According to research on LiveScence.com, it appears that testing within care and school systems could be creating an ‘only one right answer’ mindset in children and curbing their creativity. This would be a difficult statement to believe if it weren’t for the research behind it.
Back in 2010, Kyung Hee Kim, a researcher at the College of William and Mary found a decrease in creativity when analyzing 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s. According to the findings of this researcher, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas since 1990. Children test as less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas.
Suppressed not gone.
It is not believed that the creativity in the classroom has disappeared – notes education psychologist at the University of Oregon, Ron Beghetto – but has been suppressed.
Suppression indicates that there is a way to restore. It’s up to adults to cultivate creativity in children to restore the imaginative mindset.
Locked into one answer.
The referenced ‘only one right answer’ mindset suppresses creativity in particular contexts notes the LiveScience.com article by Rachael Rettner. When children are tested – especially in standardized tests as required annually by the No Child Left Behind Act passed by Congress in 2001 – it is intended that schools simply assess whether they are meeting education standards. However, Beghetto believes the dosage of testings are partly responsible for the drop in creativity scores.
No requirement to go beyond immediate response.
There is no inspiration for children to go beyond determining the answer they think tests are seeking. Testing parameters don’t encourage exploration of ideas but do encourage quick answers toward timely completions. And the focus on this (along with other passive activities like endless TV-watching) may be hampering development of creativity among children. Changes in the classroom in creativity cultivation can begin the restoration process.
Cultivating creativity doesn’t have to be complex.
Success may result with gentle nudging. Encouraging children with open-ended activities that open the door (and their minds) to multiple solutions to challenges. The process can start with one simple element and limitless possibilities. Adults can be the inspiration by giving the seed of creativity a good environment in which to grow.
Smart isn’t the issue.
The amazing fact here is that SAT scores have actually increased as children’s creativity has decreased. The issue is having time to be creative. What else is amazing is that the cultivation of creativity also cultivates determination, vision, humility, experimentation, and listening. It also encourages the development of relationships.
Children have schedules that are so busy, they make wardrobe changes in the car. Over-scheduled and over-committed may give children skills like swimming and piano-playing but at the end of the day (which is far too late with these schedules) children are mostly overwhelmed. Their schedules leave no time for ‘just wondering about things’ and hamper their potential for growing up to be ingenious adults. There is no time for overbooked children to daydream, to wonder and be curious.
Developing the imagination. Cultivating creativity in the classroom. These are the activities that create tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and inventors and make people human.