Fishing for Ideas

How to encourage children to use ideas they have fished up?

Daily challenges and encounters with people who are supportive are vital ingredients when you go fishing for ideas. Yet many young children do not have problems with generating ideas if you provide them with the opportunity. But in order for children to continue to enjoy having ideas, huge changes in the way children are taught and treated later in life are necessary. Test like entrance exams to Oxford University requires thinking and a creative approach to the test questions.

Despite several changes in the way companies and organisations are encouraging people to develop their creative thinking skills, a similar approach cannot be seen in most educational settings. A common test to measure creativity is the Torrance test. But new tests are also being developed and James Cattrall, at CRoC,  found while developing o a test that elementary school children scored higher as compared to high school students. So maybe schools suck the creativity out of students over time.

Childcare settings, schools and families should:

  • Focus on ways to solve a problem – creative problem solving is a more valuable skill as compared to getting the right answer on a standardised test. Changing school systems are difficult and if the school uses rote memorization and standarised testing, teach your child how to solve these tasks and then focus on exploring other things.
  • Set up task that challenge children to think rather than imitate an answer, solutions, art or  craft items.
  • Teach children to look for positive, negative and interesting  aspects rather than accepting things or aggressively challenge ideas.
  • Imagine possible solutions.
  • Look for innovative, “wild and a bit crazy” ideas that you explore instead of following the normal pattern when you solve problems.
  • Explore ideas and solutions together with children. Children learn by thinkering by themselves, for example, if they are provided with the right technology. Yet being involved in the learning process is beneficial both for the child and the adult. Children are not little vessels that needs to be filed with knowledge, nor should they be completely left by themselves. Learning and growth occurs when children and adults explore the world together and mutually respect each others ideas and suggestions.

Developing a creative mindset is so much more than just fishing for ideas – it is a special way of approaching the world. A curious and imaginative way of living life!

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