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Education is not only about learning but also creating
Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Some suggest Einstein’s theory of relativity and general genius did not derive from how much he knew to be true but how much he imagined to be possible. Your child could be the next Albert Einstein--but only as long as they protect their creativity.
Here at JEI Learning Center, we believe that creativity is one of the most important aspects of learning. That is why we encourage our students to stay curious and ask many questions; doing so feeds their imagination and innovates their thinking process. That is why we do not primarily focus on repetitive drills and memorization; they fail to foster understanding and creativity.
Children are naturally born to be creative. However, as they grow older, they become less so. NASA did a long-term study on children that found 98% of the 1,600 participants between four and five years of age could be considered creative geniuses. However, after a mere five years, only 30% of that group could still be considered creative geniuses. Another five years lapsed with the percentage dropping to 12%. When the same test was given to adults with an average age of 31, only 2% were considered creative geniuses.
Education and creativity advocate, Sir Ken Robinson, believes the problem lies in the school system. In one of the most viewed Ted Talks, he asks, “Do schools kill creativity?” and goes on to say that children, as they grow into adults, become more afraid of being wrong because of what they are taught. Schools do not reward mistakes; rather, they try to wring failure out of everything as much as possible.
He is not the only one to note this problem. Andria Zafirakou, a teacher who received Varkey Foundation’s annual Global Teacher Prize, said, “There are not enough opportunities for teachers to promote creativity in the classroom, simply because our syllabuses are so tight there’s no time to deliver the content, let alone enjoy and be creative in the ways we deliver the subjects.” A former finalist for the same prize, music teacher Brian McDaniel, said, “A lot of kids are taught out of their creativity—they are taught right answers and wrong answers.”
The testing system is also deemed problematic. One article states, “[S]tudents have been exposed to such a rigid form of education that the only thing being ingrained in their minds is the importance of memorization and how to fill in bubbles.” Another points out, “Testing limits creativity when focused on finding a single correct answer when, in reality, there could be multiple.” Sir Ken Robinson concludes, “Creativity, now, is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
It is important to integrate creativity into your child’s education for many reasons. One of those reasons is that your child is going to need it for the workforce in a couple of years, whether they are going into the arts or business field. These days, employers want to see that potential candidates have the creative thinking skills to tackle projects and envision growth for the company.
Some of the most successful businesses practice the “20% rule” now in which they want their employees to spend 20% of their time in the office brainstorming new ideas and thinking outside of the box. Executives believe that the global market has greatly shifted to prioritize critical thinking, creativity, and communication rather than calculation and other tasks that robots or computers can handle on their own. This goes hand in hand with The World Economic Forum’s 2016 future of jobs report, which predicts problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity would be the top three skills required in the workforce by 2020.
From current employees’ perspectives, 55% of employed Americans in a 2018 poll agreed with the statement that creativity is required in their job, and 60% believed that being more creative leads to greater success in the workplace. As a parent, you will want to take note of such trends to give your child the best chance at success in the future--but this is not limited to the career trajectory.
Creativity will uplevel your child’s life in general. It will improve your child’s flexibility and personal motivations because creativity puts the process before the results. Your child will be much better at adapting to situations on the spot, which comes in very useful for unexpected setbacks. Creativity allows them more agency, as well. It may look like daydreaming, but thinking outside the box is very active, go-getting behavior. It involves asking questions and searching for information. On the other hand, learning at school can be quite passive with students absorbing what their teachers say, consuming textbooks, and taking everything at face value.
One way to help your child with their creativity is to promote the act of reading, which is a more active form of entertainment than binge-watching Netflix. Reading will help your child to mentally construct the worlds and characters described in the pages. You can also encourage them to write their own stories!
There are many other creative tools at hand like coloring books. You can encourage your child to get really creative by coloring outside the lines or using unusual colors! Vision boards are another fun idea that has the added benefit of setting goals for your child. Whenever your child gets a project in school that allows them to use some creativity, take full advantage of it! Instead of having your child take the easiest route with the project, have them think outside of the box to come up with something truly impressive.
Get creative with your child and watch them grow to become innovative and vibrant! You will see it pay off in the long run, not only by bringing success to your child’s future but also by improving their quality of life overall. Watch them become coveted members of society with companies vying for their creative solutions in a rapidly changing job market. Watch them connect to people through their ability to think outside the box and keep an open mind.
Creativity is the foundation for all of these possibilities in the future. Join JEI Learning Center in our belief that each individual has infinite potential--and education with a big dose of creativity is the key that will unlock this for your child.