Friday, July 6, 2012

Right Brain Rising - Push for Creativity in the Classroom

Though I'm quite the traditionalist in the classroom, I've been trying to push for more creativity in the classroom for quite a few years now - ever since I completed the Colorado Writing Project staff development and attended a poetry conference led by Georgia Heard.  Since then I have added multi-genre research papers to my writing instruction, and I ask my honors English freshman to engage in interpretive dance during our poetry unit.  Each year I am more and more surprised by how truly insightful and creative my students are - and can be - when given the opportunity.

The importance of creativity is explored in a new book by Tony Wagner called Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.  Wagner's first book The Global Achievement Gap was instrumental in developing the concept of 21st-century skills and encouraging a development in our outdated curricula from the 19th-century model.  It was eye-opening for me and many teachers, and while critics argue that it waters down classic education, his ideas seem valid to me.  His new book is targeted toward "Waldorf parents, Montesori moms, and Koala dads," and while  I am sometimes put off by too much of a child-centered discovery approach, Wagner's ideas are worth considering.  Innovation has always been the strength of America and the key to our success.

As the push for right-brain thinking and creativity in the classroom continues, take a look at what the Lowell Milken Center is doing as well.

* thanks to Joanne Jacobs

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