The Transylvania Times -

By Corey Gafnea
Everyday Education 

Creativity In The Classroom


Surely I’m not the only one who thinks that the fastest weeks in the school year must be those that follow spring break. As we head to the spring months, there seems to be a big emphasis on getting everyone ready for the end of the school year and, of course, the big end of grade tests and other standardized tests.

It seems that the value placed on these tests is here to stay for now as part of the mandate to prove that students are learning and teachers are teaching in such a way that can be measured against their peers. And not all of this is bad per se, as long as students, teachers, administrators, and parents realize it is only a marker of what a student is capable of and is not used as the only marker of a student’s or teacher’s worth or abilities.

What is difficult to measure with a standardized test is the amount of creativity and critical thinking that is shared in a classroom throughout the school year.

In an age where it’s often easy to find the answers online, parents sometimes wonder if their children are being taught to critically think about the questions they need to ask in order to find the answers they are looking for.

What we want our children to learn is not just the right answer to the question but to become problem solvers, critical thinkers and most importantly creative thinkers. We want our children to understand the value of a good education. We expect the schools to foster a desire to learn and to show how to apply that knowledge to the complex challenges that they face both inside and outside of the classrooms.

We often hear about many of the problems that the U.S. educational system faces, and there are some very real issues. However, in many parts of the world, particularly in Asia, the U.S. education system is praised for its ability to produce creative thinkers. It is this ability that we must focus on and grow.

Sir Ken Robinson, a noted education expert says, “The real driver of creativity is an appetite for discovery and a passion for the work itself. When students are motivated to learn, they naturally acquire the skills they need to get the work done. Their mastery of them grows as their creative ambitions expand. You’ll find evidence of this process in great teaching in every discipline from football to chemistry.”

While we often think that creativity is only to be found in the arts, theater or music programs in our schools, the truth is that if the subjects are to remain relevant and interesting to students, then their creative minds must be engaged in all of their subjects.

This creativity is fostered by the teachers in our classrooms in our county every day and will hopefully be reflected not only on a test grade but in the years to come as students figure out what it is that will spark their imaginations as they discover their unique passions.

(Gafnea has two children in the local public schools, is secretary of the Brevard Elementary OPT and is a representative for the Superintendent’s Parent’s Advisory Council.)


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