The real world puts great value in hiring the best person for an organization’s needs. Each industry is unique. They all have specific training that is needed for their employees to be successful, and they look for a certain skillset required for the job. However, within EVERY industry there is a common mindset that is of the highest value. This mindset puts certain people on top and opens doors to much greater opportunities.
What is this “Golden Ticket” mindset you ask?
A Creative Mindset
A Creative Mindset looks at problems through the lens of “What if?”
A Creative Mindset is driven by the need to find alternative solutions to any problem.
A Creative Mindset is eager to be adaptable.
A Creative Mindset does not fear risks. In fact, risks are seen as purposeful steps to get to a solution.
A Creative Mindset sees failure as part of the process. Failure spurs more creativity and ultimately paves the way for creative problem solving.
The education system has been aware of the need to develop this mindset in our students for many years. In fact, on most school websites, you see a reference to creativity in their vision or philosophy.
There is a major obstacle, though, to actually implementing this into the classrooms and it is destroying the passion, drive, and goals of most educators.
The Regurgitation Mindset
Creativity is not assessed with end of year, high stakes tests. This fact, unfortunately, drives instruction and cripples the potential for creativity in schools.
Every school and teacher wants to develop the Creative Mindset. However, the desired outcome of the tests pushes the system to promote a Regurgitation Mindset. Rote memorization and regurgitation of facts and figures is what we see being practiced in classrooms. The Regurgitation Mindset does have the tendency to raise test scores, but it greatly stifles a true love of learning and creates obstacles surrounding an environment of creativity.
We must combat the standardized testing dilemma by providing other ways of assessing knowledge in the classroom. If a child is proficient in open-ended questions and creative problem solving, and is empowered to prove their knowledge and understanding through their own creative design. Then they are equipped to take a standardized test – it doesn’t go the other way around though.
We need to stop developing test takers and regurgitators. Instead, we need to develop game changers and real problem solvers. They will do well on end of year tests and more importantly, be equipped with a skillset that matters and is sought after in the real world!
We need to Cultivate the Creative Mindset.
We need to be relentless with our passion for making it a part of EVERY kid that goes through our school system. Let’s get intentional with cultivating creativity and making it a priority in our schools and our classrooms.
5 Ways to Cultivate a Creative Mindset
1 – MAKER CULTURE
The “Maker Movement” is making a huge impact on education in pockets around the country. Maker is putting the creative process directly in the hands of the learner. Maker projects do not have steps to an end result. That is where creativity comes into play.
Students use their Creative Mindset in every aspect of a Maker project and their imagination and design thinking guide the planning process.
Through building and constructing they develop engineering skills. They go through the process of trial and error as steps towards reflection and change.
If we want to see the Creative Mindset at its highest level, we need to put the Maker movement in every classroom and use that strategy everyday.
2 – AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES
One way to cultivate creativity is to involve students in problem solving through authentic learning experiences. When students are tasked with addressing community, city, state, and world problems they see how powerful their role as a Catalyst can be.
A successful problem solver must use creativity. Either strategies have failed or previous problem solvers could not develop solutions. Authentic and relevant experiences have a way of making a student see how vital creativity is. They experience the importance of thinking outside the box. Stepping out on a limb with creativity embraces risk taking as a tool for growth.
Risk taking and failure are extremely useful to the Creative Mindset. If students begin to value their role in working on authentic experiences, they will in turn develop a value system towards risk taking, failure, and ultimately the Creative Mindset.
3 – STUDENT DIRECTED LEARNING
Students are capable of so much more than what we give them credit for. Sometimes we need to just set them free and let them show us. One way to do this is to let students direct their own learning path.
Show them the content they need to learn and let them make the path. They will use creative methods to learn and will tap into their passions in doing so. They will use creativity to come up with unique ways to communicate what they have learned and how it will authentically be used in the future.
When we empower kids to take control of their learning, we get to see a purpose-driven mentality through the Creative Mindset. Set them free and be amazed at what they show us.
4 – INTEGRATE THE ARTS
Some of the most talented and creative people in every school teach in isolation and do not get to have as big an impact on kids as they should. The arts teachers in every school have taken a different path to become teachers. Their path is based on creativity and unique thinking.
Doesn’t that sound like exactly what we need to expose our kids to? They won’t get this through 45 minutes, once a week. They will have amazing experiences but will not get to truly submerge themselves in the Creative Mindset.
So, get the arts into your classrooms. During your planning session, bring the art teachers on board. When kids are planning their own paths, have them reach out to the arts.
Can the arts teachers piggy back on your classroom experiences and help cultivate the Creative Mindset all while enhancing content?
We have amazing resources in every school that, quite frankly, we take for granted. Let’s bring them into our rooms and see what they can do to help enhance the Creative Mindset.
5 – TEACH IT
This strategy is the hardest and easiest all rolled into one. This involves shifting our mindset as educators. When we look at subject matter that needs to be taught, we must get intentional with methods and strategies that promote creativity.
Fractions need manipulatives and real world applications. Science needs hands-on learning and inquiry based experiences. Those are content based decisions. They include strategies based on reaching an end goal of successfully acquiring content.
What if we looked at the Creative Mindset as subject matter? What if we were intentional with daily routines and decisions to cultivate the Creative Mindset?
If we change our mindset and see creativity as something that CAN and SHOULD be taught, we will start to see the changes we need. When we truly begin to value the urgent necessity of creating that mindset, we will become more purposeful with planning and begin to see amazing results with our students.
Creativity Opens Doors
We have to start truly embracing the Creative Mindset. It will not only prepare our students for the future, but it will promote joy and wonder in our classes. We must equip our students. We must develop students that see the value of thinking outside the box. We must cultivate a Creative Mindset in every student.
I would love to hear your beliefs and feedback pertaining to this post. Please subscribe below to get all of my posts. Go back and check out my original post, Something’s Missing where I kick off a series involving the C words that are missing in our students. Check out some of my other C Posts. Communication, Connected, Confidence, and Catalyst. I greatly value all opinions and arguments. Engage in the comments and help continue this discussion. I look forward to what you all have to say.