Why Curiosity & Creativity?
According to K.H. Kim, best known for her research featured in the 2010 Newsweek cover article, “The Creativity Crisis in America”, creativity in the U.S. has been on the decline since 1990, most notably in children. Mark Runco, another creativity researcher, published in 2007 that “Most educational efforts emphasize convergent thinking, and may do very little, if anything, for creative potential”.
Meanwhile, the world we live in today is often characterized as volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (known as VUCA). With the fast pace of change due to technology and other cultural forces, many experts say that we can’t predict what jobs will be available in the future. How do we prepare students for the unknown? By helping them to know what to do in the face of the unknown, by embracing and supporting their natural curiosity and creativity, and by training them to be skillful in creative problem-solving.
Furthermore, by supporting creativity we are supporting mental health and well-being (Nakano, Weschler, Campos & Milian, 2015; Simonton, 2000).
What about curiosity? Curiosity is typically defined as the desire to know and is of great value to students, parents, and teachers. Curiosity drives learning and discovery! (Gruber et al, 2014) There are many successful people who credit curiosity as a factor in their success. Scientific researchers, entrepreneurs, and inventors are curious people who don’t accept things as they are and are motivated to figure things out and make changes in the world.
Contrary to the past when creativity seemed underappreciated by the corporate world, it is highly valued these days. For examples of this, check out reports by IBM (2010), World Economic Forum (2016), and Linked In (2019 and 2020), to name a few. These reports indicate that creativity is understood as something valuable, not just something novel and exciting. CEOs and other leaders want to hire creative and curious people to give their organizations a competitive edge.
Therefore, given all these benefits, and all these demands in the world today, we believe it is essential to make creativity a part of everyone’s education. By helping children reach their creative potential, we help them prepare for the future.
How curiosity and creativity can be part of education
Consider how most standardized test questions have just one right answer, which the test makers, the school district, and others in authority (mostly) agree upon. Arriving at this “right” answer requires convergent thinking, and this is the thinking that is rewarded. To be successful, the test taker must answer the questions the same way as everyone else! Nothing novel is requested or even desired. But this is not what we are trying to do in Curiosity 2 Create programs.
In our program, we emphasize activities with divergent thinking, which is the production of many ideas or options. This is the type of thinking that is used in brainstorming, or when generating lists, or coming up with novel ideas. A finding of Kim’s later research revealed that the ability to engage in divergent thinking is a stronger predictor of adult creative achievement and life success than scores on IQ tests (2008).
We want students to :
● Come up with questions, then seek their own answers.
● Find problems they are interested in solving, and then develop solutions.
● Look to the teacher not as an authority on knowledge but as a facilitator of the thinking process.
● Try something hard and fail. Then learn from it and try again!
● Pursue what is fascinating to them.
● Set goals that are meaningful to them.
As a result of the curriculum and the learning environment we establish, we expect students to
● Value creativity and curiosity
● Know they are creative and curious
● Be confident in their ability to use curiosity and creative problem solving to tackle all kinds of challenges
● Feel confident in their ability to create options for themselves, devise plans, overcome obstacles and reach their goals