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ps and creativity - Page 2

post #21 of 38

My 2 oldest were in traditional public schools and still are in HS.  My 17 yo dd is incredibly creative.  One of her strengths is thinking outside the box.  My ds1 hasn't got a creative bone in his body.  Never has.  At 15 his favorite reading material are Guiness book of world Records boos, and if he's watching TV chances are it's a documentary of some type.  My ds2 floundered in traditional public school but it was more a product of the group dynamics of his particular grade + his prsonality.  He still goes to ps but it is an experiental learning one.

post #22 of 38

When my DS was in kindergarten, we were invited to a homeschooler's birthday party. All the other children were homeschooled, a lot of them together. The party included a craft--we made puppets. All the homeschoolers did a million crafts and were really good at the mechanical aspects of making the puppets--which all came out pretty much the same. My son, the public school boy who wasn't that coordinated, put together a really crazily great, out-there project. It looked Cubist. 

 

All the moms asked me about what were were doing for school. 

 

It obviously depends on the school and on the child and on your family, but I think public school education can be part of a creative child's overall preparation to invent and create. 

post #23 of 38

Many of the world's greatest writers, musicians, artists, scientist and social leaders were publicly schooled in a traditional school setting.  I think that learning creativity is more about overall life experience, personality and perspective than about a particular educational exposure from any persuasion.  And it's about fit, too.  Some people thrive on creatively working within a set structure, in fact the structure may force them to find ways to creatively problem solve around a core concept that is different from their own.  I started my young adult life studying and working as a classical musician.  One of the funnest creative challenges was composing in counterpoint - because it was so structured that it was challenging to make it very much into my own work.  I think learning in a traditional setting can be like this for some people - and others may only be happy putting out the extremely experimental music, if you see what I mean.  I also think that if you have it in you, you will find a way to create regardless of the circumstances, given time and space one day.

post #24 of 38

I think creativity or the propensity toward it is more or less inherited; in other words it's a trait that someone has sort of a natural inclination toward, or not. There are 'recipe' people and there are those that like to make up the dinner and could never repeat it twice. There is artistic talent and there is a lack. There are people with wonderful voices and those that sing flat.

 

If you are a really creative person you are likely going to flourish in any environment you are placed unless there are no resources, such as a prison or juvenile justice center or something.

 

Our children's schools, though rural and not wealthy, have given them a great balance of 'left brain' academics and 'right brain' artistic and creative opportunities. Art, music and theatre are all well supported and there is much participation locally. These things are also supported by a legion of parents that fundraise, bake and drive kids to and fro to make it all happen.

 

I would worry more if they didn't have these opportunities in their brick and mortar school.

 

 

post #25 of 38

I was thinking about this thread today as I watched one of my kids play around in our community pool. She's a heck of a swimmer, and she got that way through swim practice -- drills where she is told what to do and pushed. She has spent so much time *working* at swimming this summer (and did awesome in a city wide meet yesterday!) that she's had very little time to just swim -- to just move around creatively in the water.

 

But she finally had the time -- and oh my, it was like watching a mermaid play. love.gif

 

I wondered how many other areas of life the same is true. Can a kid  write creatively if they aren't first taught how to just write? Can a kid think creatively about math if they aren't first taught how to just do math?

 

Sure, some of these things come more naturally to some kids than others, and like Lauren said, some people are more wired for creativity than others, but learning basic skills is often the foundation for being creative.


Edited by Linda on the move - 7/25/11 at 6:47am
post #26 of 38

Linda that's a great point. A creative musician couldn't be so unless s/he had spent hours and hours practicing to just get proficient on the instrument. And so on-- a creative mathematician would need to drill the basics at times. If that mathematician was self motivated to do that work without a teacher telling him/her that's great. But not everyone discovers this type of element in themselves unless they are exposed to it and sometimes asked to do repetition, which might seem stifling at first.

post #27 of 38

I started my young adult career as a musician, and later, once I started working with people, did some work "on the side" work in knitwear design.  I'm always hearing from adults that "I can't draw", or "I have no musical talent" .  I think I agree with the above two posters.  I always felt that my "creativity" had more to do with hours a day of practicing my instrument and later on, hours of knitting and ripping out stitches.  Having the opportunity to study a broad range of basic skills in multiple fields makes a difference.

post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View PostHaving the opportunity to study a broad range of basic skills in multiple fields makes a difference.


