Monday, December 12, 2011

creativity and conformity

Here's something interesting to think about. We are all about nurturing creativity in (and out of) the classroom. We want to enhance the learning experience for each individual child, allowing each one to develop their abilities and potential in the way that's right for them.

And we want to do this in the context of the group, with respect for others, promoting responsibility, collaboration, and good citizenship.

THe first is apparently all about individuality, the second all about conformity. Intensely creative children tend to relish individuality, and tend to resist conformity. How do we do that dance where we support the individuality with understanding of the traits that highly creative children bring to the process, without sacrificing the needs of the community of which they are a part?

Read an interesting blog on the subject here.


  1. Group dynamics need not be about conformity. Each individual in a group may find a unique and useful role in the group.

    Think of a group as an orchestra. Each instrument has a unique part to play. Played alone, a single instrument may make music. When all instruments play their separate rolls together, they make a harmonious sound.

    Some groups are indeed about conformity, but other are about finding an individual's unique and important role to play.

  2. You are so right, Matt. And isn't there a certain amount of conformity in that, too? In order to function as a coherent whole, an orchestra must hold to certain commonly held standards. They have to keep tempo, follow the same score, respond to the same conductor, not branch off into improvisation (unless there is an agreement to do that). Conformity isn't always a bad thing. What's important is to dance the dance around finding enough common ground to allow collaborative opportunities and accepting divergence that brings new life into the process. Finding a home for a wildly creative - and therefore possibly disruptive - kid in there can both difficult and necessary - as well as ultimately rewarding and inspiring.

  3. There's another aspect of creativity that I think of - when you have an opportunity to be creative within some set of constraints that limits what the possibilities are of what you can do.

    Think for instance of the haiku format, which gives you only a limited number of structured syllables to work in, yet can be very creative; or other forms of poetry with a fixed meter; or even coming up with clever solutions to math or computer problems where you have to work with a limited set of symbols to work through a problem; or the challenge of creating a stage for a play when you have minimal materials to work from and overflowing imagination.