Creativity with Bronson & Merryman

Ashley Merryman came to our school this week to speak to students, faculty and parents about her work with Po Bronson.  I haven’t read their book, NurtureShock, yet but I likely will.   Here’s an interesting article by both of them in Newsweek:

The Creativity Crisis

Here’s a quote from the article that’s serving as my writing prompt today:

“Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood.”

I agree with this statement.  I think popular American society tends to see creativity as an innate but mysterious quality that some people have, and others do not – it can be enriched or fostered, but not necessarily taught or, on the other end of the spectrum, subdued.  This is the first article I’ve read that suggests that under some conditions, creativity can actually be limited or diminished in a person.  Creativity is often used synonymously to mean “artistic talent,” but this article focuses on creativity as problem-solving and innovation, no matter what the discipline is.

I’ve read a lot about creativity, and most authors see it as a birthright – that we all have creativity but need to tap into it and develop it.  I’ve also read that children are naturally creative and that this can lessen over time if it is not fostered.  In a way, saying something is “innate and mysterious” lets one off the hook for developing it.  If we don’t understand something it’s easy to say “she has it, he doesn’t” and leave it at that.  It can become the focus of prejudice as well: “He has a creative personality, that’s why he acts that way …”  But if creativity can be understood, then we need to pay more attention to how, when and where it is being fostered.  And we have to take some of those stereotypes off as well.



About Paula Montrie

I am a Middle School Librarian at Friends School of Baltimore. I have been a librarian for 11 years, serving 6 years with the Howard County Public School System before arriving at my current school. I teach two classes: SpeechCraft (a combination of information literacy, public speaking and theater), and Media Literacy at the middle school level. I also collaboratively co-teach with a number of teachers at the school, including Music, Geography, and U.S. History. I love it! My professional interests are: information literacy, multiple intelligences and learning styles, teaching through movement, curriculum-writing, technology integration, and bridging the gap between digital natives and digital immigrants. My personal interests are: dancing, singing, knitting, sewing, art, living history, writing and of course - reading!
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One Response to Creativity with Bronson & Merryman

  1. ktenkely says:

    It is interesting the “mystery” that we have surrounded the idea of creativity with. I think it is thought of as mysterious because it isn’t easy to assess. We tend to think that things that we can’t assess aren’t worth including in education (such a shame because I think that the creativity is the doorway to real learning).

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