 

And that's one of the things that is so nice for our family about a brick and mortar school -- the one stop shopping for academic subjects, music, art, computer skills, and even shop!

post #29 of 38

My kid's been in our neighborhood public school since kindergarten (she'll be going into fifth grade in the fall). She spent the weekend making fairy houses in the park and our back yard with a friend. She makes up songs and writes stories and draws constantly. She's teaching herself to draw cutesy manga. I can't imagine school making her less creative -- that's just who she is.

post #30 of 38

 

I haven't posted to this thread yet because I have a couple of disparate but possibly related thoughts that I wanted to combine into some kind of coherent comment. I don't think I've managed to do that in my mind, so I'm going to set them out and see where they lead (how creative, right ?! orngtongue.gif ). 

 

1. I think the concern about traditional schooling is that there tend to be forces that work against creativity. Schools have routines, and thus a certain lack of spontaneity. If a child is pursuing a creative impulse, keeping to a schedule may force them away before they've exhausted the impulse (oh, those school bells!). Conformity in the classroom, in terms of achieving curriculum requirements and teaching to the test, can prevent valuable learning detours into fascinating tangential areas. Rigid teachers can inhibit. Peer influence and group think can likewise inhibit.  OTOH, school may provide exposure to different areas of interest that aren't covered by a child's family and a diverse community. There have been a lot of great posts in this thread about schools that nurture creativity and love of learning, so I'm not going to repeat all of that. 

 

2. I came across this interesting report of a study about self-regulation in pre-school children using games like Simon Says and other follow-the-leader games. Self-regulation is a higher order executive function. It's the capacity to pay attention and follow through on completing a task. The study examines academic outcomes, but it seems to me that self-regulation is also necessary for the aspiring creator. Spontaneity and creative impulse are all well and good, but without self-regulation, they will result in a lot of frustration and abandoned projects. Sometimes, when homeschoolers are concerned about their children being "stuck" and unable to progress despite apparent ability, I think self-regulation is a possible issue. The study says nothing about school/homeschool, but I wonder if children attending pre-schools where they may play a lot of these kinds of games are developing these skills earlier and thus instilling reliable good habits. Yet, on the surface, these games would look very anti-creative and may be considered stifling.

 

I considered posting the study in the Anti-Homeschooling thread (the one in LAH is still active), but didn't think it would help that OP much, since it doesn't examine school and homeschool situations. There's food for thought there, though. An interested person might read through some of the studies and make some inferences about how best to nurture self-regulation in children and how that may play into nurturing creativity too. 

 

I guess my only conclusion is that it's helpful to examine your pre-conceptions about creativity and how best to support it, when you are deciding whether a specific school nurtures or stifles creativity and a love of learning. 

 

 

 

 

post #31 of 38

I think it can be a matter of the school, and the child, and of degree.

 

I have a 17yo dd who attended public school for three year part-time. She could not attend full-time without having her particular type of creativity stifled. She is a passionate and gifted fiction writer, and she's a very talented musician. She could not possible (a) attend out-of-town rehearsals and lessons in violin, chamber music, orchestra and choral music and (b) practice 3-5 hours a day and (c) still have the discretionary time she needed to read copious amounts of fiction and do her own writing, while attending school full-time. It wasn't just a matter of the number of hours in the day, it was a matter of having the calm and peace and fallow time necessary to keep her creative juices flush. I really believe that artistic creativity requires fallow time, gestational time, contemplative time. She needed to be able to spend mornings listening to and being inspired by great recordings of her concerto and orchestral repertoire, messing about with composition and chamber music arranging, pondering character development in her short stories, reading philosophy.

 

I have a 12-year-old who is a whole other kettle of fish. She'll be attending school full-time this fall. I quite expect that she'll find new creative outlets in school that will replace some of those she'll have to give up once she's no longer homeschooled.

 

Miranda

post #32 of 38

Actually, I've found that public school has opened up whole new vistas for my slow-to-warm-up child. He's read a ton of books with different ideas, view points and plots. He's exposed to kids from different backgrounds with different interests. His play is as creative now as it was before he started ps. He's been exposed to, and been able to work with art and music. He REFUSES to do anything related to visual arts at home, and he refuses to do music. But at school, he has to try. And he has. 

 

Now, he doesn't like to be overscheduled, but he makes it clear to us when he's had enough. So, for example, he doesn't want to do baseball again next year because it met too often (sometimes up to 4 times a week) and he needs more down time. A lot of this down time is spent in play. 

