The Age of Creativity (3 of 3)

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Agency: Individual Expertise

Infrastructure is not enough. Creativity requires agency. Decades of behavior and educational research suggest that potential does not become agency without self-efficacy—the belief that the outcome is worth achieving (Bandura, 1999; 2001).The implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has illustrated the variance between the requirements of the Age of Creativity and the common practice of educational institutions.

By many accounts, the NCLB policy has impacted United States education with an atmosphere of regulation and dutiful compliance in order to receive affirmation or accreditation. This atmosphere of compliance is a problem in education. It trickles down from administrations through teachers and into the classrooms as adherence to a structure that is not fully owned. Students are conditioned to achieve only what is required. This negates the necessary use of self and redefinition of the rules in the competent implementation of creativity among teachers and students.

“Behavior Education” and “Character Education” have become code for simple behavior modification techniques that ignore the richness of more recent developments in human behavior research.

Classroom management now emphasizes direct social control with punishments even in elementary school. This ignores research suggesting that indirect social control through relationship building supports long-term, sustainable behavior. Worse the pattern of self-governance in response to fear of punishment diminishes the capacity of students from a young age to explore, make mistakes, and risk being wrong.

[This post is excerpted from the book Living, Learning, Leading in the Age of Creativity: Addressing Institutional Barriers to Individual and Community Development available Spring 2013 by]