Sunday, May 12, 2013

Creativity in the 21st century

There is a mismatch between what science knows and what education does. How can you, as a teacher leader, remodel the actual educational system based on rewards, to promote creative abilities of your 21st Century students? 

After watching the video "The Puzzle of Motivation" by Dan Pink, I agree with David that there is a mismatch between what science knows and what education does. Just think about films since the first movie in 1927 in Hollywood. How much has this industry improved in the last decades? I guess a lot. Today, we can watch animated 3D movies in HD.

What about education? It hasn't changed a lot. In Mexico, we still have the same classrooms we used to have in the era of Lazaro Cárdenas del Río (1934-1940) where the teacher served as holder of knowledge. Back then, school teachers often rephrased  "If you want your students to perform better, motivate them with rewards". And it worked fine for that time. Teachers and parents had to help the children with extrinsic motivation. But today we are in the 21st century and we need to change the educational paradigm. If teachers use incentives, they narrow their vision. 

There is no simple solution. If we want our students to perform better, we do not have to threaten them with punishments, extra homework or without breaks. Students urgently need autonomy. By using Project-Based Learning approach where students are active participants of their own learning practice, they can direct their own life. Nowadays engagement and self-direction work better. If students work with their intrinsic motivation their productivity, satisfaction and work engagement go up. Remember, rewards work but only at a lower level, in mechanical skills, not with creativity or concentration. 

As a teacherpreneur, it is our duty to teach our students to create original works as a means of personal or group expression. Maybe let students use 20% of their time to do tasks that they really matter for them. If we make a connection between what science knows and what education does, we can solve a lot of "candle" problems and we can contribute to change the world of education.

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