Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Creativity Score:" an Oxymoron.



Okay, so I just read this article in the Wall Street Journal about creativity and kids.

In which the opening discussion is about how American kids' "creativity scores" are falling.

What's wrong with this picture?

Okay, I'm not too familiar with the study that is cited, and maybe it is a very valuable instrument for gauging the health of our kids' minds. That's fine.

But in order to write an article on creativity, did they have to start with a statistic? Is this the only credible way to discuss something any more?

Creativity is a state of mind. It is a mode of thinking. It is a way of being. Isn't that enough?

I'm happy if studying issues gets attention and maybe affects our national dialogue on how we are squishing the creativity out of our students. It's a start.

But, I fear that we're falling victim to our own habits yet again here. The habits that say if you can't measure it and put it on a chart, it's not worth anything. This is how we got all crazy with standardized testing in the first place.

We tend to talk about "creativity" as something that "CEOs say they need in their employees." As if, yet again, the purpose of nurturing something in our kids is to gain some future advantage.

The reason to nurture creativity in our kids is to nurture creativity in our kids. Not to get some "result." This reminds me of when we tried to say that arts education is valuable because it improves math scores.

Wow, have we gotten hung up on measuring things. It's painted us into a corner. It's time to develop new ways of visualizing ourselves. Maybe set some pie charts on fire. I'll go first!

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