Who do you think is going to win the race? We have a pretty good idea. When we think about education in terms of a race, we need to consider this illustration to keep us in the lead. “Think outside the box.” This common phrase leads us to consider anything but common practice. It challenges us to think of alternative paths and possibilities.
It is sometimes easier said than done, however. Being creative is not always as easy as it sounds. Writers block is an example of blocked creativity. When creativity is stopped in its tracks or not allowed to even start, it is up to us to make it happen or nothing will ever be different, change, or move forward.
“Brain research helps us to understand how to improve our creative thinking and make creative thinking a habit. The creative drive is a result of the interaction between the frontal lobe (where we generate ideas), the temporal lobe (where we judge), and the release of dopamine (which makes us feel good). Learning creates neutral pathways in the brain, which are reinforced with use. … By practicing creative thinking, students become comfortable making new, meaningful connections and thinking of new possibilities rather than relying on established neutral pathways. With enough practice, this new way of thinking becomes habitual and automatic. … Our brains are wired for success, which means students like to be assured of an outcome where there is only one answer: the right answer. This is not what creativity is about. With creative thinking, as long as students can defend their reasoning, many answers can be correct” (Drapeau, 2014, p.12).
We need to challenge our students (colleagues, friends, family) to think outside of the box and model creative behaviors to ensure creative outcomes. Modeling is encouraged but providing a standard example or answer is not quite the path to develop creative thinking. Our teacher candidates would like to see examples and samples of what is expected. Rethink this – if we show examples of everything we can only expect what has been done. We need to expect what has not been created yet.
Don’t allow this to be you or your class or your colleagues.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” ~ John Wooden
Find a new perspective with intentional creativity. Nurture creativity and make it a habit to try something new and be creative. You want the answer to “just how do we do this,” don’t you? Then go out and create it.