Fostering Creativity in STEM To Prepare Our Next Generation

Fostering Creativity in STEM To Prepare Our Next Generation was the title of my fifteenth newsletter issue. This post is an excerpt from it.

Recently, researchers found that creativity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (also called STEM) is very similar to creativity in the arts.

You could see the details in the article Which is more creative, the arts or the sciences?, where you could also find a link to the study.

As it turns out, creativity is general in nature—it is essentially a multifaceted competency that involves similar attitudes, disposition, skills, and knowledge, all transferable from one situation to another.

Developing and fostering students creativity

If this is true, there’s a need to teach STEM students differently to develop their creativity. Education systems should assess and foster students’ creative capabilities.

The big change for education systems would be moving away from a rather fragmented and haphazard approach to teaching creativity, to a much more holistic and integrated approach. To prepare the next generation for the future, we need to understand the gaps in the market – the human skills that computers, artificial intelligence and automation cannot achieve – and this is where creativity fits.

As read in a Fast Company article, a musician and an engineer will use creativity to solve a problem. Both rely on being open to new ideas, employing divergent thinking, and maintaining a sense of flexibility.

Remembering Sir Ken Robinson

In this situation is when we remember Sir Ken Robinson’s words. For those who don’t know him, he was a British author, speaker, thinkers50, advisor on education and arts, spoke to audiences worldwide on the creative challenges facing business and education. He was really worried about obsolete education and was a defender of broader knowledge.

Robinson gave three TED talks on the importance of fostering creativity in education. His first talk Do Schools Kill Creativity? on schools and creativity published in 2006 remains the most viewed TED talk of all time.

Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won’t serve us. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children.

Before jumping to another topic, I wanted to share a little story from his TED Talk about creativity. I hope you’ll like it.

“I heard a great story recently, I love telling it, of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson, she was 6 and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this little girl hardly paid attention, and in this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and she said, “What are you drawing?” and the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” And the girl said, “They will in a minute.” 

Here you could find the complete speech transcript from James Clear’s website. James is the author of the bestseller Atomic Habits.

If you are interested in Ken Robinson, you’ll find here his 10 most motivational quotes from the different talks and speeches.

His legacy is a clear and powerful takedown of the world’s current educational paradigm. He helped us all think more critically about thinking. As Forbes wrote, With Passing Of Education Luminary Sir Ken Robinson, His Call For Creativity Lives On.

I hope you liked it. If so, please share it! Do not hesitate to add your comments. And, if you want to stay up to date, don’t miss my free newsletter.

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Also published on Medium.

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