Peggy Grant | April 5, 2012
"One must have chaos within to give birth to a dancing star." Friedrich Nietzsche
We’re hearing a lot these days about preparing students for the more complex world of the 21st century by emphasizing skills like problem solving and creativity. In some ways, however, environments that nurture this kind of thinking are exactly the opposite of what many students want in school. Most students, and not just students, but people in general, like to know exactly what they’re supposed to do and how to accomplish it. But the “dancing star” that makes life meaningful often comes out of chaos and confusion.
We know that creativity flourishes in environments where processes and outcomes are open to original thinking. It’s hard to be creative with activities that focus on memorization or following directions although, as all teachers know, there are students who manage to pull off creative responses with the most mundane of tasks. The rest of the students, however, need a bit more support. How can we make our classrooms chaotic enough to nurture creative problem solving without overwhelming and frustrating students into catatonic states?Read more...
Peggy Grant | August 17, 2010
I’ve been thinking about creative thinking lately, due to a book I’ve been reading,World without End by Ken Follett . In this sequel to Pillars of the Earth, a young woman, Caris, becomes a medical healer and faces the customs and superstitions OF 14th century England. It’s interesting to think about the kinds of thinking that people did during that time, processes that are similar in lots of ways to how we want our students to approach problems.Read more...
Jonathan Maier | August 28, 2009
Have you ever been in a brainstorming session when someone exhorts you to think “outside the box?” Don’t you cringe just a little? Or maybe, like me, you imagine putting that someone inside the box, securing it with an entire roll of strapping tape, and shipping it to a pre-industrial country.
Or maybe you’re not like me.Read more...
Peggy Grant | August 13, 2009
We hear a lot these days about creativity. How important it is in the classroom, the community, and the workplace. Creativity, however, is one of those squishy skills, difficult to identify, teach, and assess. For teachers accustomed to delegating “creative” work to the arts, encouraging this kind of thinking in core subjects, like science, math, and history, can be a challenge.Read more...