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SYN SYNTHESIS OF READING

Summary of Reading and Viewing Graphic Organizer

Name Shannon Woodson


1.

List important information you learned about creativity (general):


Creativity does not equal artistic ability or expression
Many disciplines are creative-Math, Science, Engineering
In our society creativity and suffering seem to be linked which is inherently
unhealthy
People have the impression that creativity is easy but actually involves
disciplined thinking and hard work
Creativity less respected than academic ability or intelligence
Creativity hard to define and measure
Creativity is problem solving
Characteristics: array of interests, flexible thought, introverted, unconventional
and independent, live on the margins of society, much knowledge gained outside
traditional school
Many creative individuals benefited from enriched home environments in early
life
Some believe adversity in early life creates fuel for creative work

2.

List important information you learned about creativity in


education, especially the USA (specific):

Creative people are often considered different and strange b/c do not conform
which is bad due to emphasis on conformity in US schools

American creativity scores are falling and no emphasis on nurturing creative


thinking

Educators overwhelmed by curriculum, content and standards dont feel they


can take time for creativity. Teach different! Still address standards but allow for
creative thought and development.

When students think creatively they are fully engaged-enjoy learning-excel at


school.

Creativity should be as important as literacy

Students will take chances until we teach them not to do it anymore- Schools
stifle creativity! We need to allow more opportunities for authentic engagement and
creative thought.

Torrance suggested the Incubation Model of Teaching using a three stage


model to sustain interest and engagement. Based on Wallas stages of the creative
process.

TTCT used for identification of gifted students in multi-factor assessments.


Considered reliable and fair and often widens the evaluation criteria to bring in more
minority students and those from lower socio-economic groups making the evaluation
process more fair and representative.

Goal should be to embed Williams Taxonomy of Creative Thinking into the


classroom to encourage creative thinking.

3. Summarize what you learned about creativity. Include thoughts about your own instructional expectations and
practice.
Creativity is a process not a thing. It is born out of a need, a frustration, a level of discomfort and in working through the discomfort creative thought emerges and innovation takes
place. Creativity is not artistic but is found in all disciplines and in all areas of thought. It does not come easily must be practiced and developed. Creative thinkers work and learn
differently than others in the classroom and that sometimes makes them challenging to teach. Perhaps there is not enough creative thinking nurtured in our classrooms because it is
born out of discomfort and nonconformity, two things we often try to limit and avoid in education. Although scores on intelligence tests are increasing, scores on creativity tests
are dropping. Creative people are often introverted, have an array of interests, flexible in their thinking and are unconventional and independent.
Torrances Incubation Model of Teaching was interesting to me because it seems like a practical model that can be directly taken into the classroom and used. It seems like a
natural progression of events in the learning process like discovery learning. However, as was referenced in the research, I like many other teachers find the standards and the
content required prohibitive for such methods because they require long stretches of time for students to work at their own pace while we have endless amounts of content to
cover. The breadth of our curriculum strangles the opportunities for creativity. This means we have to learn to teach differently so that we can give due diligence to the
standards and the curriculum but still provide engaging, authentic learning opportunities to our students. Here is the crossroads where I now stand in my teaching as I face down a
new school year. How does one provide the endless content in a Social Studies class when students dont (wont) read at home without lecturing? How does one use our class
time together for opportunities for creative thinking and engaged learning if they havent read and I havent delivered content directly via lecture (so they dont have a base of

knowledge yet)? It is an endless debate in my department and why so many of my colleagues and peers default back to lecture.
I agree with Ken Robinson that classrooms kill creativity and students will learn to stop trying, stop taking risks and stop putting themselves out there. I see it all the time in my
high school classes. By high school, students ASK for lectures, worksheets and fill in the blanks because they hate to be wrong. They like to be right (for a lot of reasons including
grades and GPA). They dont want to take a risk and they dont want to step out there into that discomfort. It makes it easy for us as teachers to avoid pushing them to be creative
thinkers as well. So, the challenge then becomes reversing that process and encouraging creative thought across the curriculum at all levels. One of the important points that I
need to incorporate into my thinking is that creativity is not artistic. Creativity is thought. In the past I have always imagined creativity to be visual expression but with this new
framework, I can incorporate creative thinking into my classroom in many more ways through discussion, writing and small group work. This will allow me to be more purposeful
in my use of creative thinking in my lesson planning so it is present in my classroom on a regular basis. My hope for this year will be that my students will spend a considerable
amount of time uncomfortable (but in a good way) in my classroom!
4.

Re-read Flowers are Red a song by Harry Chapin. Explain your interpretation of the message in these lyrics.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y5t-dAa6UA

In this song, Chapin is describing a negative educational experience for the little boy in the first half of the song. He begins with a message from a teacher on a report card stating
that the boy is a bit different but that the school will have him conforming by the end of the year. This emphasizes the idea that school is all about conformity and rewards students
that meet expectations and behave in appropriate ways. When the boy goes to the classroom and then does not meet expectations by coloring his flowers in creative and different
ways, he is corrected by the teacher and told there is no need to see the world in any way but the way she sees it. Again, stressing conformity to the teachers perspective. The
little boy tries to explain his thought process, clearly a creative thinker. She calls him sassy viewing his creative expression as disruptive, disrespectful.
The songs repetition stresses the importance of the conformity by the school and the negative impact it has on the boy. The boy is eventually punished for the perceived bad
behavior until his spirit is broken and he gives in to the system and conforms. He eventually sees the flowers just as the teacher wanted him to see them and his creativity is stifled.
When he encounters a teacher that encourages him to be free thinking and creative, he cant (or wont). He has lost the ability or the will to take those risks anymore. At the end of
the song, Chapin writes there still must be a way to have our children sayThere are so many colors in the rainbow showing that there is still work to be done. Chapin
recognizes that schools push students to conform. They did when he wrote this song and they still do today. His hope at the end of the song was that we could change the way we
work in education so that children with creative minds feel free to think and create without being pressured to fit into what schools predetermine is correct. When I read the words
to this song, I cried because I dont know that we are doing any better of a job today than when he wrote this song. I teach high school, mostly on-level classes to date. I meet a
LOT of students that refuse to take risks, refuse to allow themselves to be wrong and ask me what I think before they dare to try and answer a question that requires them to
generate a new idea. Somewhere along the way, these kids are learning to silence their creativity voices. Is it our schools? I dont know.