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Adding creativity to curriculum

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2014 10:46 AM

If you were to ask a group of highly intelligent leaders what the world would be like in 5, 10 or maybe 15 years, none of them would be 100 percent sure. Thanks to new technology and instant communication capabilities, every industry has the ability to grow and evolve at different rates. Certain booming fields didn't exist a few years ago, and jobs no one can imagine will be around when students currently in high school graduate from college. Because the world is in a state of constant flux, it's important to prepare kids for the unpredictable. 

The whole philosophy (if you can call it that) of the Common Core State Standards is to get students ready for college and their future careers by engaging them with math and literacy deeply. And while the critical thinking skills the Common Core imparts are important for future success, they alone cannot arm students for unknown job markets. What they really need (and many experts agree) is an education in creativity. 

Evolution of ages
Humanity has gone through various ages, all of which center on a certain overarching concept. The Industrial Revolution was an age of gears and innovation (a manufacturing age, if you will). After we got a handle on mass production, humanity began sitting at desks. The advent of the Internet led to what many call the Information Age, as you could access a world of knowledge by pressing a few buttons. But now, according to Forbes, the human race is entering an Imagination Age. We know how to gather information and manufacture goods, so the next logical step is to innovate. The ground breakers, the movers and shakers of the future, will all be creative leaders.

Creative education
Because the world is heading toward this era of out-of-the-box thinking, in which creative minds are valued, the education system needs to stimulate imagination in schools. Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, is a leader in the field of fostering creativity. He has worked with educators and businesses around the world to help promote imagination. In his notable 2006 TED Talk, he asserted that "creativity, now, is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status."

Kids are born with an innate creativity that allows them to imagine some of the most astounding things. However, society tends to teach that creativity away as children age. We tell them that a stick is just a stick, not a sword or a wand. But it's that imagination that society needs in its world leaders. The challenge education currently faces is to grow and develop kids intellectually to prepare them for the rigors of college, but to also praise and cultivate their imaginative energies.