Home > creativity, education > Who wags the dog?

Who wags the dog?

Right now I’m playing a little hookey from my break-out session at the New Literacies Institute. We just finished listening to keynote Yong Zhao speak to us about education and the importance of fostering creativity and difference. His concern is that with our country’s move toward standardization in education, we are actually moving away from the things that set us apart globally.

According to Zhao, one of the strengths of American education is that it allows for diversity and it tolerates difference. He tells us that American schools should be teaching students to be entrepreneurs, because this is the talent that will help them be successful. Our ability to be creative is the one product that continues to set the United States apart. “You can’t teach creativity,” Zhao states. Sadly, we can kill it. Education in the United States needs to continue to provide room for difference, so that students can maintain some of their creative, individual thought. But this isn’t the message that is saturating the media right now. Instead, we are shown a view of education that is failing, and students who are ill-prepared for the workplace. This is the image that is driving the need for greater accountabilty. Yet as I sit here in a room full of forward thinking teachers, and through my interactions with my PLN, I know this is not an accurate picture of American education at all. Perhaps we are right to be worried, because if we continue to move along the route of standardization and move away from what we do best we will most certainly fall behind.

Still, as I walk away from Zhao presentation I felt energized and excited. I know that regardless of what reforms may come, teachers will continue to infuse their work with the desire to foster passion, creativity and the ability to think differently.

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Categories: creativity, education
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