I believe there is a fault in our school system. What is this fault? It’s a simple as this: there’s little to no creativity. From a students’ perspective, all the classes I take feel extremely linear. In a music class, we learn fundamentals. There’s nothing wrong with fundamentals, as it’s the building blocks to further success in music; or for that matter, anything we do. However, the only way we apply the fundamentals is by playing sheet music over and over again. As a musician, I feel like I’ve hit a plateau. I can play sheet music fine, and it feels easy. I’ve never been asked to improvise, or write a piece of music, so I could apply the scales, dynamics, and bowings I’ve learned and see how they all intertwine together creating a masterpiece.
As a student, I look ahead 20 or 30 years wondering where I’ll work. At that office, the stuff I learn here at school seems obsolete Sure I’ll end up using multiplication tables to figure out math problems at work, but everything else hasn’t been taught in application. In order to be able to apply that knowledge, I’ll need to have learned how to be creative. I’ll need to know how to build a project from a simple idea, much like creating a science experiment from the ground up. I need to be creative, so I can see how the vocabulary I’m memorizing can be applied beyond the unit test.
According to Mr. Robert Strenberg and Ms. Wendy Williams of the Center for Development and Learning (http://www.cdl.org), creative work requires balance of synthetic ability, analytic ability, and practical ability. Synthetic ability is the talent to come up with new, unique ideas. This ability will help us solve global warming, come up with new strategies to end world hunger, and make more efficient cause. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are great examples of those who have tapped into their synthetic ability. They came up with new, innovative ideas that have changed the world.
Analytic ability can be associated as critical thinking. It is the ability to distinguish your good ideas from your bad ideas, and which ideas to develop into a full blown thesis or invention. These are the people who see where changes need to made, like the scientists who realized there was global warming and said something about it.
Finally, we have arrived to practical thinking. It’s like the sum of the past two abilities. You have to come up with ideas with the synthetic ability and narrow down the good ideas, but now you have to turn them into a reality. Practical thinking is the ability to turn ideas into a reality. You’ll see this at any small business that made it past it’s first year, or the big stores you walk into at the mall. It’s the ability to turn that idea of a clothing store into a national brand, and the ability to make Facebook a worldwide sensation.
A creative person will have all of these abilities; A creative person will not only survive, but thrive in today’s world. In order to encourage the creativity in our schools, this is what I want: Encourage more open-ended projects. When I took art, everyone’s projects ended up as the same style. If you want us to do a self portrait, let us do it on our own terms, deciding what mediums to use, and what style our portrait will be; allow our creativity to shine.
In conclusion, we need to be better suited to survive in the real world. If we build on our ideas using synthetic, analytic, and practical thinking skills, we will learn to apply what we’ve learned and use everything we learn in school, instead of it all being a bunch of irrelevant information that we’ll never use again.