Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Are you blocking creativity?
By Barbara Bray    January 29, 2010 -- 08:45 AM

After reading Brian Clark's post "Do you recognize these 10 mental blocks to creative thinking?", I get it why it takes so long to change education. Clark wrote:

People like to call this “thinking outside of the box,” which is the wrong way to look at it. Just like Neo needed to understand that “there is no spoon” in the film The Matrix, you need to realize “there is no box” to step outside of.

You create your own imaginary boxes simply by living life and accepting certain things as “real” when they are just as illusory as the beliefs of a paranoid delusional. The difference is, enough people agree that certain man-made concepts are “real,” so you’re viewed as “normal.” This is good for society overall, but it’s that sort of unquestioning consensus that inhibits your natural creative abilities.

I had an imaginary box and told people to "think outside of the box." Then recently I started telling everyone to throw away the box. I like what he states as that we created these imaginary boxes. As teachers we only know what we were taught. Were we taught...

  1. Flickr Image by Giuseppe Bognanni
    that there is one right answer?
  2. to think logically?
  3. to follow rules?
  4. be practical?
  5. that play is not work?
  6. to only do your job?
  7. be a "serious" person?
  8. to avoid ambiguity?
  9. that being wrong is bad?
  10. that you are not creative?
I'd like to add a few more mental blocks I see teachers have:
  • to only teach what we were taught
  • to follow the prescribed curriculum
  • to not fail or take risks
At Educon in Philadelphia today, Linda Nitsche asks her participants to
  • Take your "brick" and build a “wall” out of the bricks with barriers all on one side of the wall and bridges on the other side.
  • Briefly share the identified barriers and bridges.
What are your mental blocks? What are your bricks and bridges?

Categories: "Creativity" "Bricks" "Bridges" "Blocks" "Box"

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