Many of us retain memories of our schoolteachers. Practically everyone had a teacher whose classes were a lot of fun to attend but were not teaching much. The same could be said for the strict disciplinarian that would never deviate from the common core even if the subject was history or literature. These teachers represent two opposite concepts – unbridled creativity that misses the point and repressive standards that kill any kind of original thought. Many curriculum programs these days tend to favor one or the other – either emphasizing creativity or forcing a rigorous set of standards in the name of efficiency. However, it does not have to be that way. To be successful, the curriculum is required to strike a balance between standards and creativity in a way they do not antagonize each other and instead coexist to produce the best possible learning experience (Craft, 2003). This paper will analyze three articles dedicated to the subject of creativity and standards.
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The first article is called “Student Creativity and the Common Core” written by Diane Rymer. Its focus is on the Common Core standards, and the perceived lack of creativity within them. The author gives us a definition of creativity as high-order thinking, required to solve difficult tasks. In her analysis, she emphasizes the necessity of the common core as necessary for a basic understanding of the subject, while reserving creativity for higher learning. Her suggestion is to provide the students with an opportunity for creativity and originality within existing standards by offering them tasks that allow the implementation of the learned skills in realistic scenarios (Rymer, 2013).
The second article reviewed in this paper is called “Combining Creativity and Standards-Driven Instruction,” by the authorship of Anthony Colucci. As the name of the article suggests, the author promotes cooperation between the two concepts, rather than adopting one of them as a dominant. He formulates his ideas of integration through the C.R.E.A.T.E acronym, with the letters in it standing for Care, Respond, Expand, Add Art, Techniques, and Examples.
There are several thoughts and ideas given under each point, which have the aim of helping a teacher make the students care for the subject, positively respond to education, and make them desire to expand their knowledge on their own. The point about Art suggests teaching the students to approach certain tasks artistically, while the Techniques stress out the importance of tools such as critical thinking. Examples are meant to bolster the student’s motivation by showing them how applicable the knowledge they receive would be in real life. These measures have the purpose of preventing the curriculum program from becoming detached from the real world and stay relevant for the students and their interests (Colucci, 2014).
The third article is called “Creativity within the Common Core State Standards.” The author is Janelle Cox. Unlike the other two texts, which speak in general terms without providing much attention to the implementation of their concepts, this article suggests working within the standards of the Common Core and allowing the students freedom of expression within the system. It emphasizes that as long as the standards of knowledge within the Common Core are met, it does not matter how the results were achieved. The article capitalizes on the teacher’s ability to capture the interest of the students by presenting the information interestingly and creatively. Some of the suggestions include the use of videos, games, and non-fiction reading material to connect the abstract topics to the real world (Cox, 2016).
The knowledge from these articles can be used within the PLC format to create recommendations and templates for the teachers to balance creativity with the state standards. All three articles have emphasized the demonstration of the relevance of the information to the modern world through the creation of realistic scenarios and tasks. The students should be granted freedom in regards to how they complete their assignments so long the result is adequate – that way deviation would not hinder the end goals of the learning process. Lastly, the teachers should put effort into conducting their lessons with creativity to spark interest among the students. The use of modern technology to present certain topics should be encouraged. All three sources used in this study have spoken for using Bloom’s Taxonomy in its latest edition to help the students move beyond the basic understanding of the subject, towards understanding on a deeper level.
In conclusion, several important questions have to be answered. Are standards a threat to creativity? No, they are not. The purpose of standards is to keep creativity from wandering too far away from the goals set by the educational program (Partelow, 2015). Is creativity a threat to the standardized curriculum? No, it is not. Promoting creativity would allow the students to gain an in-depth knowledge of the subject rather than deviating them away from it (Zastrow, 2010). Together, these two aspects form an optimal education plan that would benefit both the teachers and the students.
Colucci, A. (2014). Combining Creativity and Standard-Driven Instruction. Web.
Cox, J. (2016). Creativity within the Common Core State Standards. Web.
Craft, A. (2003). The Limits to Creativity in Education: Dilemmas for the Educator. British Journal of Educational Studies, 51(2), 113-127.
Partelow, L. (2015). Common Core Doesn’t Kill Creativity. U.S. News. Web.
Rymer, D. (2013). Student Creativity and the Common Core. Web.
Zastrow, C. (2010). Do Standards Kill Creativity? Web.