Fix the 'creativity gap' and achievement will follow
By Aleta Margolis
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.
| August 31, 2010; 6:54 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, schools
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