Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity | Video on

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson shares in the above TED talk, "Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status."  The Partnership for 21st Century Skills maintains that our work force must be prepared "to think unconventionally, question the herd, imagine new scenarios, and produce astonishing work."  (Henderson)  In the midst of the accountability movement which supports conformity in an industrialized education model, how will teachers nourish their students' creativity so that they may become divergent thinkers?  Creativity expert Robert Epstein recommends that teachers dedicate five minutes a day to creative training exercises.

So what kind of instructional strategy would serve as a "creative training exercise"?  How about utilizing thinking devices?  According to Jim Knight, thinking devices are prompts that are so engaging that students "can't resist talking about them." They can include video clips, songs, photos, quotes, riddles, etc.  The key to a successful thinking device is that it meets the following criteria:  it is provocative, complex, concise, humanizing, varied, and my favorite, not lame.

Thinking devices are a great way to incorporate Brain Rules into a lecture:  After 10 minutes of presentation, pause, share a thinking device, and ask students to make connections between the thinking device and the content you presented.  Be careful not to guide them.  Let them be your teacher.  I guarantee they will surprise you!

What are other ways we can incorporate thinking devices into our lessons?  How can we support our students' abstract thinking and reasoning?  How can schools nurture creativity?

citation: Henderson, Jennifer.  "Developing Students' Creative Skills for 21st Century Success"
24 January web:  file:///Users/teacher/Desktop/week%203%20CAI/Education%20Update:Reading%20First:Developing%20Students'%20Creative%20Skills%20for%2021st%20Century%20Success.webarchive

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