Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teaching Creativity for the Real World

The logo of the Creativity MovementImage via WikipediaBy Eric Miller

Creativity comes from real world experience. The real world engenders ideas and new problem solving techniques with hands-on experience.

We're all taught the basic three: reading, writing and arithmetic, but we are not taught how to create.

New products and technology cannot come from someone in a mental cloud who doesn't know the practical aspects of actually making what's in their head into a reality.

Our schools are full of university taught "philosophers" who never lived in the real world. Never had to physically make or physically accomplish anything.

Our society spends way too much time running away from reality by watching sitcoms, sports (remote identity), or playing kill and destroy video games (which engender empathy ... huh?).

Yet, our survival is dependent on real things.

I've worked with brilliant, highly educated individuals, many who could write long equations, but couldn't transform those equations into anything real, something you could handle or actually use.

They knew their stuff, but couldn't expand on their knowledge ... i.e. they could mimic what they were taught, but couldn't extract new knowledge from it. Wonderful people, but handicapped.

I've also worked with many brilliant minds who could turn their ideas into reality. When I got to know my friends, I realized that the ones who could take their ideas into reality had"hands on" life experiences, like helping on the farm, building sheds, making plastic models. They had a "do it myself" attitude.

So, where does real creativity come from? The type of creativity that actually results in a tangible and useful product that physically helps mankind? They come from doers. The people who have the ability to take an idea and turn it into physical reality.

But where does this ability to do things come from? It definitely doesn't come from the pervasive, run away from reality TV sitcoms or "kill and destroy" video games. It comes from actually doing something.

This ability to turn thought into reality is engendered at an early age and progresses throughout life as more possibilities are presented. Each idea towards a goal has to be materialized before the next idea can be formed properly; then manifested.

i.e. Dark at night -> fire -> whale oil -> candles -> light bulbs -> LED's --> plasma -->?

We now have an educational structure in place. Syllabuses are standardized and focus on mental abilities. Very little education is spent on translating those mental abilities into reality. We need to focus more on reality if we are going to progress to our next level of existence.

There is a drive to make the lives of everyone on this planet better. This makes sense, but how do we do this?

By physically building the products, services and structures that improve the lives of as many people as possible, not just talk about it.

A place to start engendering creativity is when our children are young. Children need to have a balance between fantasy and reality. Fantasy sparks ideas, reality brings those ideas into fruition.

One way to get more focus on reality based teaching is to give your child/student a reality based activity. One that produces a real product, something that can be held in your hand..

A pinwheel is an easily constructed toy that provides a fun experience. They are decorated in many ways and children like them.

Pinwheels are cheap and easy to make with a piece of paper and can be decorated and assembled easily by an adult. If a child sees an adult make one, the child will see how easy it is to make and will want to mimic his/her parent. This activity can be accomplished within 30 minutes and provides a fun toy at the end. If you help a child make one, the child will not only end up with a fun toy, the child can feel the satisfaction of it being made by one's self. A child can honestly say "I MADE THIS!"

Making a simple pinwheel helps improve:

1. eye-hand coordination
2. focus
3. patience
4. creativity
5. ability to follow simple written instructions
6. confidence ("I can do it" instead of "Can you help me?")
7. a reward after completion

More subtle understandings about mixing of colors, momentum, storage of energy, symmetry, graphic design, and other real knowledge come from projects like these.

This is one activity that everyone should experience at least once in life so that they too can realize they can create something REAL, too.

I remember my first pinwheel and the enjoyment of knowing I made it myself. In spite of the fact that I had problems pushing the pin into the hard wooden dowel, I had fun with it, and knew I could do it again without being dependent on someone else to do it for me.

Eric J Miller

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Eric_Miller
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