Alumni Forums: Creativity Learning and Teaching Part 5

Alumni Forums: Creativity Learning and Teaching Part 5


Your thoughts on the way creativity can
strengthen society and/or strengthen your profession, and as a leader of creative change, which you
all are, what would you like to see happen in the
future? And we can start with Kara. I will start this time. i think, this is kind of going off of what Diego
with saying earlier, i would love to see our educational
system embrace creativity as, and put it in highest regards as they
do math and science. I think it’s just as important if not
more so, and I think it is our natural tendency, I do think
that it’s something that we’re born with. We are all creative, you know? It varies depending on the, you know, the amount and how we are, but we all are. And it is, it’s incredible that, as children, it was very natural for us to explore,
to ask questions, to imagine, and when we hit the educational system, I do think that we’re un-taught, you know? They have to, they take it out of us. They take it out of us because we learn
that it has to be this way, this way, this way, but there is one right answer. And it just… that is incredible
to me, that now I’m teaching graduate students how to do something that they were born to be able to do. And it just, it almost boggles
my mind, really, you know? I mean, we are, there are so many intelligent, incredibly
intelligent people out there, and I know there is sort of that move towards “Oh, maybe this is, this, you know, this does
have some some value.” But I think, I think are our educational system would be
so much more strong, you know, if we really focused on that as much
as we did some of the other things. And now with those 21st Century skill
reports, and all of the reports that have been coming out lately, and the word creativity is in them now,
which we haven’t seen in a long time. Imagine that! It’s amazing.
-It’s an incredible thing And I think that creativity is, well, and even Bloom’s Taxonomy, he came out,
and I remember writing a paper for Don Treffinger and saying I think that creativity
should be at the top, and he was kind of like, “Yeah, right.” Then Bloom came out and said that
synthesis is really creativity, and that’s at the top! And thing is, in order to be creative, we know the Creative Problem Solving process. You need all those other things. You need to be able to analyze a task, you need to be able to focus on details, you need to be able to comprehend… all of things,
everything is involved in creativity, and putting it together in new way, no matter whether it’s math or
science or anything, I think that all teachers should pick the
most important stuff of their curriculum and do something creative with it, and have kids do
do something creative with it. And they’re going to remember that. Because when kids have to make a video
global warming, they’re going to always remember those details and those things that went into global
warming. We can’t do it with everything, because we don’t
have enough time, but if we pick just, like, the most important, everyone takes their curriculum and says,
“What’s the most important thing?” and, you know, works the kids through some kind of
creative project, that’s what I would do to, you know, kind of
change our society, change education, is to really have those creative projects
going on. I think you’re right. I mean,
we need to start somewhere, you know, we can’t change it all together,
we can’t change it overnight. But by teaching them these skills for them to be
successful, and creating that environment,
back to the environment, too, and helping them to be better risk-takers,
you know? It reminds me of Dave Meier, accelerated learning, which I’m sure
that you’re familiar with. I think that’s so incredible. I love, I teach some of this stuff to my students, but what, another thing that’s just so
strange is that it’s common sense, you know this is common sense. Get your kids to be
immersed in it. Get them to be involved physically, you know? I tell my students, you know, “Just
think about being a kid again. How did you do this as a kid?” That’s really a good place to start, you
know? How did you explore? How did you imagine? How did you solve problems as a child? Let’s go back there and start over. -Kind of bring the curiosity back.
Yeah. Absolutely.
-I remember a parent actually called me and asked me to please stop asking her child to wonder at home,
because she didn’t know how to help him. (laughter) -See, then you could coach the parent!
And he was one of the most creative kids that I ever worked with! I said, “You don’t,
he doesn’t need you to help him at home! He knows how to wonder!” You know?
(laughter) Well, and I would have to agree with Kara and Nancy, insofar as the
need to really mainstream this, you know? I think if it’s something
that is taught right from the get-go, children will just naturally, like we do, continue to apply the process to
projects, you know, and so forth. Because at my end, you know, when I’m
working with adults, Kara you said something about, it’s amazing that you have to teach something to folks that they naturally
have but they’ve kind of varied. One of our challenges is to get people to really believe that they can, and that they are creative on and so forth. And so it’s very, very important that they do get that reinforcement , yo know,
throughout. The other thing, and I don’t know
why this popped into my head, but I sincerely believe that Creative Problem Solving, learning that and teaching that, it will help. If we’re diligent, it can really help with
addressing some of the major issues, the major problems that we’re dealing with, whether it’s in a classroom, whether
it’s in school, in a district, in a county,
