In this video, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. He argues that creativity is as important in education now as literacy. He discusses the lack of variety of opportunities for students to be creative in the way we educate them.

Mathematics is valued more for its role on developing critical thinking than creative thinking. This perception is created by the way mathematics content is organized in the curriculum and the way it is assessed and taught in schools (And sometimes because of the emphasis on the computational procedures of mathematics and rote learning we fail as well to develop critical thinking). This is a challenge to mathematics teaching. We know that intelligence is diverse and dynamic. Children come to us with natural capacity for imagination, for creativity. How can we nurture this creativity in our mathematics classes? or at least prevent math from killing creativity of our learners?

My partner, Bon (a former math teacher), and I were just yesterday discussing how rigid and structured math classes are. The curricula is very cold, algorithmic, and rigid in the “this is how you’re ‘supposed’ to do it” sense. I wonder if this could be attributed to a lack of comfort on the teachers part regarding the material? What do we do if we’re intimidated or unfamiliar with the recipe? We follow it step by step and avoid any kind of deviation for fear of messing it up. Perhaps an argument for creative math training for instructors.

Great post!

Actually, Wil’s partner (me) is a current math teacher – I’ve picked up two dev math classes this semester at a community college. Woohoo!

I like the idea of creative math training for instructors. I have the math teaching techniques class (approved for continuing ed credits for teachers in Texas) which leans that way.

And I agree with the “oh, man, I’m not sure how this works, so I’m not going to deviate one bit.” That’s the way many people cook too.

I agree. Hear! Hear!