Creative Child

Raise the Next Generation of Problem Solvers with More Creative Learning

by Deborah Song

Kids are insatiably curious. Babies are so eager to learn that they grab any new thing they can get their hands on. And young children soak up language like a sponge, often becoming fluent by the time they’re two or three. So if kids are natural learners, why do we expect to walk into a classroom to find a bunch of bored students?

To start, our current school system wasn’t designed to foster each pupil’s natural curiosity and creativity. According to Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica, authors of “Creative Learning,” conventional education emanated out of necessity from the Industrial Age where students were being prepped to work in factories. It’s no wonder, then, that our current education structure with ubiquitous guidelines, standardized tests and strict schedules resemble more of an assembly line than a place where kids fall in love with learning.


While we can certainly use more creativity in our classroom to enhance the learning experience, infusing more creativity and curiosity is also necessary to cultivate the next generation of problem solvers that won’t be graduating into the Industrial Age but an innovation era. Here are some ways to encourage creativity in our students and help them thrive in a changing landscape. 

Take the focus off grades. One of the problems with our current school structure is that most kids don’t benefit from sitting down and absorbing information in lecture form, which is a model of learning created to produce good test takers. We have an assembly-line education that feeds every child the same curriculum, then teaches them to regurgitate this information in the form of a timed exam. 


But tests are not the best measure of a child’s intelligence, especially non-academic forms of intelligence like emotional and creative intelligence. Such narrow standards disparage children who develop slower and excel in non-academic areas. These kids are treated as developmentally deficient. Even for kids whose brains are more wired to learn from textbooks and take tests well, the obsession with grades slowly kill a love of learning.

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed children reported feeling higher levels of stress on average across the school year than adults. One of the biggest contributors to our kids’ stress are the obsessive focus on grades. Grades have become so important to a child’s future success that schools now focus more on training kids to pass exams and get good grades than on helping kids understand the course material. But if we are to truly raise the next generation of innovators we need to focus on inspiring our children to learn for reasons beyond good grades. 

Infuse storytelling. Narrative is a powerful vehicle for learning in any subject. Stories provide context and make information relevant, which helps with long-term memorization unlike straight facts from textbooks, which tend to linger only in our short-term memory just long enough to regurgitate information on a test.

If you want to introduce your child to environmental issues, they’d benefit more from reading Lorax by Dr. Seuss than learning about the latest emission figures. Living books and great literature are cultural artifacts that connect us to the real world around us and inspire a love of reading.

Then there are the stories our own children have to tell. Encourage storytelling imaginative or real, whether at the dinner table or around a campfire. Encourage them to write their own books or recount them in a recording to produce their own audio book. In telling their own stories, they’ll also draw upon what they’ve learned and reimagine who they want to become.


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