 

Ds thrives in a well regulated environment with a predictable schedule. The predictable schedule relieves some of his worry about what's going to happen next and allows his mind to soar. 

post #33 of 38

Hmm . . .I would say, that like with most things, it depends.

 

I was observing a student teacher last year, and her mentor teacher completely discouraged creativity.  Students were to do what they were told 100% of the time.  Rules were enforced through yelling. They filled out worksheets, guided by what was on an overhead projector.  Book "discussions" were focused only on right/wrong answers.  When one brave student asked a question that would have extended the book topic, the teacher said, "I don't know," and closed the book.  Art was not art.  It was crafts, following directions, or just coloring in a worksheet.  No journal writing.  .  No music that I heard, or at least not in the classroom.  They were in Kindergarten.

 

The children in that school are called "couch kids" because they don't know whose couch they will be sleeping on that night.  So, I am guessing they do not have many opportunities to explore and develop their own creativity and ways of thinking.  Because they live in poverty, I think the teacher felt a responsibility to "train" them to be a certain way and have skills developed as she saw fit.  She failed to understand that what will inspire them in the long term is to help them think critically and deeply, and have a strong sense of self.

 

My daughters' public school, on the outside, seems better.  The socio-economic level is more lower-middle class, though there is a 30% poverty rate.  I don't think the school bases their methods on the poverty rate, however, but what is seen as "good."  The art teacher expects almost every project to be an exact replica of what she presents.  She told me that my 6 y.o. who is talented in art (not a prodigy but talented), is her "little angel" with sarcasm, because my daughter was the last to finish her work.  I am guessing it is because my DD loves art, despite having that kind of teacher.  Oh, and my DD was right there when she said it.  This same DD, who was compliant with everything, refused to participate in the school assembly, so I thought she had stage fright.  (She was up there, but would not sing.)  I was very surprised when I put her in a musical theater camp a few weeks later and she belted out a solo in front of a huge crowd.  What is the difference?  Lack of creativity in teaching?  DD was not passionate at all about the school's music program, but thrilled in her camp and sings constantly at home.  I am going to put her into a good chorus around here so she will have a positive experience somewhere.

 

My other DD was in school (also when she was 6) and the teacher said my DD's definition of energy was incorrect.  (This was not for an exam but a discussion.)  My DD had gotten the info from a book, so she came home confused, and apparently both the teacher and my DD were right . . .I couldn't understand why the teacher wouldn't encourage more of a discussion, even if she thought DD was wrong, to lead her by questions. 

 

These are just a few examples.  In any case, my oldest (now 9) is going back to school (was hs'd the last three yrs).  We were having an impossible time connecting with kids her age on a regular basis, so this is the only place we can count on for kids to actually show up.  I am not as worried about her creativity, however.  Do I think the school will ENCOURAGE it?  No, really.  But, I think DD has a strong enough sense (has the mind of a lawyer) to be able to debate/argue, at least in her head and use all of her past experiences to support her, and of course, what we talk about at home.  She is the kind of person to look for loopholes whenever she can . . .

 

I think the general problem is that children rarely have time for creativity.  They are entrenched in adult-directed activities from the time they get up until bed in some homes.  In the old days, kids got to play.  They were free-- free of too much adult intervention, TV, computer, etc.  It is not a school thing, but a lifestyle.  There are very strict hs'ers who do "school at home" ALL DAY, and as a former teacher, I know this is actually MORE time spent on academics than school.  (A lot of wasted time in school, but this means there are lulls.)  I do think the parents' personalities and opportunities they provide count for more than anything else.

post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post


 


But, do you feel that kids in traditional ps have enough time to explore outside of school? I have heard many times from parents that school plus homework. plus the usual one to two extra curricular activities just about maxes out kids time. Also, do your dc attend a traditional school. With the subjects your mentioned, sounds like some other type of school? However, I'm only familiar with our area ps elementary, which is JUST THE BASICS....

 

The extra curricular activites can be in the child's interest and creative.  And not all kids do the extra curricular activities.  Dylan's out of school activities are the library chess club, weekend trips to local musuems and reenactment events.  All of which tie into his interests and creativity.  He is way into history, particularly military history, and researches weapons and military tactics which he then recreates.  He can't wait until he turns 16 when he can take an adult ed ROP class in welding and make real swords instead of using wood.  In the past, he recreated battles with little green army men.  Now he is painting minitures and making diaramas.  He checks out books and DVDs from the library.  We go to as many reenactments and events that we can get to--everything from achelogical digs and musuems to historical landmarks, battlefields, maritime museum, renfaires, ethnic events and Day of the Dead celebration.
 

