A little backstory: I recently led a workshop for adults on creativity. The primary message of that workshop was identical to what I tell my students: if you want to be more creative, you need to practice using your mind in non-routine ways. If you want to come up with new ideas, you need to abandon all your existing ideas and seek new ones. You need to play, basically, and give your brain an opportunity to make connections it’s unlikely to make during the routine work of the day. This post will give you some ideas on how to do that (if you need them).
What does it mean to see? To think? To what extent can we talk about seeing as a variety of thinking?* And, from that, if our schools aim to help students develop and improve their thinking about the world, shouldn’t our schools aim to help students improve all kinds of thinking (i.e. not just symbolic-linguistic thinking)?
Take the growing chatter about creative thinking, design thinking, divergent thinking, innovation, problem-based learning or whatever you want to call it—those varieties of thinking aimed at synthesizing knowledge in problem situations. I’m talking big, ill-structured, open-ended, inquiry-based sorts of situations.
When I hear people talk about these, there follows a tacit assumption that if you give students an opportunity to examine a problem and to work on it--especially if you free them from the arbitrary constraints of the classroom--they can use their minds in ways we never imagined.
Charlie Huette is a public school teacher who also keeps a notebook. He dreams about making school just a little less terrible. Many of the posts you find here are based on notebook entries. You can learn more about Charlie by visiting the about page.