you know, or what have you. And this phrase, for some reason, just
kind of kept popping into my head: If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for
a lifetime. And to me, I really think that that’s what CPS
does. It gives people the basic foundational skills to advance, and to take themselves and put
themselves anywhere they choose to be. And what kind of power is that? And one of the things that, for me
personally, that I’ve got out of the, the coursework and the training, was that I finally realized that I had more power over what was happening than I thought I had. And I think once you have that
realization, and you have tools to go with it, you have a process. Step one, step two, step three. You know, folks need that
until you internalize it. That can really get folks anywhere, And when we look at so many folks that,
you know, have all sorts of challenges, and we all do,
you know, as well, but I think we have an advantage. We have
a process. We have a way to work through it. But for that reason, I think it’s
important that it is mainstreamed at some point, K-16. I think it’s critical. Now you have also had a chance to look at the
longitudinal data from the Creative Studies Project.
-Yes. And we have a whole host of impact
studies as well on Creative Problem Solving. But from the longitudinal data, what kind of benefits, or what things
really struck you about the power of deliberate creative process? Well I think it’s just that, and I think it’s this whole… what I saw, in interviews with folks, is that the individuals that
had gone through that two-year training that ran from 1970 on, the folks that had gone through that
training, once they, once they did finish it, they really took their lives and their careers and ran with it, and started all sorts of initiatives, and headed
things up, and were very active in their community, were
very active, you know, in
expanding their career. And so it’s that, if I can use the term, that locus of
control, you know? Where do you think the control is? Is it internal, or is it external? And I think CPS, I don’t have anything to back me up yet, but I really think that, that CPS can it’s at least affective in some way. You know, not to say that it’s going
to give anyone 180 degree turn, but I think it does bring folks to the awareness that they can actually accomplish what they
want. And that’s really what we saw, you know, the folks that we talked
that had been through the program, oh my goodness, you wouldn’t believe all
the things that they had accomplished. And the were still enthusiastic, energetic and still, you
know, creating new things and… -And this was thirty years later.
More than thirty years later! It was more than thirty years later, yeah. So I think that’s, that’s a key part. Now, you’re saying empowering, and it really is. It’s empowering.
I remember going through my first class, what is it, what’s the… 560 or
whatever it is. The first class, and having that realization that I can solve any problem. So whether it was My keys are locked in
my car, and rather than just crying, you know, I can solve this, you know?
(laughter) So it’s I can do this, and just believing. And no one ever said you know, in those classes, no one ever
said, “You should believe in yourself.” I mean,
that wasn’t explicitly taught. But it happened. And that was one of the, when I was looking at, for my
Masters Project, was looking at the curriculum, and it was not in there explicitly, but
it was implicit, and others had it. the same thing happened to others, what
you’re describing. Right. It seems to be a given, you know, it’s not that once you get in
the classroom that the instructor will say, “Well, see if you can do this.” It’s “Do it.” And you do. And certainly you have support behind you
with the process, but you do. So. I had a similar experience, too, with just
the feeling of empowerment. There were many instances through the course of the year, but I think it was David Gonzales, who was an adjunct
professor, who, he was leading the Masters Project. And we were just talking about kind of
goals and visualizing, and that’s a big thing with me, that I truly believe in the
power of visualization. But at one point, I was feeling stuck
about something, and, you know I just don’t see this happening. And, you know, I think anyone in the world could
have said it at any other time, but because he said it at that particular moment, at that place in the, in the, in the program, he just looked at me and said, “Why not?” And it was, it was like this incredible
moment, like, Yeah. Yeah. Why not? You know? And that has just stuck with me. And I’ll email him every once in awhile,
just, you know, Do you know how much you, you know, impacted my life? And it’s, again, you know, it was everything kinda
coming together but it was that realization that, Yeah, I can do anything. And look what I’ve done
so far, you know? But in a way that I feel good about it.
Not like Oh, look what I’ve done, but I set my goal, I set, you know, these are my
dreams, these are the things that I wanted to do, and I’ve been able to do that. And to share that now with, with other
people and students, that, that is so exciting. Well it’s funny that you bring up
that language, because we all know how important language is. And I’ve got folks at work that tease me
all the time because they’ll, they’ll turn around and say, “Well it’s not, you know, we should phrase it ‘How might I?’ Do this and that.” So, “Okay, you’re right,
and so how might I?” but, you know, other folks are thinking in
that way, and it is, it really is a great tool to realize that just shifting those
words a little bit, changing the question, is, really makes it so much more powerful. So it’s a very good point.

Danny Hutson

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