Developing Creativity through Lifewide Education by Norman Jackson considers the inadequacies of the structure of higher education and claims that;
(E)duration that is dominated by the mastery of content and cognitive performance in abstract situations, (it) is not enough. . . . (Quoting Douglas Thomas and John Seeley Brown) “What is required to succeed in education is a theory that is responsive to the context of constant flux, while at the same time is grounded in a theory of learning”.
And it’s not just educational practice. The problems also extend to research based knowledge generation.
Paradoxically, the core enterprise of research – the production of new knowledge – is generally seen as an objective systematic activity rather than a creative activity that combines, in imaginative ways, objective and more intuitive forms of thinking.
This critique of knowledge generation also fits with the ides of my last post inspired by Jay Cross. If your context is rather stable, than knowledge generation that emphasizes objectivity and systematicity will work relatively well. But if one’s situation trends towards a contextual flux in a complex multi-demensional variable field, then systematic objectivity may be useful for verification of experimental data, but not for generation hypotheses and theories, the things that lead and guide inquiry. Current methodological thought treats the creative generation of hypotheses and theories rather cavalierly considering their central place in inquiry.
Norman list 8 propositions for a new curricular approach.
In order to facilitate students’ creative development for the real world we must create a curriculum that –
- Proposition 1 : gives them the freedom and empowers them to make choices so that they can find deeply satisfying and personally challenging situations that inspire and require their creativity. A curriculum should nurture their spirit: their will to be and become a better more developed person and create new value in the world around them
- Proposition 2: enables them to experience and appreciate knowledge and knowing in all its forms. And enables them to experience and appreciate themselves as knower, maker, player, narrator and enquirer
- Proposition 3 : enables them to appreciate the significance of being able to deal with situations and to see situations as the fundamental opportunity for being creative. They need to be empowered to create new situations individually and with others by connecting people and transferring, adapting and integrating ideas, resources and opportunities, in an imaginative, willful and productive way, to solve problems and create new value.
- Proposition 4: prepares them for and gives them experiences of adventuring in uncertain and unfamiliar situations, through which they encounter and learn to deal with situations that do not always result in success but which do not penalize ‘mistakes’ or failure to reach a successful outcome
- Proposition 5 : enables them to develop and practice the repertoire of communication and literacy skills they need to be effective in a modern world
- Proposition 6: encourages participants to behave ethically and with social responsibility promoting creativity as means of making a difference to people or adding value to the world
- Proposition 7: engenders a commitment to personal and cooperative learning and the continuing development of capability for the demands of any situation and the more strategic development of capability for future learning
- Proposition 8: helps them develop and explain their understandings of what creativity means in the situations in which they participate or create, and values and recognizes their awareness and application
More broadly, how do we do this? I’ll fall back on Hagel, Brown and Divison’s Power of Pull framework.
- Tap into knowledge flows, especially through Web 2.o technologies such as Personal Learning Environments or community wide collaborative research projects.
- Find a trustful, creative and knowledge flow filled environments (both virtual and physical). Places where serendipity is more likely to strike.
- Rather than scalable efficiency, strategize for scalable connectivity, scalable learning, and new possibilities for performance.
- Tap into people’s passion. You could say, manage by helping people find inspiration.
People might say; “this does not represent the real world”. I would counter that their real world was the 20th Century. That world is now fading, and as they say, the new world is here, it’s just not evenly distributed,