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30. "Creativity" delivers us from ruts.

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130. "Creativity" delivers us from ruts. Empty 30. "Creativity" delivers us from ruts. on Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:15 pm


30. "Creativity" delivers us from ruts.

Creativity is necessary to break away from cultural molds that bind students to conservative one-way thinking. It is literally liberated thinking. Students who are scared to make mistakes and be creative generally have an active (sometimes enlarged) amygdala. This keeps them conservative in their ways, or, in a rut. The amygdala is the alarm in humans and other animals that excites our bodies when we are in danger. When it is engaged too frequently it causes trauma such as war veterans with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Even in normal usage, the amygdala sparks adrenaline production which is good for the "fight or flight" reactions, but it physically restricts peripheral vision and peripheral thinking. We actually lose our peripheral vision when our amygdala fires hot. It does this because in a fight, what we need is a sharp focus on our enemy and animalistic skills to achieve a simple and direct victory. In short, the amygdala and it's related systems impede creative thinking and make us more physical, or animalistic (Pawlak et al., 2003; Willis, 2010). Have your ever encountered a student angrily shouting out in the classroom unreasonably at you or a peer, seemingly without any concern about his/her other peers? If so, it is likely that whatever caused the rage triggered his/her loss of peripheral vision. The student would then be solely fixated on the cause of the anger and would not capable of understanding outside input, especially from you, if you were at the root of it. It takes time for such students to calm down and gain their peripheral vision back. No academic learning can happen this entire period of time -- at this stage we are only there for 'fight or flight'; our academic minds are turned off. It is an intriguing phenomenon that may have done magic for us in the jungle, but it creates interesting problems for us living in the more sophisticated societies of today.

Due to biological differences AND immediate context, there will always be a spectrum spanning from conservative to liberal within groups of people. Studies show that when we perceive negative input, we tend to send the message to the lower areas of the brain for speedy animalistic processing, and when we perceive positive input, we send the message to our frontal cortex for slower but higher level assessment (Pawlak et al., 2003; Willis, 2010). As we can see from this bio-sociological phenomenon, there are biological and sociological reasons for the conservative-liberal dichotomy. From the discussion within this maxim we can deduce why liberal people tend to be more creative and outgoing while conservative people tend to be more protective of themselves and less pioneer spirited. Politics aside, creativity and liberal thinking is generally a good thing in the classroom -- we want students to use higher level thinking, right? It is literally more mind expanding. The first steps toward creativity in the classroom is relaxation and the loss of potential inhibitions and anxieties. Students can get hooked on creativity if the are in conducive contexts, and their own reward systems get to kick in when they realize creativity. However, anger and stress will easily diminish these achievements and put students back in to ruts.

Why then does over-the-top military training work for the military? Why do schools that implement punishment-centered militaristic training claim success? Consider the biological phenomena discussed. When being shouted at at boot camp, with an adrenaline rush in you and within your superior officer, you cannot fight nor fly from the situation. Your peripheral vision is gone. You must bare it. You must be a robot and follow the rules perfectly -- or else dire consequences await you. So you obey. You are so wired up that you can't think liberally; you do not have higher level thinking. If you think liberally, you will die, or someone will die, they tell you. In this way, you are kept aligned and kept from thinking outside of the box. This is good for the military. If the goal of the school or training is to create rigid robotic soldiers (or workers), then this type of training is actually ideal. However, the huge tradeoff is: Deep Understanding is not the goal, therefore only simplistic learning is accomplished. In a nutshell, this type of training is good for producing pawns of war or pawns of labor, but it is not good for producing creative management.

Q. What is creativity? How can you embrace and encourage creativity in your classrooms? Why would that be important?


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