Monday, March 13, 2006

7 Secrets Presentation & How Education is Killing Creativity

I'm fresh back from presenting at the 19th Annual Latina Leadership Conference of the California Community Colleges which was incredibly fun. My presentation, The 7 Secrets of Big Picture Thinkers was packed! Standing room only, people sitting in the aisles... wow, it was great. It was interactive, engaging, and people asked for more. I even met some fellow educators who are doing coaching on the side. Go do it!

The audience was comprised of students, college teachers, college staff, administrators, and a few visitors. From teens to veteranas, we had all ages represented. I can't stress enough how important it is to think big, to not be trapped by doubts and fears, and to catch your ideas. As silly as some may be, they may be the seeds of something incredible in the future. The audience was very receptive to the message and if they choose to apply those tips to their lives, we're in for some amazing, positive changes in our world.

Let's start with the educational system itself.

As a teacher with plenty of experience behind me, I feel more than qualified to opine on this subject. I always tell people that the main reason I left education to start Comadre Coaching was the birth of my daughter. That is true, but there is more.

For years I choked under the oppressive, uncreative nature of the educracy. People who believe that one size fits all instruction will bring kids up to speed are delusional. They need to spend a day with the average teacher who juggles the many aptitudes and personalities of the classroom: the class clowns, the bright ones, the troubled ones, the starved for attention ones.

I remember when I was teaching illiterate teens, an administrator told me to just give them worksheets and "keep them busy." Busy until what? They get pregnant or go to jail? I tore up her worksheets and went to work on one of the most innovative curriculum projects I ever undertook, that gave the kids exposure to college level literature and uncovered their critical thinking skills that for so many years were left out to die.

I left education yes, because I had a child and decided to work from home to be with her. But the way was paved long before that with the mounting frustration of standardized testing, and as the following article describes the drill and kill nature of today.

This article from the San Francisco Chronicle accurately presents the catch 22 of this test crazed system so many are trapped in.
Leaving Creativity Behind: Drilling for Tests Kills Curiosity and Imagination.

My wish for the world is that we stand on our heads often enough to remember there are alternative ways of seeing things. I know that creative thinking is scary because you can't quantify it the way those handy little Scantron bubbles can. But the results will show themselves, mark my words.

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