 

post #35 of 38

I will echo the "it depends" sentiment.  My daughter, who is highly creative, was stifled in her public school kindergarten.  Like others here, her art class was following very specific directions to create a project, which frustrated her to no end.  I afforded her plenty of opportunities outside of school to be creative and she thrived; she thrived even more in a creative sense when I pulled her out to homeschool. 

I think it's important for OP to recognize that the fact that you are even aware of this concern is a huge step towards doing the right thing for your particular child.  You'll be on the alert for it and ready to step in if you feel something isn't right.  Good luck....

post #36 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post

I will echo the "it depends" sentiment.  My daughter, who is highly creative, was stifled in her public school kindergarten.  Like others here, her art class was following very specific directions to create a project, which frustrated her to no end.  I afforded her plenty of opportunities outside of school to be creative and she thrived; she thrived even more in a creative sense when I pulled her out to homeschool. 

 


Providing lots of opportunities for creativity outside of school is certainly one effective strategy if you think there isn't enough happening at school. I've known a few parents who took a different route. They approached the teachers and schools and developed opportunities within the school.

 

One mom runs her own swimsuit and beach cover-up company. She would come into class on a regular basis and do different arts&crafts projects with the students. Another is an actor/director/playwright and she directs the school play every year. I know musicians who volunteer for music programs. Not only do the children benefit, but it's a great way for schools to forge ties with the community.

 

ETA: I don't think a parent has to have "professional" qualifications to volunteer and lead "creativity" projects or groups at school. My point is that if a parent has a concern that there is a lack of these opportunities, they can contribute and participate. 


Edited by ollyoxenfree - 8/4/11 at 6:38am
post #37 of 38


Yes, this is what I am going to focus on for after school.  I am trying to make sure the kids are not over-scheduled since they are going to be in school now, so I am trying to be highly selective.  It is all about following their interests.  So many cool things go on during the weekends anyway, or when children are out of school, so I do not think we will be missing out on much.  We usually went to the "harder" museums with DH, too, so we could take turns with the toddler.  This means that won't change when they are in school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post



The extra curricular activites can be in the child's interest and creative.  And not all kids do the extra curricular activities.  Dylan's out of school activities are the library chess club, weekend trips to local musuems and reenactment events.  All of which tie into his interests and creativity.  He is way into history, particularly military history, and researches weapons and military tactics which he then recreates.  He can't wait until he turns 16 when he can take an adult ed ROP class in welding and make real swords instead of using wood.  In the past, he recreated battles with little green army men.  Now he is painting minitures and making diaramas.  He checks out books and DVDs from the library.  We go to as many reenactments and events that we can get to--everything from achelogical digs and musuems to historical landmarks, battlefields, maritime museum, renfaires, ethnic events and Day of the Dead celebration.
 

 



 

post #38 of 38

I love discussions about creativity!    I think it's helpful to realize that creativity presents itself in different ways.  At a very high level, there are two types of creativity - new inventions/discoveries that did not exist before and then there are improvements or innovations to existing structures/beliefs.   Creativity doesn't just show itself in traditional artistic endeavors, but can be a whole new way or different way of thinking and making associations.  There isn't always a tangible product.

 

I agree with posters who say that it depends, is environment and temperament specific.  I think that the creative types that we hear about are ones that recognized that continuing to operate within the system wasn't going to work for them -- think Bill Gates.  And it's true that understanding the constructs of what you are trying to change is helpful when you are making that change.  Knowing where "the box" is is pretty important.  

 

Creativity is about resilience as well - being able to push past what is and failed attempts, dealing with disappointment with the difference between what is visualized and what is created.  School falls a bit short, IMO, in this area.  Many kids do just fine doing what is expected and nothing more.  They receive a grade and move on to the next project.  It's the creative ones that take the time to be introspective about their work and think about what they could do differently, if they would even want to do it differently.  IME, there isn't enough time in a school day to do personal evaluations of creative work.  OTOH, being in a system that doesn't support this might just be the fodder for what drives a kid to flex their creative muscles.  I don't think that any school can beat creativity out of someone if there's another outlet outside of school.

 

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