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The Creativity Crisis: Are Your Kids Suffering?

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momlogic's Vivian: A recent Newsweek article, "The Creativity Crisis," has simply underlined what I've suspected all along: that today's youth is seriously swimming upstream with respect to the nurturing of their creative instincts.

Girl drawing with crayons

On average, IQ's have been rising about 10 points with each generation. But American creativity scores are falling. Researcher Kyung Hee Kim from the College of William & Mary saw creativity scores (a.k.a. CQ's) rise until 1990, but since then, they've taken a dive. "It's very clear, and the decrease is very significant," Kim says, adding that the decline in scores is "most serious" for younger children in America -- those in kindergarten through sixth grade.

What does this mean? In part, the sacrifice of arts classes in our schools (dropped in order to hike test scores and either lift sagging school profiles or abide by stringent No Child Left Behind parameters) is having an adverse effect on our children's abilities to think without textbook how-tos.

In contrast, Europeans are making a concerted effort to elevate creative studies and adopt problem-based learning programs. British secondary schools have tweaked their curricula to place more importance on "idea generation."

American teachers say there's "no room in the day for a creativity class," and (as is abundantly reflected by the lack thereof) there usually isn't a budget for them, either. But the Newsweek piece goes on to say that this is a "false trade-off," because creativity is equal parts right-brained imagination and left-brained research.

What I found most alarming was how dependent young children have become on the instructors who guide them. "When creative children have a supportive teacher -- someone tolerant of unconventional answers, occasional disruptions or detours of curiosity -- they tend to excel," reads the piece. "When they don't, they tend to underperform and drop out of high school, or don't finish college at high rates."

Yikes!

What do you guys think? Is there a solution to the creativity crisis?


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23 comments so far | Post a comment now
anonymous July 13, 2010, 3:23 PM

NCLB is the problem!!!! Not just getting rid of arts, but the whole way people teach now.

Janice July 13, 2010, 4:17 PM

What a great subject! It’s about time that the loss of creativity is noticed and studied. I agree with the study, but I would add other reasons besides loss of art programs. Children that are constantly kept “busy,” with their days filled with activity from morning until night don’t have the opportunity to dream or to use their imagination. Take them out in nature and let them figure out what to do, give them times of silence, lots of art supplies, music, books, etc. To have creativity a child needs to develop a rich inner life.

A_Plato July 14, 2010, 10:24 PM

I recently read a remarkable blog post on creativity and innovation — Google “the role of psychological distance in creativity and innovation” and have a read. (Link is http://thelaughingbuddha.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/the-role-of-psychological-distance-in-creativity-and-innovation/)

Arjun July 14, 2010, 10:30 PM

I recently read a remarkable blog post on creativity and innovation — Google “the role of psychological distance in creativity and innovation” and have a read. (Link is http://thelaughingbuddha.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/the-role-of-psychological-distance-in-creativity-and-innovation/)

creative children July 15, 2010, 7:32 PM

Nice post about The Creativity Crisis for all creative children, it helps a lot in how to guide our child’s in their creativity stage. hope to see more soon, Thanks!

michelle July 20, 2010, 8:29 AM

It all comes back to the fact that in America we don’t really care about education. We say we do, but we don’t. Education is the first budget item to be cut, curriculums are based on what makes grownups feel good rather than on facts, and the only “new” idea anyone can come up with for our dismal achievement levels is to teach to a standardized test. We are now getting what we paid for. By the way, creativity is not just a “nice to have.” It is the critical ingredient in nurturing a budding scientist, economist, writer, you name it — many of the best in these fields were first inspired at school as well as by their parents. Sad that we had to send our children to expensive private school in order for them to get a decent education and learn to think for themselves. I thought these things were non-negotiable, but apparently in America we’d rather focus our energy, attention and money on prisons and tax cuts than on our children.

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