Disclaimer: we are using the “Minds On” strategy in my ENG 2DI class now and these are my thoughts as I model my thinking based on Matthew Taylor’s RSA Short video.
“Creativity as the power to act.” A very simple yet powerful statement. What I love about this idea is that it gives everyone the power to be a changemaker. I think about how we as adults treat children and teenagers and so many times instead of providing opportunities to take charge and solve issues, we swoop in and do it for them. I get it, it’s the parental instinct, and in many respects, the fear of letting our kids fail, but it’s so necessary for our younger generation. I feel like if we provided more opportunities for students to take control, we wouldn’t see the “helicopter parents”3 or the learned helplessness style student.
It makes me think of my oldest right now. She is really into helping out around the house. Sure it takes longer to have her do the vacuuming or she is more likely to spill the milk when pouring it on her cereal, but if I don’t let her be the one in charge of these details, I’m more likely to have her dependent on me for everything as she gets older.
I also really appreciated in the video how Matthew Taylor addresses the idea that employers and educators need to think differently about creative people versus tasks. I feel like our society loves labels and this was especially true for me growing up. My brother is an amazing musician and artist and for the whole time we lived at home, he was the “creative” one. I was athletic and “smart” (ie good at school) but very rarely “creative.” In fact, in many cases, it was a characteristic that my family members poked fun at. I could draw awesome stick people and goldfish and that is the extent of my “artistic” ability. It wasn’t until I got older and developed a love for photography, that I appreciated my creative talents or even felt I had any.
In terms of the classroom, this is especially true as creativity is an integral part of my pedagogy, but yet it makes many students uncomfortable because they don’t feel they are creative. They are good at the “game of school” and instead of realizing that creativity is more than art or music, they tend to shut down on me until I can talk one on one with them to show them that there is creativity inside each and every person. But I also think this is because creativity doesn’t seem to be valued by the education system. It doesn’t fit into our 20th century box and students know this so don’t feel confident in sharing their true creative selves because it could cost them grades.
It’s something I really try to change in my classroom and from what I’m seeing around me, in other classrooms too. I’m glad too because I definitely agree with Matthew Taylor that “all people have muscles of creativity” and the ability to be “change makers.” We just have to provide the opportunities.