While we appreciate the major strides made in the growth and development of educational standards in United States, there seems to be a glaring disparity between theoretical and practical work that students learn in both public and private schools.
One important area of concern is the teaching of art subjects that definitely demand more practical lessons than theory. The education system has resorted to value creation in academic tests and scores with impressive GPA in total disregard of the creativity potential of learners.
Needless to say, creativity among students can only be nurtured in an environment where both theory and practical work are fairly integrated in the course of learning. This essay explores how full time teaching has suffocated the creativity of students in learning institutions.
As it is common with all scientific related subjects, most intriguing problems are usually solved practically in laboratories through rigorous experiments. It is also appreciated that science related subjects may not be fully understood whenever practical sessions that enhance creativity are not made part and parcel of the learning objectives (Craft 147-148).
Indeed, students in various grades of schooling tend to develop affinity and interest whenever they are exposed to realistic learning environments where they can exercise their free will, ability to think and make decisions independently as well as the liberty to experiment with nature and possibly make ‘mistakes’.
Should this be anything to go by, then it implies that too much feeding of theory based content to students is a clear recipe for gagging an individual’s ability to think and act without external influence.
Worse still, the fact that learners are overfed with old academic content means it will be cumbersome to harness the development of creative and thoughtful ideas from young minds. Unfortunately, this is a common trend in the teaching and delivery of art-based subjects that do not require well set up laboratories for performing experiments and deducing results.
Moreover, students taking art subjects have been compelled to either do too much of referring other pieces of literature from other secondary sources or turn to their tutors for consultations. In fact, the most aptly way of describing this learning scenario is that students have developed dependency syndrome in acquiring requisite knowledge. The major concern among teachers and students is merely how to obtain better GPA scores as well as quick fix strategies on how to excel through the SAT Critical Reading part.
Whether this has been helpful or not in nurturing creativity among learners remains to be debatable. Nonetheless, it is common knowledge for students to resort to hit-and run strategies when their focus is all about attaining higher academic standards. It is also not unusual to come across cases of graduate students from various levels of learning who cannot prevail in deductive thinking and problem solving, largely due to lack of creativity.
The standardized tests offered to American students at the end of each academic year are indeed plausible. Nevertheless, if teachers concentrate more on theory than creativity in the learning process, then we should be rest assured that the eyes of the American education will continue to darken unless urgent and more pragmatic measures are taken to reverse the situation (Jeffrey & Woods 68).
It is also disheartening to note that our school systems may be running like corporations or business enterprises that have vested interests in profits per se. The reality in our education system today is clear; that students are admitted to learning institutions after meeting certain basic requirements such as academic merit and payment of academic dues and levies.
After the process of enrolment, promoting creativity and talent seems not to be a major objective of learning. As much as students gain theoretical knowledge while at school, they can hardly go beyond regurgitating what they have learnt in class.
Definitely, this is apparently a wrong step in the right path of education. Perhaps, what the policy makers in the education sector have not realized is that the natural ability of students is not concentrated in the brain alone. There are children who may not be exceptionally bright academically but they are altogether talented in other areas of life.
Consequently, pumping excessive theory wok into their heads may not be fruitful at all but disastrous in the long run due to lost time, resources and opportunities. But then, why is this the case? Most empirical research studies hat have been conducted on student creativity versus academic scores reveal astounding results.
While academic excellence is directly related to Intelligence Quotient (IQ), creativity is largely pre-determined and controlled by emotional intelligence (Kohn 105). Interestingly, there are vast records of some past philosophers, thinkers and theorists who never made it in class.
A case in point is Albert Einstein, a physical scientist who was ever referred by his teacher as a good for nothing pupil in class since he always emerged the bottom in class. Surprisingly, Einstein spent mammoth resources as well as time in developing a creative idea on the relationship between energy and mass.
To date, he remains to be one of the most cherished scientists of the modern world bearing in mind that his equation is practically applicable in real life situations. Should such a character been restrained from exercising his creativity, then he would have been good for nothing fellow, not just as a school going child, but also in life.
At this point of discussion, it is imperative to appreciate the fact that schools provide a basic ground where elementary knowledge can be acquired. Besides, any learning environment is a potential setting for interaction and developing skills and competences that would otherwise be impossible to harness in a home or isolated environment.
Unfortunately, our educational culture appears to be so much inclined to what has already been processed in the past rather than developing new and fresh ideas. It is a culture that recycles the old stuff in an attempt to make it useful for current use.
However, this may not work in a fast moving world that that has been punctuated with competition and survival for the fittest (Mayesky 71). The fact that the world has turned into a global village calls for a more creative nation. The latter may not be realized unless we allow natural ability to be exercised freely by students in schools.
Assessing education as a platform for competition rather than a vital resource for building the nation is yet another loophole in our educational culture. Making a list of numbers that will eventually dictate the individual ability of a student is a misplaced priority that completely ignores or underestimates the value of education (Geist & Jennifer 145).
By passing on huge chunks of theory to learners and using the same as a definite measure for success for learners, we gag the ability of those other learners who may be excellent in other domains in life.
