The Global Achievement Gap « MythGinger

Tony Wagner has written a thought-provoking book on the state of education – something that concerns any parent and employer. How do we shift from an industrial model to one that produces the creativity and innovation our current economy requires? This is a major shift that is required by all academic institutions in order to compete in today’s global marketplace. The primary focus is on ‘one student at a time accountability’ as opposed to ‘test-score accountability’. Maximizing the potential of each and every student. Wagner emphasizes that learning and citizenship in the twenty-first century demands that each student knows how to think – to reason, analyze, weigh evidence and problem solve and to communicate effectively. “These are no longer skills that only the elites in a society must master; they are essential survival skills for all of us.”

A direct attack on ‘teaching to the tests’, Wagner pushes for a new attitude in education. A welcome breath of fresh air in academe. If you care about teaching or how your children are taught, this book is required reading.

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need–and What We Can Do About It

via The Global Achievement Gap « MythGinger.

Develop your Creative Thinking Skills

Sign up for a two-day interactive training in Creative Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Using a holistic training approach based on principles of accelerated learning, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and neuroscience, this training will boost your ability to:

  • Think creatively, think outside the box
  • Address complex problems with original and effective solutions
  • Develop innovative programs, services, or products
  • Increase your ability to see possibilities instead of obstacles, and
  • Become a catalyst of change

Who is this for? Everyone will benefit from improving their creative thinking abilities! Past participants have been community leaders, managers, executive directors, artists, writers, teachers, front-line workers, counsellors, designers, parents, entrepreneurs and many more.

Creative thinking is a powerful skill that you will use in your personal and professional life.

What others have said:

“This was an outstanding workshop. I really enjoyed it and learned from it. I feel the content was presented in different ways, and all of them were easily accessible for me to grasp.”

“Since the workshop, I have had a persistent gut feeling that it has opened up ways for me to think and be.”

“I feel the fact that Ginny was facilitating made the environment feel safe and comfortable. “

“It was awesome! I really thought the experience was special and a gift.”

“Your passion of the material really comes through – it’s so great!”

“The wisdom circle stands out as a huge piece that I will use in my life.“

If you would like to be added to a mailing list to hear about future training opportunities please fill-in the form below.

The Blue School is a spearheading educational change to focus on teaching creative thinking skills to the next generation.

What's Next

Blue School is on The Next List because it’s an institution championing creativity and curiosity by bringing together the best minds to encourage educational reform. In the process it’s celebrating the famous adage “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Blue School’s founders, Matt Goldman, Chris Wink, and Phil Stanton are best known for originating the world-renowned, Blue Man Group. They say the motivation to open Blue School came from the dissatisfaction with their own educational environment.

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“It’s gonna take a level of creative thinking that education maybe hasn’t done the best job at in the past,” says co-founder Phil Stanton.

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Group flow: How teamwork can foster creativity, by R. Keith Sawyer

Indeed, group flow is important for all of us, because so many of our personal and professional activities are spent in groups, and we all want these groups to be more effective and more fun—whether they’re a sports team, a business meeting, a non-profit board, a PTA, or a boy scout troop. Decades of scientific research have revealed that great creativity almost always springs from collaboration, conversation, and social networks—challenging our mythical image of the isolated genius. And research shows that when a group is in flow, it’s more likely to resolve problems with surprising and creative solutions.

Read More: DailyGood: Group flow: How teamwork can foster creativity, by R. Keith Sawyer.

Insights from Neuroscience

I recently read an article on the Neuroscience of Leadership by Dr. D. Rock and Dr. J. Schwartz  which gave me a better understanding of what is going on in the brain when people are either going through a process of change or learning something new. That article, combined with some of my own beliefs and knowledge of emotional intelligence led me to the following insights:

1.  Change is stressful and painful. When something is new or different from what a person is used to, long-standing habits need to be broken. This requires a significant amount of effort on the part of the pre-frontal cortex. This sustained effort actually causes physiological discomfort. The result: People tend to avoid change.

2.  We know that efforts to make change stick by creating incentives and threats rarely works in the long term. Neither does persuasion. People need to be intrinsically motivated and emotionally on board. This is why change is most likely to take root when it originates from the bottom up. People don’t learn by being told what to think. What is most interesting to me is that when people come to their own conclusions the brain fires adrenaline-like energy that can then lead to long-lasting change of perspective, a new learning, a new belief.

3.  Temporary or unfocused exposure to new information does not create new brain circuits. For identity, behaviours and beliefs to change, there needs to be sustained mental attention paid to a particular mental experience over a period of time. The brain changes based on what a person focuses on and for how long.

4.  Expectation shapes reality. If you are familiar with the placebo effect you already know this. What you unconsciously believe is extremely powerful. The stories you were raised with, the beliefs about yourself and the people around you shape you expectations. And your expectations create your road map.

So what does this mean for change makers?

Supporting people to come to their own conclusions and insights is not only respectful of their autonomy and intelligence but actually accelerates the creation of new neural pathways.

Focus members of the organization on thinking in terms of questions that frame the issue and lead them to come up with their own solutions. Don’t focus on the problem itself or they will only see obstacles to change. Focus on the central question, which if answered creatively, will lead to a solution.

Once people are having their own insights on the issue, keep their mental energy focused on those insights.

Holistic Creativity and Innovation

The word innovation has become quite a buzz word, but what does it really mean?

I see innovation as what results from creativity. It might be in the form of a new invention, a new approach to a problem or a need, a new program or service that is useful and original.

Creativity, on the other hand, is an innate human ability which can either flourish or be squelched depending on the circumstances. When circumstances are right creativity can yield amazing results. So what are the right circumstances?  The right circumstances, I believe, are those that encourage and nourish creativity.

What is most important is that you do not need a creative genius in the room to deliver innovation. A group’s or individual’s creativity can be unleashed  by enhancing people’s abilities to think and act creatively, by fostering the right environment in which creativity can flourish unhindered, and by deliberately engaging in a creative process.

What this means is that our creativity allows us all to be visionaries, problem-solvers, innovators, and change catalysts.

A holistic approach to unleashing people’s creativity is one that enhances people’s thinking skills as well as their emotional readiness to engage in creative thinking and bring about change, one that balances logic and intuition, and one that fosters emotional and social intelligence.

Creativity and Change

We have all had the experience of adapting to one change after another, sometimes willingly and other times against our wishes. But what if we all had the ability to deliberately bring about the change we wished for?

Creativity is just that…the ability to see possibilities and bring about change.

We are all creative to some extent, but we don’t all nurture and make use of our ability to think and act creatively.  Creativity requires that we do things differently, that we leave behind our habits and try something new. Creativity and innovation require the right type of thinking at the right time, coupled with courage, imagination and motivation.

Creating change is hard work, but it can also be fun!