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Posted at 6:54 PM ET, 08/31/2010

Fix the 'creativity gap' and achievement will follow

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Aleta Margolis
Washington

The Aug. 27 front-page article “Progress stalls in closing gaps in D.C. schools” indicated that the achievement gap between white and African American students is growing again in the city. The article highlights a serious problem — but what about solutions?

As a teacher and education reformer, I have observed a critical precursor to the achievement gap: the creativity gap. The vast majority of programs aimed at low-achieving students rely heavily on rote learning, are teacher- or textbook-driven (rather than student-driven), and offer few opportunities for students to figure out how to solve complex problems. Many even script teachers’ every word and interaction with students.

When children are denied the opportunity to develop their skills as creative and critical thinkers, it is not surprising that their academic achievement suffers.

It’s time to embrace an educational approach that integrates creativity and rigor into every aspect of school. Many successful examples of this kind of teaching already exist, in schools with children from all races and all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum.

Perhaps programs aimed at closing the achievement gap will devise a way to focus on reducing the creativity gap as well. All it would take is a little imagination.

The writer is executive director of the Center for Inspired Teaching.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | August 31, 2010; 6:54 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, schools  
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Comments

I agree that "if we do not catch the attention of children they will not come to class. In the late 1960's I used an article from the newspaper about a black Vietnam Vet who returned to Detroit and could not get a job to care for his family. He was caught stealing food from a grocery store. My students at Shaw Jr. High School were so interested in his story and I was able to make some reading and writing assignments on the story.The seventh graders who sat in the back of the room...drawing with little stuble pencils were so creative, but they had reading problems.
Also, we have had so many good, creative programs in DCPS but we do not keep records and do not continue good ideas and programs. Really, IMHO, we have had a form of child abuse in our system...all of us are responsible for the failures of our children. Hopefully, we are no longer rating teachers on their bulletin boards? Would a teacher who had a story up about a returning soldier from Iraq be dissed for inappropriate subject matter? Hmmmmm (former DCPS teacher)

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | September 1, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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