Do Schools Provide Enough Creative Opportunities?
Creativity refers to the use of original ideas and imagination to bring out a concept in an artistic way. Many schools have focused on theoretical learning by following old methods of teaching which do not encourage creativity (Gonchor, 2013). It is unfortunate that schools do not provide sufficient opportunities for students to become creative. This paper will expound on how schools constrain creative opportunities for students. It will also provide suggestions on how to increase these opportunities since they constitute a vital element in career development.
Firstly, creativity is restricted in many schools due to the contemporary one-dimensional approach to teaching and learning. In this approach, students are required to follow a particular procedure in pursuing their interests in subjects such as music. A student who wants to play the violin has to learn to play scales and graded music in a specified sequence. This approach can contribute greatly to a loss of interest in the field. Additionally, students are restricted in terms of the kind of music they can play during examinations. Therefore, they are not free to explore new fields that may be of interest to them. For creativity to develop, they should be encouraged to pursue different aspects of their projects and to adopt various perspectives. This will enable them to acquire knowledge and develop interests that correspond to their creative abilities. Moreover, learning different fields of a particular subject exposes learners to numerous choices. They can quickly identify the specific field that suits them better compared to others. In the end, this can enable them to develop the most appropriate career. At that point, learning will be said to have achieved its purpose.
Besides, schools do not provide sufficient opportunities for the development of creative skills due to overreliance on conventional methods of learning (Fasko, 2001). In many cases, students are required to submit written assignments that do not encourage them to explore different methods of work presentation. Preoccupation with written assignments inhibits the development of other relevant skills such as art and graphic presentation. The most widely used methods of data presentation do not encourage the development of skills and exploration. Moreover, this method easily encourages cheating since all answers are standardized. Consequently, students find it difficult to apply what is learned to real-life situations. Therefore, allowing learners to present data in a creative and original manner can help them to develop creative solutions to day-to-day problems throughout their lives.
Evidently, the standardization of tests is responsible for the present lack of insight among learners. They are unable to use readily available tools, resources, and competencies to solve problems in unusual ways. To do so, they would need to learn how to restructure problems in creative ways. This ability should go hand in hand with skills on how to transfer knowledge relating to one aspect of life to other seemingly unrelated aspects of life. Unless learners are motivated to think creatively, they will never cognitively be prepared to do so. In this case, motivation should involve not only allowing students to choose their own tasks but also guiding them throughout the constructive process of creative learning.
Furthermore, opportunities for creativity are limited in school because many learning institutions have failed to reform their curricula. As a result, all lessons are conducted in a boring manner that discourages the development of new concepts. Teachers should consider conducting classes in different environments to enrich the learning process as well as reduce monotony and boredom. Moreover, students should be actively involved in the learning process by being assigned to do different tasks and being allowed to provide alternative conceptual interpretations (Sawyer, 2006). Direct student involvement is essential not only for learning but also for gaining self-confidence in various activities such as class presentations. Moreover, the skill can enable learners to pursue other areas involving self-expression such as drama.
Moreover, learning institutions have not been setting aside enough time for creative activities. Most of the time is spent inside classrooms while little time is allocated for sports and other extra-curricular activities. Creativity thrives best in situations where classroom activities are blended with sporting events. Teachers should increase the amount of time allocated to creative activities in addition to encouraging students to pursue their favorite sporting events. At the same time, efforts should be made to promote competitions in creative areas such as drawing, painting, music, drama, and sports. The idea is to trigger interest in diverse areas and discover new talents among learners. During competitions, learners quickly realize that creativity is collective endeavor teamwork is encouraged. The choice between team-oriented and individual-effort sporting events acts as an indicator of diversity in learners’ creative abilities. On this basis, teachers gain an in-depth understanding of individual learners’ strengths and weaknesses. Through the development of meaningful connections with classmates with shared creative interests, students can learn to reinforce their strengths and overcome weaknesses. During these interactions, teachers should support and reinforce any unusual ideas that students may generate. Similarly, they should failure positively as a platform for helping students to realize a climate of acceptance and mutual respect is being developed with the aim of encouraging everyone to express their ideas freely.
In addition to this, the contemporary education system has failed to provide adequate creative opportunities in terms of technology use. For example, PowerPoint presentations constitute an excellent way in which schools can promote creativity. It can make classes more interactive as the teachers can add videos and pictures when teaching students. Moreover, students should also be encouraged to do their assignments by creating videos that will not only educate them on video editing skills but also provide an opportunity for self-expression in a manner that is both memorable and entertaining. The use of technology is essential in developing creativity owing to the diversity of possible interactions among various multimedia components. Students who learn to use technology to do their work and incorporate creativity will adapt easier to the world because there is a great use of technology in many fields, one example being in medicine where x- rays technology has been widely embraced (Darling- Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995).
Furthermore, contemporary learning institutions rarely offer enough creative opportunities because the students are not involved in decision-making processes. Many schools follow the established culture which guides all policies, procedures, and routines. Therefore, a school’s culture affects the opportunities the students have to express themselves in terms of co-curricular activities. Moreover, the culture also guides the teaching methods the teachers use while also outlining the core values and principles of the school (Bell et al., 2003). Therefore, in contexts where students’ opinions are valued, there are many opportunities for self- expression. Schools can, however, provide more opportunities for the students to develop creatively through involving them in the decision making process. The students can suggest areas, where they think, should be changed, for instance, in teaching and in doing assignments. Moreover, the students can also suggest what approach should be used in encouraging the development of skills in creative subjects such as music. The involvement of learners in the decision-making process is vital for a school that aims to provide more opportunities for creative development.
In conclusion, creativity is an essential element of the learning
process. Even in employment fields, the use of creativity is vital in solving
problems that companies encounter as the problems experienced may be different.
Therefore, students should be taught in a manner that encourages creativity.
Passion and desire to discover new talent should be the basis upon which skill
development initiatives are introduced. For passion and desire for creativity
to be maintained, teachers should be encouraged to use different teaching
methods with different students, for instance, in music lessons. This will
ensure that the students maintain their interest in the different fields and
work to develop the skills. Moreover, student involvement in decision-making is
vital as they will recommend methods that will be effective for them to develop
their creativity. In implementing these recommendations, the school
administration has to be flexible. One of the best ways of promoting
flexibility is through the incorporation of technology in contemporary teaching
methods. Doing so will pave the way for school curriculum development while at
the same time providing learners with more opportunities to be creative. The
adoption of such innovative approaches will go a long way towards equipping
students with valuable skills on how to come up with creative solutions to
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Darling-Hammond, L., & McLaughlin, M. W. (1995). Policies that support professional development in an era of reform. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(8), 81-92.
Fasko, D. (2001). Education and creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 13(3), 317-327.
Gonchor M. (2013). Do schools provide students with enough opportunities to be creative? The New York Times. Web.
Sawyer, R. K. (2006). Educating for innovation. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 1(1), 41-48.