Posted by Carol Cooper at 3/14/2012 6:30:00 PM
March 9, 2012
From my Perspective……
This past week, thanks to a generous holiday gift by our Parent Council, I had the good fortune to attend this year’s Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Center for Childhood Creativity Forum. The keynote speaker, Tina Seelig, was a wonderful guide as to how we might be able to nurture creativity in a school setting. Ms. Seelig trained as a neuroscientist and currently teaches at Stanford in the School of Engineering, focusing on creativity and entrepreneurship. Her talk, “InGenius: Leversfor Unlocking Creativity", truly triggered my thinking about programs, curriculum and teaching approaches in some different ways. I am hoping to obtain a copy of her talk in order to share it with our entire staff.
An example that she gave was the difference between asking a child to solve the following math challenge: 5 + 5 = ? Easy, there is only one “right” answer which is 10. But, think about the possibilities if one asks a young student to solve the following problem: ? + ? = 10. No automatic “right” answer---one has to think about context, why are you solving this problem, does it matter if the two ?s are equal or unequal? This generates lots and lots of additional questions. Two very different ways of approaching what might appear to be the same problem.
She then went on to describe her work with the scientific process---we all know what that process is: hypotheses, testing, failing, going back to the beginning, collecting more data, etc. and eventually coming to some conclusion(s). A very linear process with a beginning, a middle and an end. Her point was, that there has been no codified “creativity” process. She, however, put forth, her idea of an invention machine. Her vision is that creative solutions to problems can start anywhere along a mobius strip and each section spurs and enriches other areas. The mobius strip consists of levers we can engage such as habitat, attitude, knowledge, and culture. What she emphasized is that a creative mind can enter this process at any juncture depending upon the specific problem to be solved and how what solutions are developed will then engage the other areas of the machine and strengthen them. What I found so engaging about this approach is that there is no beginning and no end. Unlike the linear scientific process, using an endless loop provides us with constant ideas, information and skills.
Forgive me if I am confusing you more than engaging you, but I suggest that we all get a copy of Ms. Seelig's about to be published book, "InGenius: Levers for Teaching Creativity". We are all teachers of our community of learners (kids through adults) and I think we are being given a great opportunity here tos hape the learning in which we all participate every day.