• Draft on Creativity, Problem Solving, and Transfer

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    Creativity is key for developing an imagination strong enough to solve problems, and science and math are the tools that must be used to execute and organize the solution. If we don’t know that a tool exists and how to use it, then we can’t apply it. A sound creative mind will allow the individual to know when and why to use the tools that they have learned about. In regards to schooling, I’m referring to scholastic skills like reading, writing, math, and science as the tools. The biggest issue in education is that there is no sense of why students are learning what they learn when they are learning it. It’s something they have to do and must have faith in the system that eventually they will really need it. Yet, “for now” and the convenience of our educational administration we can tell the students they need these tools in order to pass the class and move on to the next class. A mere get-by, as so many students do…do what it takes to get by.

    Needless to say, cramming, and getting by is a skill in and of itself, but what if we could foster an environment that truly allowed for an application for a need to be creative. A sense of pressure driven by a call to action that derives an intrinsic motivator out of student? This takes place on a regular basis in acting conservatories, actors in training must be truthful in an imaginary circumstance, and in doing so their skills in memory and literary analysis are passively fine tuned in order to perform under the greatest pressure…to an audience; while still “forgetting” about the technicalities of blocking, or if they got the lines right. Cognitive embodiment and emotional elicitation is key to fostering creativity and having something to work on that is of passion for the student and will thereby will develop problem-solving skills because they will actually care to solve the problem. Today’s students are spoon fed information, no wonder why they are having a hard time being creative…they don’t need to be.

    Transfer is a matter of being exposed to enough skill sets and specialties so that they can apply concepts from one specialty to the setting of another. Again the teaching of transfer skills cannot be technically derived, it must be simulated passively and anecdotally. An example of this is in a theatre rehearsal an actor is having a hard time projecting his voice. So the director approaches him and instead of saying you’re not being loud enough, he changes the circumstance and tells him that your acting partner is partially deaf. Naturally, the actor would have to raise his voice and he convinced himself to do this based on past experience in real life with people who are hard at hearing. The hard part is training teachers to instruct in this manner and understand that the best way to convince someone of something is to have them believe that what you are trying to convince them of was their original idea.

    Once this, the student will build momentum for drawing on other disciplines and personal experiences to solve a particular problem at hand and the act of combining multiple disciplines and experiences will foster creativity as they have to envision the end result of their combination at an abstract level. … like a dynamic spatial game (i.e.: envisioning cubes rotating in one’s mind) using abstract principles that are based on a keen understanding of concepts, simplified for communication by their labels. This is why language learning is so important, because when we learn skills we are learning the labels that are used to communicate those skills. In medicine we may talk about the range of motion, or the systolic pressure vs the diastolic pressure, or hypo vs. hyper prefixes, in business we may talk about return on investment and say out ROI or Cap Rate to cover those concepts and come back with a proposed profit margin on an idea. Todays students need a depth in a particular skill but “linguistic” ability to communicate with those of other skills. Content learning isn’t as important anymore, because of our information highways, it’s how to use the content we are exposed to and creatively apply it with our scholastic tools to solve life’s problems is what’s important in education. Therefore a new emphasis on collaboration and life simulation by project learning is what will drive a well educated and meta-cognitive future generation.

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