In Creativity Can Keep You Healthy, the article states that
“ Creativity is important for a number of reasons, including:
· It's fun and enjoyable. Doing things that you like reduces stress and improves overall well-being.
· It stimulates the brain. Creativity sharpens the brain, which can stem the advance of dementia in old age. The more new things you learn, the more use the brain gets — and the sharper it will remain. It's often recommended that seniors learn new skills and challenge themselves with new opportunities, but this recommendation is appropriate for any age.
· It boosts self-confidence. Trying new things can improve self-confidence and make you a more interesting person.”
When I was growing up, creativity was not encouraged. Following directions and doing what others did was important. Even when I was doing projects, I knew it was important that it should be like other people’s projects. It needed to be colorful, impressive, and brilliant like I thought everyone else’s was. Or at least that is always how I thought it should be.
But now I realize that I didn’t know how to be creative. No one taught me. Maybe many people believe that you are born with this talent but I don’t think I was. I saw others were talented with creativity but I don’t think I was. I think a lot has to do with right and left brain strengths but does that mean that I shouldn’t try to be creative? It is very hard for me to think outside the box but I don’t think it is impossible. I think this is a skill that if practiced, could be something that is fun, stimulating, and even help make people feel good about themselves.
No one ever encouraged me to be creative and I wondered if that is how I treat my students. I don’t just mean students in the public school but also students in my grad classes. I need to focus on helping others learn creativity. I need to get my students’ input on what they think creativity means. Seeing it from their perspective can also stimulate new ideas.
Many times we give a project and then we tell them that we want them to be “creative.” But what does that mean? I think that means different things to each of us. When I ask my students to do this, I think I need to let them know my definition of creative. Does it mean I want it colorful? Or do I want it to be chock full of ideas? Or do I want it to be unique? Or do I want it to be all of these things? I would develop a rubric that would guide the students in their creativity but also doesn’t stifle them into conformity.
This reminds me of times when I assign written work and the students always ask me how many pages it needs to be or how many words do I expect. Is this creativity? It is to me if their thoughts are unique. But for me the number of pages or words doesn’t mean that much. I would definitely have minimum standards but I would make sure they understand that the sky’s the limit!
I also think we can build on the creativity of others. Just because they use their creativity to reach a certain point, what keeps me from starting that point and moving forward? This constant striving for new things stimulates the part of me that wants to be creative.
If creativity stimulates the brain and relieves stress, why don’t I encourage it more with my students? Not only why, but how can I do it more. I need to give my students opportunities where they can be creative by themselves or with others. Collaborating with others could also lend itself to a support system and take some of the scariness out of the process. Yet, it is also important that this collaboration doesn’t become one sided where the stronger person contributes most and the weaker person is just along for the ride.
I believe that creativity is definitely important to helping a student be successful. As an educator, I need to find ways to develop this skill and encourage my students to practice this as often as possible.
Original image: 'arrive'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14111752@N07/2949731451 by: Alice / Cornelia Kopp