Basic Skills and Creativity

There is a great deal of confusion in the education world in regard to creativity and basic skills. As an educator and parent, I agree 100% that our current system is numbing and disregards the value of many types of learners.

Education is far more than academics and should encompass all the dimensions of our humanity.

Unfortunately, as the lens is widened on the overall scope of education, we often lose our ability to appreciate the value of the basic skills that form the foundation.

I believe that the written word is the foundation to academic growth. Though video technology allows for people to gain knowledge without reading, it cannot replace the written word. Even this blog is based upon it.

It is through reading and writing that we can become students of countless teachers. Each book, blog, article, we read opens the world of the author.

Having grown up in poverty, books were my window to dreams, cultures, thoughts, and ideas that were never discussed in my home or community.

The English-speaking world is sadly allowing this door to be closed for 37-68% of our students. Too often we blame the students, explaining away their lack of reading skills as poor character, poor parenting, etc. Yet we know how to teach reading so that all students succeed. The scientific evidence is in place.

Teaching students the rules of English and words is not boring. It opens worlds. It doesn't need to mean rote memory work. Five-year-olds love to be presented with sample words and be guided to discovering the patterns. Not only are they learning to read, they are learning to analyze language. Children enjoy seeing how words are built from prefixes, roots, and suffixes. When we hand them the tools they become infinitely more creative with language when they are left alone swimming in a sea of words.

Basic reading, vocabulary, and writing skills are the tools which unlock creativity. Taught well, these skills are not boring but high energy explorations that inspire.