Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts - Special Post 12A

These are handprints.
Curiosity and Creativity
Dr. Strange asked us in class about curiosity and creativity.  Are schools in the U.S. destroying curiosity/creativity?  Yes and no.  The reason that students seem less creative and/or curious is that they have adapted to be this way.  We have learned over the years what we have to do to get by.  We know exactly how much effort we have to put into a class to get the grade we want.  When we seem less "creative," it is not that we cannot be creative or curious.  In elementary school, we want to learn for the sake of learning, but as we move up the ladder, we have more social responsibilities.  The work for school also keeps piling up.  By the time we reach college, we realize that our lives will be so much easier if we can weed out tasks that are unnecessary.  Contrary to what some teachers think, most people have other things they would rather do than sit around and philosophize all day.  Yes, we do the minimum, but I say that this behavior is adaptive.  If we did every school task to the maximum, we couldn't get a higher grade than an "A," and we would lose all social communication.  We have to communicate with others.  It makes us healthier as individuals.  We can't just sit at a computer all day (most of us).

What can teachers do to fix this "slacker behavior?"  Nothing really.  No matter what kind of work we have given to us, we are going to figure out how much effort we have to put into it.  That is a survival instinct.  The only suggestion I can give to teachers and to myself is to give less work.  Make the work students do meaningful.  Nobody wants to spend hours doing busy-work.  If I had a lighter workload, I would feel more inclined to put more effort into a task.

Honestly, I am more creative/curious when I am doing things for me.  If I feel like I am being forced to do a task, I do not want to put much effort into that task.  When you think something is a chore, you don't spend a ton of time on it.  People who like to clean could spend all day doing it.  People who don't like to clean get the cleaning done as quickly as possible.  If there was some way to make kids see learning differently, I think that would help students be more creative.  Most students view school as a chore, and that may have a lot to do with teacher mentality.  If the teacher doesn't want to be there, why would the student?    


  1. Hi, Susie. I found your post very interesting because it seems that you are making Dr. Strange's point. You say that students have "adapted to be this way. We have learned over the years what we have to do to get by." You also say, "If we did every school task to the maximum, we couldn't get a higher grade than an 'A.'" These are the same things Dr. Strange has been saying. Students are not curious and self-motivated to explore and create. Students are motivated to do only what is necessary because we are hyper-focused on grades. You say that if you had a lighter workload, you would feel more inclined to put forth more effort. I'm not sure. It sounds like you are working for a grade and not the knowledge to be gained. When you realize that education is not a chore but a gift, you may feel differently. I have three children, and I have always taught them to do everything as if they are doing it for the Lord. I believe that our every act is an act of worship if we are using all of our God-given abilities to their fullest potential. You are obviously a bright young woman. Your writing skills are far above average compared to what I have seen in this class. I would love for you to be excited about how you are growing and improving yourself through your education. I don't know who is paying for your college, but I hope you will come to find that it is a gift to be educated. I truly enjoyed reading your post because it helps me understand where young people are coming from and how they are feeling. I know my 7th grade daughter already feels overworked, and I agree that too many demands takes a lot of desire out of our students. I guess our dilemma is figuring out how to fix this. Good job, Susie!

  2. Read Angie's post. She says what I would have said except maybe I would not have said "Good job, Susie!" Yes, your post is well written and thoughtful. And it is honest which I applaud. I am, however, concerned about the tragedy in it - the tragedy of there being nothing we can do except lighten the load of learning. If you really feel that way, and I think you do (that is why I congratulated you on being so honest), then I will be honest in return. I think you should rethink your desire to become a teacher. If we have given up on learning and have bought into only do as little as necessary to get the grade you want - to get by rather than to learn as much as possible - I do not think we should be educators!

    1. Honestly, when I say to "lighten the load," I mean that teachers give a lot of unnecessary busy-work. No one wants to spend a lot of time on a task when they feel that the task is not important. The mentality of doing what is necessary to get by is taught to children starting when they enter school, so when I say that there isn't a whole lot we can do about it, I mean that by the time they reach high school (I am secondary), there will be no changing their mentality. Yes, I think learning is fantastic, but I was just viewing the situation from a realistic standpoint. Yes, I want my students to be creative. I have tutored kids ever since I was 12 years old; I would get frustrated when they didn't seem like they cared. My post was written from that perspective - the perspective of kids who have been drowned in busy-work to the point that they don't care.

      Also, I do not appreciate the comment that I should not be an educator. I may not say what people want to hear, but that does not mean that I won't be a good educator. I feel like I am very good at getting kids to understand things. In high school, my classmates would rather come to me with a problem than go to the teacher about it. I am also a leader, so that will help me as a teacher. Yes, sometimes I regret majoring in education. I think I could make a lot more money in another field; also, I don't like to be bombarded every time I say something that isn't picture perfect. I could always say what people want to hear, but that wouldn't be me. I think that is another thing that I could teach my students. Creativity also has to do with not conforming, so I think I have definitely exhibited that throughout this class.

      I also want to clear up any ideas you might have about me not putting all of my effort into assignments. I do the best I can on every assignment I have because I am a perfectionist. I always have been. I know it is a gift to be educated. That is why I always try so hard. I am the one paying for my college. I worked hard the entire time in high school to get a scholarship to cover my expenses. I am not a "slacker." I just wanted to write this post from a different perspective.