“I find that because of modern technological evolution and our global economy, and as a result of the great increase in population, our world has greatly changed: it has become much smaller. However, our perceptions have not evolved at the same pace; we continue to cling to old national demarcations and the old feelings of ‘us’ and ‘them’.” – Dalai Lama
“There is not such thing as a small town anymore, ” my husband said as I sipped on my Starbucks coffee with milk while grading my 75th paper on the long car ride to our home town in North Augusta, SC. “Your wrong. We are going to a town with one high school where everyone knows your name, and if you went to church last Sunday,” I argued back. My husband went on to highlight specific experiences that we had in North Augusta that would never happen now without the world knowing about them. The only way to survive in a small town is with D-R-A-M-A, and he thinks our town would be the talk of US if not the world.
Basically, what he was getting at is the bubble has popped, and no matter how far off the beaten path you drive to get to your quaint home town, experiences and life can still go viral. The internet has changed each one of our lives personally. Nothing great is ever left off of YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. The list of social media networks goes on and on, but why should events, ideas, and beliefs be left inside of small towns and the corners of our minds? Man was meant to be relational.
So now, the question I pose to you is how do we prepare our children for a world that could be and will be drastically different from the one we are living in today? We are already embedded with the knowledge that we can easily access and share information and ideas with the world. Why don’t we embrace thinking outside of our small towns and even smaller classrooms. Embrace sharing with the world.
Problem solving and creativity is one of the first steps for your students. We should allow our students to begin thinking for themselves to solve problems they face. This partnered with an acceptable set of expectations (code of conduct), could teach them more in a year that we ever could.
Questions are never a bad thing. One of my students had a question that the four corners of our text book could not solve, so what did he ask to do? Look it up on the internet! Kids are wired to use the internet as a resource, and as long as they know how to do this appropriately, why not! He not only thought of a valuable question, but he also problem solved how he could find out the solution to his question on his own. Isn’t this the same thing we want our world leaders to be doing?
Allow your students to problem solve in your room. Don’t do everything for them and listen to their thoughts and ideas. We could have the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs in our classrooms, and if we stifle their creativity now we may not get the product that will replace iPhones! Problem Solving + Creativity gives a chance to think about the world around them, solve problems, and create materials to showcase or solve those problems.
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