Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Finding Your Creative Self
By Barbara Bray    August 16, 2009 -- 02:15 PM

I was brought up to think on my own; to color outside the lines; to be creative; and always ask "why" even if there is no answer to the question. I am curious why we are here; why the grass is green and the sky is blue; why being passionate about something makes you feel so good; why there are so many questions. I thank my mom for believing that each person is unique and can do whatever they want to do.

 I believe...
 I donít believe...
  • everyone is gifted.
  • everyone is smart in different ways.
  • each of us has talents that we may not use.
  • each day is a new day.
  • in loving yourself first.
  • you are never too old or too young to learn.
  • there is beauty everywhere. Look outside.
  • can give back.
  • everyone can be a teacher and a learner.
  • students can help design classroom rules and curriculum.
  • that you are destined for one career.
  • a teacher has to be the expert.
  • students need to sit in rows and be quiet.
  • in giving up.
  • in saying I canít.
  • in labeling students.
  • in standardized tests.
  • learning stops when school ends.
  • students have to sit in rows or be quiet.
I didnít like elementary school. If you know me, you may not believe that, yet I was actually very shy. I donít remember kindergarten except that I had problems coloring inside the lines. I didnít fit in. My mom made my clothes and finger curled my hair so I looked like Shirley Temple. She made me believe that I was beautiful, smart, and could do anything. Then when I went to school, reality hit. I wasnít that smart; at least that was because I didnít follow the rules. Some of the other kids made fun of my clothes and hair so I wanted to look like everyone else. Now I wish I stood up and stood out. According to some of the kids, I wasnít pretty. I couldnít believe that my parents would tell me things that werenít true. My teachers made me sit still, fold my hands, keep quiet, only go to the bathroom when they allowed it.

In third grade, I had a new teacher who didnít know that he was supposed to carry out certain rules. We did projects in groups. I remember creating a paper-machť map and doing plays. It was the first time I enjoyed school. Halfway through the school year, he was evaluated by the principal and the classroom changed. He made rules. We had to sit in rows. I couldnít believe this was happening. Learning was fun and now back to the same old ways. Fourth grade - sit in rows. Donít speak out. My parents were told that I wasnít very smart. They knew better.

Nothing changed for me until college. I was just living - following rules. Thinking I would lead a mediocre life and then I found my voice. I tried a little of everything and realized I could do just about anything I put my mind to. I just wonder if I could have found my voice earlier.

Categories: "Asking Why" "Curiosity" "Beliefs" "Creativity" "Barbara Bray"

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Comments: Add New Comments
By small Pam Lowe      August 17, 2009 -- 09:12 AM

How funny that I should read this post today when this morning I read the following quote from Steve Jobs on a teacher site. 

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things; they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."

- Steve Jobs

Reply to Pam Lowe

By Josh      August 18, 2009 -- 06:47 AM
Interesting post. You should take at look at this talk from Professor Guy Claxton on how to make schools more interesting and effective for children:

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