The scenario is aggravated when the teaching staff insinuates competition among students as the most vital tool for excelling in life. By fact, an environment where individual unique creativity is being enhanced will definitely lead to better results and optimum production since each of the learner will be striving to be the best in his or her area of prowess (Thorne 32).
The ability of students should be determined by their curiosity for knowledge as well as individual integrity. In line with this, the capacity of a student to perform should be envisaged in the way he or she attempts to seek solutions to prevailing challenges in a more creative approach (Wu 126).
These are powerful implications if they are to be put into action at any level of learning. For instance, when learners acquire theoretical knowledge that has been passed from one decade or century to another, their personal integrity will not be brought onto the surface. In other words, it will be close to impossible to comprehend the type of people they are, let alone their unique underlying abilities.
Additionally, a fully loaded theoretical learning environment and where creativity is not in place is likely to kill the curiosity of learners to acquire knowledge that is pragmatic and useful in their lives. Having said this, a creative approach to issues is overly necessary especially for a graduate student who is perceived by the society as not only knowledgeable but also critical in problem solving.
As it stands now, our education system is fairly good but lacks the vital ingredient of developing creativity. We tend to think and overshadow ourselves with the fact that the system of tests and cut-throat competition will eventually land America into knowledge euphoria. It takes more than just theory work to fully build an independent human capacity that is void of reliance on other sources in order to perform.
In any case, the American education system has to some extent, insinuated that those students who do not excel academically and end up as pop stars or otherwise, is failures in life. It is a misconception of reality that has graduated into a myth in some quarters. Students who score As in class are equally god as those who end up in performing arts.
The emphasis given to creativity in this essay does not imply that other elements of learning are less important. It is paramount to reiterate the fact that systems and structures cannot be ignored whenever setting up any form of project, let’s say a school. The modality used to develop these very systems and structures is by far and large, dependent on the level of creativity of the doer. For instance, it is creative work as well as stressful to design a building (Wu 125).
The design of the given building will not be functional if the real task of imagination (and so creativity) is not injected in the process. This is analogous to our system of education. We apparently fail to acknowledge that developing a human mind through the acquisition of requisite knowledge is indeed an art of design that is not done well, will lead into regretful failure.
One single most important question that we are left to debate here is that,how should basic educational knowledge be delivered to our children without leaving them brain-naked and unable to think for themselves? Indeed, a clear-cut and easy answer for this question is not readily available; more deliberations is needed (Lewis 255).
Routines and structures are necessary in our day-to-day lives in order to function normally and optimally. Just like adults, school going children are creatures of habit that eventually determines the stability of our foundation. For children in particular, lack of well defined structure, whether in home or school settings, is likely to cause some form of instability especially in regard to their learning needs.
At one point, they may stop caring thinking that they are either mentally incapacitated when they are poorly performing in class or useless beings that did not deserve to live.
Let us imagine of a scenario when such category of children are not attended to. In any case, they may be well endowed with unique abilities that may benefit them in other areas of life. However, too much concentration on the absorption of theoretical literature by students may as well be suicidal to the dreams and aspirations of children (Starko 48).
Educational psychologists have widely emphasized the importance of striking equilibrium between leisure and class work (Wu 125). It is through play that children learn to be creative. In other words, creativity is derived from play sessions. Although class work entails the use of the mind in most times, it may also incorporate some degree of creativity.
What does this insinuate? In spite of the rigid guidelines and time constraints a teacher has in any given day, it is still not impossibility for a teacher to devise an environment of fun and creativity while teaching so that the gap between the two extremes is closely narrowed.
The art and music classes in school curriculum have been structured for long. Worst of all is the fact that these lessons have been strictly structured in some cases. As a result, it has been quite cumbersome for students who wish to pursue some of these subjects to fully engage themselves in acquiring the relevant knowledge.
As such, they end half-baking themselves with quite a number of subjects that do not elicit their creativity or ability in any way. Teachers have also worsened the situation by sticking to certain conventional models of teaching that do not match the current needs of learning. One such area is the way they typically deliver lesson content when teaching. To some students, such old approaches are hard getting along with.
Much has been said about teachers and how they have tentatively contributed towards the loss of creativity among children. To hit the nail on the head, it is worth pointing out that parents too, have a role to play in nurturing not only creativity but also talent among their children (Coleman & Cross 88).
It is obvious that the process of successful learning demands three key players namely the student, parent and teacher. If one of three relaxes or withdraw from performing his or her role, the end result will not be impressive.
It is upon parents to monitor both the academic and talent (and so creativity) growth of their children. In some instances, it is possible for children to develop rebellious attitude towards learning only to blame it on teachers and the school systems. Besides, it is pertinent for parents to learn that not all content in their child’s mind is acquired from schoolwork.
The creativity spark in a child’s mind can be rekindled by a parent when the latter opts to undertake simple activities at home together with the child. For example, using Google search engine, the child can be directed on how to learn more about an issue of interest and in the process enhance creativity.
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Jeffrey, Bob & Woods, Peter. The creative school: a framework for success, quality and effectiveness, Oxon: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003.
Kohn, Alfie. The schools our children deserve: moving beyond traditional classrooms and tougher standards. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Lewis, Theodore. Creativity in technology education: providing children with glimpses of their inventive potential. International Journal of Technology and Design Education 19.3 (2009): 255.
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