Have you ever pondered, “Are the curious and creative born or made?” Do you subscribe to the myth that creativity is “done” by “creative types?” Perhaps over the years you have said, “I am not that sort of person” or “Well, I’m really not that creative.” These comments rank right up there with “I can’t dance” or “I can’t draw.”
When you were two years old, we guarantee you were very creative! Infants and toddlers are relentless in their quest to discover their world. They love to explore, ask questions, and are incredibly imaginative. Their continuous inquisitions in “try and try again” scenarios and their constant “Why?” questions lead to an explosion of creative possibilities.
By the time you went to school, you had your own “playbook.” It was the way you learned best. But then you then went to school and joined a classroom collection of 25 other children. Do you realize now that they each had his or her own “playbook?” And if that wasn’t confusing enough, you soon realized the teacher had her own “playbook!” And, oh yes, everyone was expected to conform.
Sadly, by the age of seven, children are using only 10% of their creative ability. Even more discouraging is that by the age of 40, adults are only 3% as creative as they were at age seven.
Dr. Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America – from kindergarten through sixth grade – for whom the decline is most serious.
This loss of a belief in personal creativity is so common in adults that we think this is a natural developmental process. The question we should be asking is, “What can we do to prevent this loss?” Or better yet, “How can we safeguard and nurture the development of our student’s natural creativity?”
For Your Classroom
You can begin by re-discovering your own creativity. Take a few moments and think about your creativity. Do you enjoy taking interesting photographs? Do you doodle or sketch? Do you like to write or draw? Do you love decorating or designing? You can start by noticing the creativity you come in contact with in the world around you and sharing it with your students.
So today, you can begin your own personal creativity trek! Look in the mirror each morning and begin by thinking . . . ?
Let’s Reflect and Remember . . .
- Creativity scores have consistently inched downward.
- We can prevent the downward spiral of this loss.
- You were born creative! You are creative! Share your creativity!
“No amount of training will create a da Vinci or Edison. But it is also true that everyone’s capacity for creative living and creative thinking can be increased.”
~ Davis, 1992
Live, learn, and lead creatively.
Rick and Patti