Monday, June 24, 2013

GUEST BLOG: "Yesterday, Today, and the Power of Creativity"

This week's guest blog is written by Josh Michael, an email marketing professional who also helped create ESL Basics, a free video learning tool for people learning English. He also wrote a Business English ebook available on Amazon.
My best friend growing up was fidgety. He couldn't sit still through class and focusing on a piece of paper was futile.

School was a trap. Failure was the only option in that environment... even after he popped his prescribed Ritalin pills.

He liked to run, play sports, and be around people. Put this kid on a soccer field and thriving was his only option.

What was my friend missing in the classroom that he was getting on the soccer field? He was missing out on the fun and excitement of working with others and having room to play. In today's educational world, technology is that soccer field.

50 years ago...
You read a textbook about planting basil that someone wrote. You may have a few black and white pictures of the process and contacting the author was totally impossible. So, you go home and put that basil seed or plant in the ground as best you can, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

You search "How to plant basil" and WATCH someone plant basil from start to finish. Beyond that, if you have a question or want to tell the creator of the video how helpful they were, just scroll down and type away. Within minutes, the expert who made the video replies back with their comments.

The constraints of a monotone homeroom teacher are destroyed while the creative and beautiful teachings of an educator in the UK are now right at your fingertips.

All of this is well and good, but the INSANE power comes when students feel empowered to create. The same kid who searched "How to plant basil" improves upon what he learned on YouTube and decides he wants to make his own video. This reinforces the subject matter more effectively and efficiently than memorizing the steps to planting basil and regurgitating it on a test while increasing his chances of retaining the information.
In light of the information age and the technology revolution in the 21st century, do you think today's educational climate should take more of a role in cultivating the creativity of students? 
Please, feel free to contact Josh and link up to Josh's bio:
Twitter at @joshistall:


  1. "students feel empowered to create"

    What took us so long to recognize the value in empowering students? I taught English/Reading for 10 years in the middle school environment. My passion was igniting the students' passions. However, this idea of empowering students' creativity is still an emerging technique. We can't measure it, it's not equitable, we aren't equipped with the necessary technology to create environments that engage, inspire and fuel passion in students.

    I don't teach in a classroom anymore, but I work every day to help people feel inspired to create. We need more of this in the classrooms. By the time students graduate from high school, their passions are dormant and they have bought into the philosophy that they must be like everyone else. Feeling like a failure in a classroom is stifling. We need to celebrate the strengths of the students so we can create a culture of adults who are passionate, creative and driven to achieve - whether or not they thrive reading/studying books or on a soccer field!

    1. We need more people like you Chrissanne, individuals who do this: "work every day to help people feel inspired to create."

      Thanks for doing what you do!


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