Welcome to our monthly Q&A with the experts. This time, we spoke to John M. Eger, the Lionel Van Deerlin Endowed Professor of Communications and Public Policy at San Diego State University, and Executive Director of SDSU’s International Center for Communications. He has done extensive research on creativity – its place in the future of the global economy and in the lives of children and adults. We asked him:
Q: How do we bring out children’s innate creativity and why is it important?
A: Major studies have been done that say creativity and innovation are the top skills they’ll be looking for in workers in 21st century. Unfortunately, education systems have not caught up. They are still teaching to the test. No Child Left Behind and standardized testing make it all very difficult.
Art, music, drama, dance and writing … those skills are more and more important. If you’re drawing on both sides of the brain, you will be the creative innovator. You have to have the whole brain nurtured.
Help children develop non-linear thinking. Pick something up and ask your child, “Where do you think this came from?”
If they watch a movie, you watch it, too, and ask them, “What did you see there?”
Ask them what they see, and what they don’t see, in a picture. Take it through a process where kids see the negative space.
More and more research is showing that one of the ways we make kids creative is through play.
All of us are born creative, says Ken Robinson, an educator by training from the UK. But school beats it out of kids and, by the time they’re 8 years old, they have no creativity left. We are too focused on “the right answers.”
Kids have to be in the mood for learning, they have to enjoy it, think it’s fun.
To combat the stress kids are under, create an environment that allows them alone time, the opportunity to see the beauty, the wonder, to imagine, to dream.
Share your thoughts on the subject.
Photos by Lot116 Photography.