Monday, February 15, 2010

Creativity in the Classroom

THIS short article made me think.
Our current teaching method is based on the idea that we can teach students to solve problems. It presupposes that we can define the problems in advance, which in turn presupposes that we know the answers. We give the problems to our students and grade them based on the correctness of the answer. But while creativity may help in problem-solving, it’s a fundamentally different activity.

The difference is this: Problem-solving is a repair activity. Inherent in the concept of a problem is the removal of an obstacle or difficulty.

 Creativity is not about fixing things that are broken but about bringing new things into being.
Take the example of a broken car. “Fixing the problem” will get you to a working car. It will never get you to a fundamentally different kind of transportation, such as, for example, an airplane, boat or motorcycle.

Problem-solving asks the question “What is wrong?” or “What is broken?” It assumes there is a right answer, and it’s in the teacher’s edition of the textbook. But creativity asks the question “What do you want?” or “What is possible?” It presumes that there are not one but an infinite field of possible solutions.
 It is the difference an industrial model of education and an information model of education...
Someone who is trained by our system to be a good industrial worker will only be confused and disoriented by an information-oriented workplace.
I think three recent posts and subsequent discussions on dy/dan best illustrate theses differences between problem-solving and creativity, between an industrial model of education and an information model of education...

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