I have always been a large supporter of creativity. I am always excited when I have the chance to express myself or my thoughts through any means. I Also think that creativity really helps with learning. When you are able to apply your own ideas or thoughts to your learning, I think it really helps at least cement the idea in your head if not excite you about the topic itself. Now, obviously this is much more difficult to do in a topic such as math, where the rules are much more concrete and difficult to apply your ideas to. But I think this is can apply to many things, especially english, but even science where there are a lot of rules. One of my favorite parts about science is that essentially what scientists do is play with things and figure out how they work.
When I am not working away in school, I act at my local children’s theatre. The next show I am going to be in is a musical based on Dr. Seuss’ books called “Seussical”. This show is one of the great proponents of creativity. In fact, one of the motifs throughout the show is a song called “Oh, the Thinks you can Think”. One of the main plot lines in the show focuses on a small boy named Jo-Jo. Jo-Jo is really the symbol of a young child who loves creativity. In the show, Jo-Jo is often “sent home by his teachers for thinking strange thinks and inventing strange creatures.” In the end of the show (spoiler alert) Jo-Jo saves his small world from destruction using his creativity. Obviously this show exaggerates in order to get the point across to the young children whom the show is aimed at, but I wonder how true this actually is in schools. How much do schools squash creativity in favor of stricter teaching curriculums? I understand the appeal for teachers to do this. It’s much easier to do the same cookie-cutter method of teaching for every student. But I don’t think it’s the most effective method, or the best for making great students.
Rather than giving a lecture, I believe teachers should encourage creativity and discovery. For example, in a chemistry class, rather than teaching about a specific chemical and everything it does, giving the chemical to the student and perhaps suggest a variety of things to try to do with it, like mixing it with other chemicals. Obviously it’s important to take proper safety precautions in this example, but you get the general idea. I am very fortunate to be in a school that in most aspects supports creativity, but it still could improve at encouraging creativity. Just like teachers sending students home (or to military school, which happens later in the show) for creativity is an exaggeration, one kid’s ideas probably will not save the world in a time of dire need, but I do think it will help them learn and ultimately become better people.