Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Power of Creativity

Creativity is more than just producing a piece of art. Creativity is a way of thinking and a way of living life. It is the engine behind progress.

Any creative endeavour, whether it involves painting, sculpting, writing, dancing, designing, acting, expressing share similar characteristics. It involves thinking or behaving imaginatively with a purposeful and value-added objective in mind. It generates originality and a sense of accomplishment. It promotes skills that are highly regarded in the community and workplace. And yet, our school system has basically shut down many opportunities to promote creativity through curriculum. In fact, do any elementary schools in this province even hire an Art specialist to teach and promote the knowledge and the act of creating?

So what are the skills?

Creativity teaches a person to envision possibilities, to ask questions, to problem solve and find solutions, to accept challenges, to cope with ambiguity and to take risks in choosing a new approach when tackling a project or problem. In other words, creative endeavours promote Thinking, Choosing and Acting.

The human brain needs nourishment, and thrives in an enriched environment where the thinking process is alive and well. Without it, our drive to learn disipates. Musicians, artists, actors, athletes, writers, and dancers all share the same fluid flowing thinking process, all the while allowing for emotions to be felt and shared to others. The drama of a wonderfully written play, the moving lyrics to a song, the harmony of the orchestra, the expression of a soliloquy, the sensory stimulation of an original photograph all have the ability to nourish.

In order to promote more creative opportunities, a program has been developed in the United Kingdom called "Creative Partnerships." It's mandate is to provide school children with the opportunity to develop creativity in learning and to take part in cultural activities in the community. This is considered an avenue to forge partnerships with schools and artists of all genres with the objective of enriching school life. "Creative Partnerships" helps schools identify their individual needs and then enables them to develop long-term sustainable partnerships with organizations and individuals that are involved with museums, theatre companies, dance studios, cinemas, recording studios, website designers, etc. The main purpose is to promote the fun of thinking "outside of box."

The first 16 areas that were chosen to benefit from this program were all considered the most economically and socially challenged communities in the UK. Using the creative experts in various fields, the teachers in the school system and the children have been involved in a variety of projects that have stimulated the learning environment, which in turn stimulates new thinking, new methods of teaching, and new learning. It's a powerful tool in transforming the education system in the UK. It's one that this province should consider adopting.\
"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap!"
Cynthia Heimel

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