Creativity Decline in Education over the Time

Children are born to be creative. A child starts imitating his family members and people around him/her and starts developing creativity. Instead of competing against each other on memorization tests, when children utilize their creativity to its full potential, creativity can contribute to healthy lives and future careers. Creativity is making something unique and useful and often produces innovation.
It has been observed that for the past few years, creativity has been in decline. The greatest declines in creativity among the youngest age groups suggest that the younger children are, the more they are harmed by test-centric education. It is observed that most teachers want to be more creative in their teaching. Since there is thrust on students’ test scores, schools have turned to rote lecturing to teach all tested material and spent time teaching specific test-taking skills. Students memorize information without opportunities for application. This approach stifles natural curiosities, the joy of learning, and exploring topics that might lead to their passions. Making test scores as the measure of success fosters students’ competition and narrows their goals, such as getting rich, while decreasing their empathy and compassion for those in need. However, the greatest innovators in history were inspired by big visions such as changing the world. Their big visions helped their minds transcend the concrete constraints or limitations and recognize patterns or relationships among the unrelated. Schools focus on students whose scores are just below passing score and ignore high-achieving students. High-stakes testing teaches students to avoid taking risks for fear of being wrong. The willingness to accept failure is essential for creativity. Teachers have been compelled to depend on rote lecturing, students have few opportunities for group work or discussions to learn and collaborate with others. Schools have decreased or eliminated instruction time on non-tested subjects. This contraction not only narrows students’ minds but gives them few opportunities for finding or expressing their individuality and cross-pollination across different subjects or fields. Low-income area schools, especially, have decreased time on non-tested subjects to spend more time on test preparations. Test-centric education has reduced children’s playtime, which stifles imagination. With pressure to cover large amounts of tested material, teachers overfeed students with information, leaving students little time to think or explore concepts in depth. Student’s low scores are often due to structural inequalities, which start in early childhood, affecting their later academic achievement. Yet, high-stakes testing has determined the deservingness and un-deservingness of passers or failures. The claim of “meritocracy” has disguised the structural inequalities by conditioning disadvantaged students to blame themselves for their lack of effort.
Eight signs of a creative person: One way to foster creativity is to understand the kinds of behaviors and attitudes creative people exhibit, and to recognize and support them. In other words, we have to recognize what creativity looks like—in the people we manage, in our children and students, and even in ourselves.
• Big-picture-thinking: Creative people think abstractly, looking past the concrete details of the current situation and seeking new solutions. However, with their optimism and curiosity, they are sometimes seen as dreamy and unrealistic.
• Spontaneous: Creative individuals tend to be flexible and act fast on new opportunities, approaching them with an open mind and a playful perspective—which can come off as impulsive.
• Playful: Creative people tend to be lighthearted and have a drive to explore the world. On the other hand, this can also be seen as mischievous.
• Resilient: Creative people can pick themselves up after a failure and bounce back from challenges, refocusing on new ways to overcome adversities. Sometimes, this comes across as combative.
• Autonomous: Creative people often strive for independence in their thoughts and actions, relying on intrinsic motivation to pursue their goals. At times, such individuals can seem out of control.
• Defiant: Creative people have a tendency to reject existing norms and authorities in pursuit of their own goals. This allows them to see what others cannot see and develop solutions that push boundaries, which can seem rebellious.
• Risk-taking: Fueled by their optimism, many creative people are willing to forgo security in favor of uncertain rewards. To the average person, this may come across as reckless.
• Daydreaming: By daydreaming, creative individuals are able to envision new perspectives and solutions—but along the way, some of their ideas might seem delusional.
How to support creativity: The most challenging aspect of recognizing creativity is that it takes place behind the scenes: You may see someone daydreaming at work and not know whether they’re procrastinating or laying the groundwork for a creative insight. The process of creativity is somewhat invisible, even though its results are powerful.
• Offer creatives the resources they need: Innovators are like plants, Kim says; they are hungry for resources so that they can grow and develop. This includes offering them the time and freedom to explore informal activities that might inspire them, from continuing education at work to alternate assignments at school. If an employee wants to spend a work day visiting a new exhibit at a museum, you might let them—perhaps they’ve fallen into a rut and need something to spark their next project idea.
• Foster diversity: Environments that are multicultural and open to diverse languages, ethnicities, and sexualities make room for different perspectives that challenge our pre-existing thought patterns. Leaders should aim to avoid creating a community that is culturally homogenous and conformity-based.
• Encourage mentorship: Kim suggests that mentors are beneficial to individuals’ sense of creativity. “They eventually push mentees toward new opportunities to discover their own uniqueness by taking intellectual risks or defying the crowd,” she writes. Leaders can structure their organizations in a way that encourages more experienced workers or students to mentor others. With these guidelines in mind, we can work to develop environments that are structured to foster creativity, which in turn will benefit organizations and help society confront today’s challenges with much-needed fresh ideas.
“Human beings have an unprecedented ability and potential to create, and many find that in the act of creating they fulfill their true purpose in life.”
(The author a teacher in school education department is presently working at Govt High School Brakpora Anantnag. Views are his own)
bhat.hilalahmad32@gmail.com

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