Where has all of our creative thinking gone? We seem to be stagnating in that area, and I find it quite troubling. When “critical thinking” became all of the rage in schools twenty something years ago, I began to worry about what our country would be like in the twenty-first century. Each year I watched as the list of high school electives became shorter and shorter as they were replaced with classes like: FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) Prep Math, FCAT Prep English, Critical Thinking, to name a few.
Part of what makes America great is our ability to think outside the box. When we use our imagination in conjunction with our math skills, we come up with inventions that change the world. While I always saw the importance of Critical Thinking and incorporated it in almost all of my lessons, it was the creative projects that kept my students interested. It was during my humanities, debate and gifted studies classes that my students absorbed the history and English information that helped them pass standardized tests. Before we can absorb information we have to have some sort of interest in it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a major proponent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and encouraging children’s interest in these fields is most important. This should not, however be done to the exclusion of the right side of their brains. That creative side needs to be nourished just as surely as the analytical side.
Believe it or not, it was while scanning next season’s television line-up that I noticed that some of my worries seem to be coming true. Instead of coming up with creative new shows to present to a waiting audience, producers, directors and writers seem to be falling back on shows that succeeded many years ago. No one is more anxious than I am to see how Murphy Brown has progressed over the past few decades, and watching her tackle this latest administration will most certainly be a delight, but the reboot of 52 old shows does make one question the current generation’s ability to come up with creative ideas of their own.
I read an article recently that focused on employers seeking non-college graduates, particularly in tech fields, because they feel that there is a lack of creativity in some of their current teams. Some companies that are offering well paying jobs to those without degrees are Apple, IBM, Google and Bank of America to name a few.
I think it is important for those in the field of education to take a long hard look at the importance of all aspects of educating a child. Instead of dropping the many electives that enrich our young people and replacing them with courses that aim to enhance their test taking skills, perhaps we should look at ways to have these classes work together to help develop a well rounded future generation.
Luckily I am still able to satisfy my creative cravings with the writings of some fine authors, and my choice for this week’s book was Violent Crimes by Phillip Margolin. Margolin’s series about attorney Amanda Jaffe has proven quite popular, and this book is no exception. Anyone with an interest in legal thrillers will find it a definite asset to their library.
As always a complete review of the book follows this blog.