Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts - Special Post #12A


Do schools kill creativity? This has been a much argued issue throughout the history of formal schooling. I feel that some schools do systematically destroy (or inhibit) the development of curiosity and/or creativity in students. They override play and personal exploration. Much of what students are taught is to "get the right answer" and "pass the test". How is this happening? Some teachers are forced to follow standardized procedures to guarantee that students learn what is included in curricula, which leaves no room for the students to explore beyond the pages in a textbook. Curricula, textbooks and educational guidelines normally stipulate the content and schedule for teaching. I feel that this happens because schools have not adopted the idea of a 21st Century classroom, where innovation and creativity is a part of the everyday curriculum.

I do believe that a creative curriculum can be created to increase student creativity. I am sure that someone is capable of forming a creative curriculum that is teacher lead and student driven. The curriculum can include an indirect teaching method and exercise inquiry–discovery or problem-solving approach. If the curriculum can lead educators to be open with the lesson and think outside of the box, I feel it is possible. I also feel that the curriculum should include collaboration. Collaboration is commonly seen as a means of creativity and innovation. There are very few times when teachers will pick up a curriculum guide that expresses collaboration. A creative curriculum should also include Cross-curricular learning. The teacher and student can make creative links across subject areas to contextualize learning and promote creativity and higher learning.

Teacher's actions can increase the curiosity of students. If teachers notice students are not curious in their classes, then we should first look at what we are doing, or not doing. I feel that a lot of curiosity in the classroom stems from how the lesson is being taught. As I mention, inquiry-discovery teaching approaches would contribute greatly to students curiosity. According to an Article I read in the Creativity Research Journal, here are some suggestions as to how teachers can spark students learning experiences:
1. Provide the initial experience to interest students in inquiring about a problem, concept, situation, or idea.
2. Provide the students with manipulative situations and materials to begin avenues of exploration.
3. Supply information sources for students’ questions.
4. Provide materials and equipment that will spark and encourage student experimentation and production.
5. Provide time for students to manipulate, discuss, experiment, fail, and succeed.
6. Provide guidance, reassurance, and reinforcement for student ideas and hypotheses.
7. Reward and encourage acceptable solution strategies. A supportive positive climate will spawn the best results.

Can a teacher's actions increase the creativity of students?
The teachers you most remember from your school days are not those who crammed the most content into their lectures. The teachers you remember are those whose thoughts and actions served as your role model. Most likely they balanced teaching content with teaching you how to think with and about that content. Teachers have to show their students that working and thinking beyond a textbook can lead to exploring new ideas. Teachers are and should be role models for their students. They must first change their method of teaching and get out of their old routines, in order to increase creativity in their students. When teachers teach by following a set of teaching standards and aim at narrow academic student achievement, they tend not to take risks. A lot of teacher are so focus on following the curriculum and the book but if they change teaching from text centered to student centered they will have better chance at promoting creativity. Students should also have a open and active atmosphere, do not confine students to sitting in their desk, afraid to ask questions that may not follow the text. Another Way teachers can increase student creativity is to allow time for creative thinking. Students need time to understand a problem and to toss it around. If we are asked to think creatively, we need time to do it well. If you stuff questions into your tests or give your students more homework than they can complete, then you are not allowing them time to think creatively. In 25 Ways to Develop Creativity, there are additional suggestions for teachers.

As for me, I find that a topic or subject presented in a creative way is what makes me curious. I feel that if teachers and schools presented ideas and information to me and then allow time for me to experience with it then I would be more curious. I am a hands-on person and once I have tired something or while in the process of experimenting it opens up multiple questions that truly leads to having a better understanding.


  1. "Teacher's actions can increase the curiosity of students." no apostrophe needed. Teachers is not possessive in this sentence (like your next sentence).

    Thoughtful. Interesting. Good ideas. Well written.

    Well done. Thanks!

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