“I’m not creative,” 

Many people say… all the time.

It’s true.  We put ourselves down in this way constantly.  We say that we’re poor drawers or ineloquent writers; we demote ourselves to inadequate readers or technological illiterates.  In essence, we are rather demeaning to ourselves, we go out of our way to say that we are not “creative.” Well what does that really mean?

Creative vs. Creating

In my opinion, creative goes beyond creating.  In today’s age, our students can simply Google the answers to all of their shallow questions about, let’s say, bugs, rewrite the sentences in bullet-point form, and tack them on a poster, showing their ability to regurgitate information that they were able to reproduce with a few clicks and a change of font.  Does this show their ability to create a poster? Yes.  Does it show their ability to be creative and innovative? Hardly.

Likewise, students can very easily find summaries of fiction stories online with relatively few clicks. The site, depending on the book, will provide kids with the main character, setting, a few important events, and even a picture to go along with it.  Bite-sized comprehension!  Creative? Innovative? Absolutely not.

Our Question Wall: Redefining Creativity Begins
with Asking Quality Questions

However, in schools, we frequently define creativity using art proficiency.  Students do not need to be artistic in order to be creative.  In fact, students may create many things that are, indeed, rather uncreative.  Creativity needs to be redefined in our schools.  All students are creative.  All students can come up with never-before-thought-of problems and different angles and perspectives through which to look at a problem.  This is where true creativity comes in.  Creativity breeds in the depths of a complicated problem, and it only shines when innovation and individuality are encouraged.

Creative Tasks Redefined

No one is trying to demonize artistry when reforming creativity.  I think we simply need to avoid using the terms synonymously.  Students who can craft an argumentative paper on how to control the gnat problem in your classroom (hypothetically speaking, of course) or students who are capable of arguing several themes within the story they read are much more likely to be deemed creative problem solvers in the future than the students who can color inside the lines.  In fact, if we are talking college and career readiness, as the Common Core is, then I’d rather be promoting the ones who color outside of the lines and think outside the box–the kind of kids whose creativity encourages problem-solving, inquisitive behavior, and divergent thinking.

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