Author Talk Reflections

Watching the TED talks videos on creativity, and reading the articles by Dean Keith Simonton and Jonah Lehrer made me think about where I find creativity in my life, not just my writing. After reading these articles and watching the videos, it’s easy to see how creativity doesn’t just fall into the aspect of writing, even though many people would view it that way. Language and creativity do go hand in hand, but there are many things that can be considered “language.” For example, I have a friend who is amazing at math and can read a word problem and automatically get the answer. To me, that is creative, because when I look at math I don’t see anything. I get tense and confused and frustrated. It takes a strong type of mind to do that, and all people who are creative are strong individuals with a strong mind. This can go to a question of: Are all people creative? YES. I believe that every single person is creative in their own way, whether they realize it or not. The mind can’t function without any type of creativity. Daydreaming is a form of creativity in its own right.

In Lehrer’s introduction, he states that “the hardest work always comes after, when you’re trying to make the idea real.” (Lehrer, 1) This goes for everything: science, math, history, writing, art. Making an idea real, and making it for someone to see is extremely hard. The person has to believe in themselves and what they’re doing. This is huge for a classroom. The teacher has to make the work real and imaginative for the student in order for him or her to learn, and in turn, the student has to believe that he or she can learn, regardless of the subject matter. Amy Tan, in her TED Talk, stated that “creativity is everywhere and uncertainty is in everything.” This is absolutely true. Take art for example. Obviously, Van Gough, Monet, or Manet had creativity but in the beauty of their art, if you look deep enough, you can see the uncertainty. The beauty of their work shows the uncertainty that they may have felt while painting.

Simonton stated that “creativity is certainly among the most important and pervasive of all human activities.” (Simonton, 151). He goes on to explain the psychology of creativity and how teacher just expect students to show their creativity. I don’t think teachers should expect this at all. If a child is uncertain in him or herself, there is no way that any type of creativity will show through in their work. It is our job, as educators, to foster the creativity of our students. Just like it’s important for our students to know that we as teachers have some fears (writing for some), it’s important for them to see and understand how a person can become creative when they don’t think they are. If we expect our students to be a certain way, then we are setting our own expectations of our student’s way too high.

One thing I will remember from listening to Amy Tan is what a man who was piling stones in China said to her: “With everything in life there is a place of balance.” I think it’s up to us to find this balance and share it with our students.

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