Monday, July 21, 2008

Creativity and thinking

The idea that all work done in school ends in assessment narrows the creativity of students.

Since I was a lad in school, the amount of creative work done in class has decreased. My guess why is that getting students to do 'thinking' work is too hard to mark and crowded out of the curriculum with the need to assess specific content.

Funnily enough, where creative work was once welcomed by students (and I'm sure even primary teachers today can verify this), in high school students spurn it. They don't seem to want to put in the effort to create something and try different applications of concepts, especially when more than one way exists to complete a problem.

At the start of last term I asked students to create a two bedroom house in under 150 m2. Then I reduced it to 100 m2. There was graph paper, a little computer programme that you could create a floor layout and some leading questions on a worksheet available for those that couldn't start. I had pre-prepared another similar project with sporting fields. If I did these projects in primary I'd get all sorts of models and different ways of measuring, reports on how objects were laid out and so on.

I did have a couple of stand out results in report form. On the whole though I had way too many not finish/start saying this is too hard, this is stupid, I'm not doing it.. For that group of students I've put away the open ended task for now.

On the path to senior school where do students lose their creative will? Is the need for constant assessment reducing the opportunities and skill of students to be creative?

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