Creativity in America Today: What Is It? And Where Is It Hiding?

Source: dailypaintings.com

Source: dailypaintings.com

“Creativity” is about as complicated a word as “art.” They mean different things to every person. For this blog post, I want to use my personal definition of what creativity is to me, and where it’s gone in America (I don’t know about everyone else, but I think it’s hiding somewhere.).

For me, creativity is when a person uses his/her imagination to create a new idea. This can be done by mimicking other ideas, but the key thing is that there must be something new added to the idea when someone mimicks an idea that already exists. How can we be creative according to this definition? Various forms of art (also a more specific description of creating a new idea using your imagination) come to mind (but are not limited to):

1. Art (general)–Examples in this group include traditional ideas of art: painting, drawing, sculpting.

2. Writing–Many genres of writing exist, and examples include: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting.

3. Music–Singing, playing instruments

4. Acting

5. Design–Examples include: furniture design, architecture, interior design.

Over the years, Americans have seen vast changes in the public education system. Education is a process that is changing continuously nationwide. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing; some changes can have a positive impact on students. But for me, the question is whether or not we think these changes will benefit or hinder students.

While I do have an opinion about that, that is for another post. What I want to ask of readers is, according to my definition of creativity, do you think it exists in the American educational system today? This answer can be based on any life experiences you have, things you may have seen in school settings, or day-to-day interactions with students. Also, do you feel that creativity is something that is taught as a significant value of our educational system?

Comment with your answers. 🙂

 

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12 thoughts on “Creativity in America Today: What Is It? And Where Is It Hiding?

  1. I can’t speak about the American system, sorry, I don’t really know how the system works there, but our system here has been getting a lot of the same critique, not teaching kids to think for themselves, to follow and just do what they are told. Interesting post.

      • That is so true. It is really sad what is happening. Yet, they spend millions and millions on prettying up the city so it looks fantastic, but where are those artists going to come from if they are never trained. So sad.

      • Exactly! As writers, photographers, and artists, we don’t really learn much about our art forms until we’re out of public schools. And as time goes on, less and less time/money is spent on the arts. When I was in the public school system less than 10 years ago, there was a bit of time spent on the fine arts. Now, some schools don’t even have art or music rooms…

  2. As a resident of the “great state of Texas,” with its great system of standardized testing–don’t teach to the test, but don’t teach anything but the test–I think that our teachers’ creativity in the classroom is being tacitly disincentivized. When I was in elementary school, my first grade teacher read us Green Eggs and Ham, and then brought us green eggs and ham to eat. She read us the Ramona Quimby books, and then brought us beef tongue to try, since it was mentioned in one of the books. But who has time to do that sort of thing when everything’s about assessments and ranking? When our teachers lose the freedom of creativity in teaching, how do we expect our students to learn to be creative?

    And I think the predominance of reality TV and movie remakes is all the proof we need that creativity is generally lacking in society at large…

    • I agree! I remember when my teacher did the same thing when we read Green Eggs and Ham. It seems that schools all over the nation focus on testing and having their students be the best in math or reading. They aren’t being taught to be creative as much as in the past. That’s a good point about reality television and remakes of movies. Creativity is general seems hard to come by.

  3. I’m from Australia, but to me, I think creativity still exists here. I did a lot of arts subjects in high school. In retrospect I wish I’d chosen more science subjects, I didn’t take any science, only English and arts subjects.

    • I’m glad to hear that the arts are appreciated in Australia. In America it seems to depend on the school. In my high school we had art and music classes, but they were never required. At least three years of math and science, however, where required to graduate. To me it just showed what the school system valued. In elementary schools though, they are cutting art and music funds to the point where schools either don’t have music/art rooms, or some schools have no music/art classes at all.

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