emotional support from their teachers and parents. Many schools must learn to be patient with their students and recognize that while some of them might not do as well academically, they might be extraordinary in other, more creative areas. It is each schools’ job to take the time to help students recognize their talents and to give them ample opportunity to nurture their skills as they learn and grow.
One of the best ways to foster creativity in students is to expose them to new experiences and ideas through travel. Schools should include tours, trips, and picnics as a basic part of their curriculum. This sort of experiential learning gives students a chance to think independently in an unfamiliar setting. Providing a platform to immerse students in different cultures, traditions, and languages will also help widen their imagination and how they interpret the world. This is particularly crucial in today’s day and age, where countries are becoming increasingly interdependent as more and more people are connecting with one another across the globe as colleagues and friends.
Think Beyond the Classroom
Sooner or later, schools need to realize that learning cannot be limited to the classroom. The world is changing quickly and educators and schools need to embrace these changes rather than turn away from them.
Technology is changing the way knowledge is disseminated. Today, video conferencing and smart classrooms are connecting students to one another across the world. This emphasis on collaborative global learning can be used by schools as a powerful tool to foster creativity in their students. With time and a new perspective on learning, students will become aware of the best practices and ideas prevalent around the world.
Our schools play a seminal role in the growth and development of our children. The time a young person spends in school can be transformational or it can feel like a complete waste. It’s time that our schools realized the enormous responsibility they have to guide the youth of the world and to bring out the creativity hidden in each child so that our society can begin to change for the better.