While this may seem disappointing, all is not lost. In fact, the very reason that the education system in America has developed in this way - to ensure the success of our students and our society as a whole - is noble indeed. We’re simply following an ineffective path to reaching this end. Rather than continuing down the path of trying to logically grade students as one mass, we can elect to take a path of inspiring individual creativity, reaching our same educational goals in a more effective and gracious manner.
Conveniently, there are countries throughout the world that employ creative education techniques that we in the USA haven’t tried yet ourselves. This gives us a chance to learn from these countries and apply their successful practices to our own education system.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that other countries are paving the way for creative education, and discover how we can apply these same techniques ourselves.
South Korea offers a program called the “Free Semester Program”, which grants middle school students a semester each year in which they receive no paper exams and are free to explore their interests through electives chosen by them and approved by the principal. In order to maintain structure, students continue to attend regularly scheduled classes during the morning, and are then free to pursue their individually chosen electives after lunch.This approach allows students to go out on a limb and explore their own unique interests and talents, while still being cradled by the safety net of a more traditional approach to learning each morning.
The results of this initiative have been promising thus far. According to the Global Education Leaders’ Partnership or GELP, some of the results of the Free Semester Program include:
If applied within the US, this creative approach to teaching could allow students to develop their passions and skills earlier on while still enjoying the safety of a more traditional approach for half of each school day.
Singapore is on the front lines of countries offering a creative education. In fact, creativity is among the 8 core values of Singapore’s education system (Shaheen, Robina. 2010). Singapore is known for their integration of technology in the classroom, as well as their philosophy that teachers should be the facilitators of finding information rather than simply being the source of the information itself. This inspires self-reliance in students and develops them into lifelong learners by teaching them how to solve problems as they arise, rather than rely on rote memorization. Students who are confident in their own creative problem solving abilities are more likely to succeed outside of a classroom setting, and less likely to fall into the learned helplessness that is so indicative of those who have never been taught how to solve problems autonomously.
By taking a leaf from Singapore’s book and inspiring students to creatively discover their own solutions through the use of technology in the classroom, the United States could develop a culture among our youth of curiosity and inventiveness, putting the power of creativity back into the hands of students.
Another example of a wildly different approach to education than what we’re used to in America is seen in the Summerhill School, located in the United Kingdom. Summerhill was built on the belief that “the school should be made to fit the child, rather than the other way around”. Because of this, they democratize the process of running the school through school meetings in which teachers and pupils alike can cast equally weighted votes on proposed measures.
While these two approaches may be a stretch to implement across the board in the United States, they can serve as interesting case studies that we can use as a springboard in order to develop a better learning environment for our students - one that facilitates creativity by catering more to individuals gifts and needs.
We as a country have an opportunity to reclaim our title as a progressive place that fosters creativity in our students. And, while other countries can serve as inspiration for reform of our education system, we don’t have to wait for reform in order to begin taking action at the classroom level. This drive to share creativity in education is the foundation on which Brackitz was built. Brackitz construction systems are a fun and inventive way for students to develop and demonstrate their creative abilities, and can be seamlessly integrated into existing lesson plans. Start using Brackitz and open up your students and children to a future full of creativity and opportunity today!
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