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The Pioneer Mentality

Passing through the decorated hallways and observing the billboards that displayed students’ work, from articles to flyers and drawings, I stood before a certain piece of artwork completed by a third grader. The picture was not very neatly colored nor was it drawn with accuracy; the colors were spilling over the lines, yet something stopped me in that student’s drawing. She had written a sentence at the bottom of the paper that said, “This is god.”

Creativity is most evident in children’s play, learning, and interactions. Their imagination is unhindered by social or inner inhibitions and rules. Boys and girls create new fictional characters when playing with a doll or a toy. They turn real life people into superheroes, and make up new words with meanings as they become emergent readers and writers at a very young age. They explore the world around them and what’s more important than all of this, is that they have the will and courage to take risks and do new things.

With more graduates flying off to the job market each year, companies and institutions are raising the bar for their job applicants. In the old days, it would have been sufficient to carry a degree with your specialization. However, today the need for innovation and passion for one’s field of work or study is empirical for succeeding in the world of business and research.

Many scholars, such as Sir Ken Robinson, a renowned researcher in creativity and former professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001), are delving into the creative minds and experiences of some of the world’s renowned personalities. Almost all of them shared a story about their early years at school, where their creativity was emerging and presenting itself to educators. Some teachers encouraged the student toward developing his/her talent. Still, many others did not recognize that talent and considered it a sort of nuisance. As told by Sir Ken, Gillian Lynne, the famous Cats choreographer, was diagnosed for hyperactivity because she would not sit still in class. If it wasn’t for a certain intuitive psychologist, this girl’s love and talent for dance wouldn’t have presented itself to audiences worldwide and created amazing performances.

Today the mottoes in many schools are changing due to the work and interest rising for creativity. In the past, schools aimed for excellence; now many schools are urging students to be risk takers. Classes shifted from teacher-oriented to student-oriented. Teaching moments arise from the students responses and needs. Teaching strategies focus more on stimulating the imagination and problem-solving skills. The talents of children are being encouraged so that new generations emerge with a sense of individuality.

Though no schools today have a revolutionary curriculum that focus on dance rather than math, many schools are recognizing the importance of reaching out for the pioneer minds and characters of students not only for their grades and report cards.