Wait! Wait! I Have an Idea!
Marcia Hirst and Dianne Cinkovich
Many of the most amazing books I have ever
read literally found
me, rather than me
finding them. Daniel Pink’s A Whole
New Mind is one of those books. It
appeared to me, on the shelf, at one of
my local bookstores. I will admit that
I am a person who judges a book by
its cover, and the cover of Pink’s book
immediately caught my attention.
Reading Pink’s book helped me
weave together the vague threads of
uneasiness that I had been sensing
about my students’ lack of creativity.
Dan Pink, Thomas Friedman, Jean-ine Ouellette, Sir Ken Robinson, and
many others have warned the world
about this problem: “The applied
creative thinking process can help
people identify challenges and problems, come up with new ideas and
solutions, and produce creative ways
of implementing those solutions.
These are among the most important
skills for competing in the global
‘new economy’ and for solving social
challenges” (Dahlberg, July 18, 2008).
Experts in the field prophesied this
lack of innovative thinking in students.
Pursuing the Problem
The next week, when I met for coffee with my colleague, Dianne, I was
carrying A Whole New Mind, and
she was carrying Thomas Friedman’s
The World Is Flat. We were having
the same ideas! Our conversation that
day began our search for information
about the vast topic of creativity and
our students’ futures. Since then,
we have continued to share our latest findings,
pursuit is in
our gut feeling that something is different about
our art students these days. It isn’t a
difference we can put our fingers on,
just the perception that something is
changing in the student population.
know what they “are supposed to do”
inhibits their ability to seek other
solutions. Students are uncomfortable thinking for themselves, running
with a hunch, or figuring it out.
Our students prefer the easily
attained. While we show more than
one sample of student and master
works when presenting a new assignment to students, many of them
Without authentic experiences,
the example or
our students have nothing to say
cant changes to
that has not already been stated.
make it their
own. They are
satisfied that they have done what
was expected of them. Not many stu-
dents consider solving the problem
any way other than the sample. They
see the example as their goal rather
than their inspiration.
We perceive a decline in students’
abilities to innovate, to invent, and to
create. Our observations include the
Students do not want to take risks.
Our students’ excessive need to
Our students lack authentic experience. Their heroes and subjects are
defined by their passive existence in
front of a television, at the helm of a
video game controller, or in front of a
computer screen. Viewing virtual and