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    Eroding Kids' Creativity

    My daughter's pre-school visited a public school a few years ago and sat in on a kindergarten class. To supplement a book she read to the class, the teacher handed out poster-sized sheets of pre-printed pictures to small groups of children. The assignment was to color in the picture of a cow. As the children worked together, my daughter used a green crayon to color in the cow. Aghast, one of the kindergarteners said, "Cows aren't green, they're brown!" My daughter said, "They don't have to be brown. They can be green too!"

    How do adults erode creativity in children? Leslie Owen Wilson describes 7 ways that we impact creativity in On Killing Creativity in Children, including surveillance, evaluation, rewards, competition, control, restricting choice and pressured expectations. 

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    Reader Comments (6)

    this is very interesting. I don't teach or have young children at home, but I'm interested in this concept of hindering creativity in others. I will check out the resources you wrote about. thanks.

    10.25.2008 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

    Lisa, I love the idea of applying this beyond the realm of kids. We focus so much on building creativity but being careful not to tread on creativity is just as important.


    10.25.2008 | Registered Commentergypsy

    Great post! Some authors talk about this idea you mention in the post of yours this piece links to as encouragement vs. praise. One should comment on what notices such as descriptors, but not "I like it" per se or "what a nice house" when it might not be a house at all. The idea is to avoid having kids become "praise junkies" or dependent on your opinion to validate their work.

    That is a sad story about the color of the cow - I hope your daughter doesn't end up with that teacher!

    10.27.2008 | Unregistered CommenterLecia

    Lecia, So true... I might comment on the rich color palette, the level of detail, a new technique or ask questions. Sometimes I ask what they would title the piece, for an interesting perspective.


    10.29.2008 | Registered Commentergypsy

    I will read these books and share them w my fellow teachers

    11.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

    There's a song by Harry Chapin that illustrates this idea of eroding creativity in children. I often share this with my friends who are educators:


    01.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Patten

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