Creativity and the Brain-Reflection # 3

Dec 5, 2016 by

I spent time recently in South Africa attending a colloquium entitled, “Why the Brain Matters”.  There were twelve of us invited to discuss the brain, neuroscience, and learning specifically regarding creativity.  The participants include neuroscientists, artists, authors, and… well, me.  I am an educator concerned with how the brain works, how it impacts education, and how we can better teach children using principles of the brain.  As a special educator, specifically, I am always interested in how we can meet the needs of learners who learn differently.   During the two weeks in Johannesburg, we met every morning to hear one person’s presentation and then we discussed the content critically and the creative process- how it can be fostered, what the science says so far, and how we can better understand differences in individuals.  We had colleagues from Uganda, Barbados, Holland, Nepal, Iran, Israel, Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan, and others so it was a very diverse group.  I will be sharing some of my musings from these fascinating talks the next three weeks.  This is my third reflection. See Reflection # 1 and Reflection # 2 here.

The third takeaway is that perhaps creativity is not that unique at all.  The majority of people do not allow for the time and “emptiness” our mind needs to create.  Since research shows that people cannot define creativity but agree when they see it, it becomes clear that creativity cannot be studied or analyzed in a traditional scientific method.  Creativity may be too simple to define- perhaps creativity is only the manifestation of thoughts, actions, and products that are not traditional.  Creativity may present itself in painting, novels, or music.  It may also present itself in a new way of teaching, a new computer program, or the applying scientific principles to solve a new problem.  The critical component is to allow individuals the freedom and the time to activate the mid-line structures while also teaching and celebrating the discipline and the persistence it takes to develop the product of those initial creative thoughts.  This is a valuable lesson for teachers and parents to consider as we raise children in hopes that they will continue to be creative.

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  1. Mary Ann Keiser

    Very interesting. Thank you for sharing!

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