While I have been slumbering, figuring out what to say/do with this blog, someone “liked it’ this morning: rereading it, it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. I am job hunting, and that has taken over most of my concentration. Today I have two interviews, both for Director/Manager of Education position in arts administration. This post already has helped clear some of the cobwebs I’ve laid in my own way. Thanks for the like, Isurrett2.


One of the most disturbing things that I have heard  from a student was:

“Why should I try? I’ll only be working at McDonald’s.”

I was an Artist-in-Residence for a year for a large school district in Westchester County, NY. Still early in my profession, that statement was both a shock and a revelation of a point of view I had never considered before: low expectations given, and projected; leading this student to live  that that is all they can do. The young lady who said that to me was in a ninth grade repeat class. Most of them, I was told much later, were on their THIRD repeat of ninth grade.

Yes: she was a third timer.

It was not that working at McDonald’s is such a negative job, but the expectation of that is all she could expect in life is. There are jobs that many would never…

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Why Creativity?

Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one’s face. ~James D. Finley

Creativity takes courage. ~Henri Matisse

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! ~Dr. Seuss

I live a creative life. I don’t think – no, I know – I would not be happy living any other way. I do not think in a linear way and I am not the most pragmatic of people. I have my anal/stubborn periods that keep me fixed and inflexible. I do try to work on that. It is not an easy lifestyle due to the fact that there is not always a lot of money in it. That makes it hard especially for people who are very concerned with security and providing for their families. Still, it is my feeling, and my opinion, that living a creative life is a great way to live.

Not everyone embraces this way of thinking. Many have trouble wrapping their heads around the concept of living a creative existence. That’s all fine and good, but why do they have to put judgment blocks and hamper the creative process? Albert Einstein, one of my favorite people to quote as you well know, said “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.”

A number of corporations and businesses get locked down into the numbers game. Schools,  supposedly a hotbed for critical and creative thinking, or often anything but that. Too many school systems are playing the numbers game as well, although this has nothing to do with income but staying the course and remaining open. It has little to do, and very little regard, in what students are actually learning.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be having some guest posts from people with various areas of education and business. They will be discussing what creativity is for them, and why creativity is important. To be fair, I would also like to find people with the opposing view. I really want to see both sides of the picture. What works for me does not always work for another. I understand that. What I’d like to try to do is put myself into other persons shoes.

I just hope that they would like to try my shoes on.

Photo by Ian Crowfeather

Have you tried to look through someone else’s POV?

What Constitutes Education?

“Our large schools)..are organized like a factory of the late 19th C : top down, command control management, a system designed to stifle creativity and independent judgment.” David T Kearns CEO Xerox

‘The guiding principle being put forward is that schools must be self directing.’ John Goodland

‘It is, in fact, little short of a miracle that the modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.’

Albert Einstein

Alternative Education Resource Organization

K-12 Academics: Alternative Education

I do not believe education happens in just a school setting. If we are open to new things and explore what is around us, there is a lot of real education available. There is a whole wide world at our fingertips now. what we learn from it, what we take from it, is up to us. Or just you. YOU need to find what is out there.

We mainly think in terms of our children in education (unless you are into Continuing Ed classes or going back, like I did, for your Masters/PhD later in life).  If you are not seeking out “formal” paths of paper certified education, don’t think you still can’t, or worse, don’t, have more to learn. Opening yourself to lifelong learning is, to me, a very important part of life.

‘Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the life-long attempt to acquire it.’

Albert Einstein

I’m now involved in the planning committees of TWO proposed Performing Arts Charter Schools. My work in curriculum development is being utilized here, making arts integration  the main foundations of the schools. Yes, I want separate arts disciplines to thrive on their own, but the guidelines and rules of these Charter schools get in the way. Yes…the states mandates still get in the way.

If you’ve noticed, I have been somewhat quiet about educational subjects lately. Personally, it has been a frustrating period, and I have been trying to wrap my head around the restrictions imposed the two projects. If you look at the second link above, you’ll find a slew of alternative ideas out there. I am doing more research, so more on new(ish) ideas and thoughts to come.

The Bosch painting that heads this is how I see what is going on. My interpretation: we are fractured in our murky confinement. Boxed in, and boxed in again. Encased, closed off, separated, and just uneasily floating in a bubble that is waiting to burst.

What Constitutes Education?

In no particular order, MY answers to this are as follows (but, really, are not closed: I’m always open to a new idea, or simply one I forgot):

  • Inquiry Based Learning
  • Peer to Peer Mentoring
  • Freedom for Failure (learning from the “mistake”, not making it a negative)
  • Open ended process at times, to allow interpretations (doesn’t always work in Math & Science, but…)
  • Feeling safe in stating/putting out your ideas
  • Dialogue & exchange of ideas (see above)
  • Exploration of the world around us (parks, museums, historical sites, using the  internet properly, etc)
  •  LISTENING and focus
  • Not settling for mediocrity,
  • Not rewarding for least effort/what was required; only for going beyond what was expected
  • Drop all the PC garbage, which creates this new fear & loathing, and really teach the history behind something, to…
  • Allow ourselves the freedom to think, create and critique for ourselves.

What Constitutes Education For You?

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