Creativity in Education
Wenner Teaches Pavement Art
Why is it difficult to promote creativity in education? Wikipedia claims that:
Education is the formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs, and values from one generation to another.
The contemporary world does not lack creative individuals. The crisis of creativity is due to our cultural inability to understand its structure, meaning, and function and then insert it into education. The difficulty with introducing creativity is temporal. Transmitted knowledge must always belong to the past, whereas creativity can only exist in the present.
Information and creativity do not exist at the same moment in time. The foundation of brilliant teaching is the ability to keep education in the present as a process of discovery.
Wenner. Perspective Class
Ideas downgrade in their conceptual force as they disseminate through time. To the generation that discovers an idea, it is a concept. It is fresh and new, capable of inspiring astonishingly creative and innovative works for those who apprehend it. Once the concept is mastered and proven, the original innovators teach it to the next generation as a technique or skill. The next generation no longer has the thrill of discovery and is not asked to understand precisely why it works, because it is already proven to work. As time goes on and we teach the information as a skill, it further degrades into a rule. Creativity in education requires that we keep ideas in the realm of concept.
Once a concept has degenerated into a rule, it can neither inspire nor assist the creative process.
In the arts, the next generation will want to “break the rule.” It has become useless to creativity, not because it contained no truth, but because it is no longer understood in a deep enough way to be valuable.
Children Pose with Their Completed Project
The degradation of concepts into skills and rules follows the movement in time from the present into the past. Students must rediscover information in the initial context of the creative problem it initially solved. Students must be challenged by the instructor to test all knowledge empirically as if they were discovering it for the first time. To promote creativity in education, we must continually reconsider ideas that we have taken for granted or which have decayed into rules. If an idea is not understood conceptually, there is no possibility of either fully benefitting from it or reconsidering it. It is vital to understand and communicate to the students that all human knowledge is by its nature incomplete and only has value within a specific context. As the world evolves and new problems arise, we must pose further questions and find new solutions.
The arts discard rules continually, leaving a millennia-long wake of valuable ideas ready to be reconsidered once again. The sciences, being more rigid in their hierarchy, have tremendous difficulty reassessing their fundamental metaphysical precepts. Science is, therefore, still stuck with the grim Machiavellian and materialistic metaphysic it inherited from the age of reason and also with the postulates of Euclid, which prevent the full understanding of geometry as a creative force. Creativity in education must also apply to science.
Wenner. Demonstration of Perspective Technique
Creativity is not an exceptional quality, mysteriously bestowed upon isolated individuals. It is an attitude toward life, and a process of problem solving that does not rehash past experiences to supply contingent, finite, and makeshift solutions.
Kennedy Center Education Award
Creativity in education envisions a fresh idea of the goal to be reached and structures the existing resources to manifest that goal using an innovative approach. For education, this means directing the students to visualize their personal and generational goals. In a world with limited resources and a glut of information, students must have the opportunity to take an active role in deciding on the specific knowledge, skills, customs, and values that will serve them in the next decades.