In “More Creativity in the Classroom,” an opinion piece written for The Huffington Post, former North Carolina governor Jim Hunt expresses a vision for education with which I heartily agree. It is strikingly similar to the one embodied by the imaginative learning model of Lincoln Center Institute. “Creative thinking fuels innovation,” Hunt asserts. It leads to new ideas, products, services, and jobs. So unless we “cultivat[e] creativity in our schools at the state and local levels,” the United States will soon find itself unable to compete economically with other nations who do. But, some readers may ask, what does it mean to “cultivate creativity” in public education?
According to Hunt, creativity in the classroom means more than exposing students to the fine arts. The more robust goal is to integrate creativity across the curriculum, to interweave 21st-century skills like collaboration, problem solving, communication, and questioning with all academic subjects. While we cannot train young people “for jobs that do not even exist yet,” Hunt writes, referring to future technological advances, “we can provide them with the minds and tools they’ll need to adapt to our ever-changing set of circumstances.” In this view, imaginative teaching and learning is a kind of educational insurance; no matters how the global marketplace changes—and it will—this approach prepares students to be flexible, think on their feet, and not get locked into narrow modes of working and thinking. North Carolina’s 25th Annual Emerging Issues Forum will address the very points made by Hunt in his blog post.
The Emerging Issues Forum, held at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC, from February 8-9, convenes “some of the brightest minds in the state to determine a clear strategy for cultivating [North Carolina]’s creative assets.” From this description, it seems as if the event will bear some strong similarities to the Imagination Conversations that LCI has been promoting around the country. And the connections don’t stop there: the line-up of speakers in NC includes Eric Liu, author (with me) of Imagination First, moderator of several Imagination Conversations, and one of our Imagination Now bloggers; Deborah Wince-Smith, president of the Council on Competitiveness and member of the Imagination Conversations National Advisory Committee; and Daniel Pink, friend of LCI and fan of Imagination First.
Needless to say, it’s extremely encouraging to see a former U.S. governor passionately in favor of making imagination and creativity essential parts of our school systems. Furthermore, the Emerging Issues Forum sounds like an intelligently conceived and highly visible event that should give rise to relevant debate and exchange of ideas. We at LCI take our hats off to the Tar Heel State!
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Filed under: Link | Tagged: 21st century skills, creativity, education, education reform, Emerging Issues Forum, Huffington Post, Institute for Emerging Issues, James B. Hunt, Jim Hunt, Lincoln Center Institute, More Creativity in the Classroom, North Carolina |