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3 ways to support creative problem-solving in schools

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“The vast majority of educators and policymakers believe students should develop creative problem-solving skills in school–but the problem, they say, is that not enough schools teach this concept. Ninety-seven percent of educators and 96 percent of policymakers in a global research study from Adobe said creative problem-solving is important for today’s students, and they said they believe students who excel at creative problem-solving will have higher-earning jobs in the future. In fact, creative problem-solving skills are in high demand today for senior-level and higher-paying careers.” (more)

How to Help Older Kids Develop a Sense of Imagination

KQED News Mind/Shift – Linda Flanagan

“Imaginative play comes naturally to children, but it’s a habit of mind that needs to be taught and reinforced throughout life: “Young human beings need exercises in imagination as they need exercise in all the basic skills of life, bodily and mental: for growth, for health, for competence, for joy,” Le Guin wrote. “This need continues as long as the mind is alive.” Imagination might be vital to a clear mind, but it’s not something that’s widely taught or understood, especially among older students. In a 2007 study of prospective teachers, 68 percent said they believed students needed to focus on memorizing the right answer rather than thinking imaginatively.” (more)

Can creativity be taught?

E-School News – Dianne Pappafotopoulos

“I recently attended a conference and enjoyed the sessions and topics ranging from professional-development strategies to the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). Throughout the day, one word that permeated discussions was “creativity,” and how this phenomenon is now one of the essential skills for success in future careers. Creativity is not a new term. We hear it often and we frequently tell our students to be creative and think “outside the box.” As teachers, we often include creativity as a required goal on our grading rubrics when assessing student presentations. Adding creativity lets students know that we expect more than content knowledge.” (more)

Embrace Change

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

“If you do not create change, change will create you.” ~ Unknown

Change has always been an inevitable part of life. However, the speed of change and the amount of change a person can expect to see over his/her lifetime has increased substantially in the last 50 years. A recent Innosight study gives us an idea of the magnitude of the shift. In 1958, the average age of a company on the S&P 500 listing was 58 years. Now it is about 18 years. In addition, pundits suggest there are significant technological developments about every two years.

This rapid change can be overwhelming and can quickly leave those who are not actively embracing it behind. As a result, young people need practice adapting to change, so they can adjust quickly and efficiently.

In addition to helping children prepare for life on their own, change also:
• Teaches flexibility
Frequent change makes it easier to adapt to new situations, new environments, and new people. When kids have this type of exposure, it is less likely they will “shut down”          when something unexpectedly shifts.
• Encourages growth
Change forces young people to adapt in ways that are outside of what they have experienced which can help children with personal development.
• Reveals likes and strengths
It is challenging for a child to know what he/she enjoys or what comes easily to him/her unless he/she tries many things. Change is often the only way this exploration occurs.
• Creates opportunities
When the environment or activity is changed, kids can start again without any preconceived expectations.
• Fosters creativity
New environments force children to figure out how to integrate and succeed.
• Cultivates risk-management skills
With exposure, children learn to break change into small pieces so adjustment is easier.

Parents are often the biggest reason kids struggle with change. Many adults are fearful that change will make their kids socially isolated and encourage them to embrace risky or anti-social behaviors. Interestingly, many kids who embrace these undesirable behaviors attend the same high school for all four years and participate in the same activities year after year. These same kids often struggle to adapt when they are finally on their own.

Given how fast technology is changing one has to wonder if conventional wisdom still makes sense. Is it possible that 21st Century kids need a different environment to flourish – stable relationships with their parents and family members and frequent change elsewhere in their lives?

The Hidden Meaning of Kids’ Shapes and Scribbles

The Atlantic – Isabel Fattal

“High on the list of awkward social interactions is the moment when a dentist or a coworker shows off her young child’s nonsensical art. A bystander might think the art—or at least the fact of its existence—is cute. Or she might think it’s ridiculous or downright terrifying. In either case, a common reaction is to smile and ask, “What’s it supposed to be?” After all, these creations rarely look like anything fully recognizable or “real.” I uncovered a host of idiosyncrasies after asking parents about their kids’ art. There was a sideways house (or was it a knife?); a giant tooth resembling candy corn; a supposed self-portrait consisting of an oval with some jagged lines in the middle. Observers tend to laugh these sorts of things off as a kid’s erratic artistic process. If the drawing seems angry or dark, they might worry about what it means.”(more)

Being Creative While Teaching Students About Therapeutic Effects of Crafting

Education World – Samantha DiMauro

“As rates of depression and anxiety among young people in America increase, it’s an important time to teach stress management skills. Getting creative with arts and crafts, especially ones that require extensive concentration and working with your hands (i.e. knitting), have been proven to have effects similar to meditation, and function as a natural antidepressant.”(more)