How many uses for a paper clip can you think of?
Maybe 10…20…50? How about 200?
What does a paper clip and its many uses—real or imagined—have to do with the arts?
Quite a lot, actually.
In the College of Fine Arts we value the ability to think beyond boundaries, we nurture students’ desire to take risks or try new things, and we encourage students to question established ways of doing things.
Unfortunately, certain education models don’t always promote or encourage these things.
Today, we’d like to share a video with you that we think is interesting, important and, quite frankly, pretty cool to watch.
In the video “Changing Educational Paradigms,” Sir Ken Robinson explains that the current model of public education is designed to focus primarily on an individual’s intellectual ability of the mind often called “academic ability,” meaning that there are people who are smart and people who are not smart.
He argues that this model has created an educational system based on the interests of industrialization and the image of it. (Schools are organized on factory lines: ringing bells, organized by subjects, students are educated in batches). He argues that this model has led to chaos in our system of education and this chaos has caused people who move through our educational system to lose their ability to think divergently.
Divergent thinking is an essential capacity for creativity and is the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question and lots of ways to interpret a question. To see multiple answers, not one! Creativity, Sir Ken Robinson explains, “is the process of having original ideas that have value.” In other words, divergent thinking is what helps us tap into the creative process.
RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms–Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson explains that we must “think differently about human capacity.” We need to recognize that “most great learning happens in groups and that collaboration is the stuff of growth.” If students are expected to take their place in the economies of the 21st century (see last week’s blog), then we need to break down the ways that we’ve been educated out of divergent thinking.
Ultimately, if we believe in the importance of creativity and divergent thinking, we need to remodel the education system. But, there are some things that you can do. Think about how you might reconnect with your natural capacity for divergent thinking. How might you flex and stretch your divergent thinking muscles?
How many uses for a paper clip can you come up with? Better yet, how many uses of [insert: your preference here] can you come up with?