Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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In The Creative Spirit (Plume, 1993), a book based on a PBS series on creativity, authors Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray point out these common ways adults discourage creativity in children:

1. Surveillance — Hovering over kids, making them feel that they're constantly being watched while they are working . . . under constant observation, the risk-taking, creative urge goes underground and hides.

2. Evaluation — When we constantly make kids worry about how they are doing, they ignore satisfaction with their accomplishments.

3. Rewards — The excessive use of prizes . . . deprives a child of the in trinsic pleasure of creative activity.

4. Competition — Putting kids in a win-lose situation, where only one person can come out on top . . . negates the process [that] children progress at their own rates.

5. Over-control — Constantly telling kid how to do things . . . often leaves children feeling like their originality is a mistake and any exploration a waste of time.

6. Restricting choice — Telling children which activities they should engage in instead of letting them follow where their curiosity and passion lead . . . again restricts active exploration and experimentation that might lead to creative discovery and production.

7. Pressure — Establishing grandiose expectations for a child's performance . . . often ends up instilling aversion for a subject or activity. . . . Unreasonably high expectations often pressure children to perform and conform within strictly prescribed guidelines, and, again, deter experimentation, exploration, and innovation. Grandiose expectations are often beyond children's developmental capabilities.

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