Why kindergarteners need storytime

The Oregonian recently published an online op-ed column with the following headline: Kindergarten test results a ‘sobering snapshot’.

Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss wrote an article about the headline entitled, “A very scary headline about kindergarteners”. In her article, she asks two important questions – what could be sobering about these test results and what kind of tests are they giving to kindergarteners?

According to Strauss, in September 2013, every kindergarten student at a public school in Oregon was required to take a readiness exam in September 2013 to see how many letters, numbers, and sounds they knew.

There has been a push to turn kindergarten into the new “first grade”.

Researchers say Kindergarten is the New First Grade.

This focus on testing and accountability is problematic because children need to be given time to learn at their own speed. People, especially children learn in different ways. It is important for children to understand what they are learning and for them to want to learn. If they are not motivated about learning, they will not be able to succeed in school.

Tom Hobson, a preschool teacher and author in Seattle, Washington, calls the Common Core education standards, child abuse.

Hobson stresses an important point on his blog – whatever happened to storytime?

Stories are how people learn, especially young children.

For thousands of years, stories have been the primary method of teaching.

On November 13, 2009, at the Using Drama in Language Learning Workshop at SOAS, University of London, Mario Rinvolucri delivered a keynote presentation that stressed storytelling as the oldest language teaching technique.

Storytelling: The Oldest Language Teaching Technique

Storytime plays an important role in introducing children to books, which can help foster a desire to read. But more importantly, storytelling promotes creativity, a foundation for a successful future.

In previous blogs, I wrote about the important role that creativity plays in education and in the workplace.

I stressed in Tabletop roleplaying games such as D&D can help people prepare for their adventures in life:

Life is an adventure that requires creativity and imagination, both of which are important tools that help people become successful in life.

Storytelling promotes creativity and helps children develop critical thinking skills.

Without storytime, young children will be denied the opportunity to use their imagination to explore new ideas and opportunities.

Advertisements

Tabletop roleplaying games such as D&D can help people prepare for their adventures in life

Earlier this week, Ethan Gilsdorf, the author of the author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, wrote about the 14 life lessons he had learned from playing “Dungeons & Dragons”. According to him, the game taught him about purpose, imagination, and having a great adventure.

Life is an adventure that requires creativity and imagination, both of which are important tools that help people become successful in life.

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), as well as many other fantasy tabletop roleplaying games emphasize storytelling and collaboration. Like Gilsdorf explained, diversity plays an important role in games such as D&D because various races such as humans, dwarves, and elves need to learn to work together in order to succeed and survive on their adventures.

Previously, I stressed the importance of creativity in education as well as in the workplace.

I explained how interactive games and tabletop roleplaying games can be used as a teaching tool to promote storytelling and foster creativity and learning.

In addition, I wrote In Creativity in the workplace:

Creativity plays an important role in business or any organization as it helps generate new ideas and examine new opportunities. Creativity and innovation also allow organizations to be competitive and be able to adapt to unexpected changes.

I wrote in Interactive games and tabletop roleplaying games as a teaching tool, about several important lessons that can be learned by playing roleplaying games. I knew a science teacher who organized an after school club to teach his students how to play D&D. He believes that these games provide students with educational benefits and can change their lives. These games can be alternatives to less productive hobbies or activities, such as drugs, gangs, etc. I also wrote about an individual who believes D&D saved his life and kept him out of prison.

Roleplaying can motivate students and encourage them to want to learn. These games can teach them about vocabulary, math, public speaking, and teamwork. They are effective teaching tools because people engage in learning more when they are actively participating.

As I stressed earlier, roleplaying games encourage people to work together and learn from one another. Together, they make these imaginary worlds come to life. In these games, every individual plays an important role and without teamwork, these adventures cannot take place.

D&D and other forms of tabletop roleplaying games are about storytelling, which is an important form of media that teaches critical thinking skills and helps people improve their communications skills.

These games encourage creativity and give people a chance to learn by doing something fun. They give people a chance to see how they can create meaning in what they are learning.

Creativity and critical thinking are important skills that help people become successful on their adventures in life.

Creativity in the workplace

We need focus more on creativity in both professional and academic settings.

In Importance of creativity in education, I discussed why educators need to emphasize creativity in the classroom and how creativity plays an important role in business.

I stressed that creativity is about innovation.

Companies like Pixar are successful because they have an environment and culture that encourages creativity.

Ed Catmull (2008), president of Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, explains that creativity needs to be present at every level within the organization. Pixar is in a business where customers want to see something new, which means they have to take risks. That is why it is important for people to be able to see things from a different perspective and focus on creativity.

A creative environment also requires a peer culture where everyone is invested in helping each another produce their best work. According to Catmull (2008), one of the benefits is that people will learn from and inspire one another. But in order for this to happen, he stresses that everyone needs to have freedom to communicate with anyone.

Creativity sometimes is not recognized or even possible without support from others (Csikszentimihalyi, 1996).

Catmull (2008) stresses that people are more important than ideas. In addition, he suggests that people need to adopt the following perspective: everyone is learning and it is fun for everyone to learn together.

According to Richard Daft (2012), the author of Organizational Theory and Design, the companies often listed on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” all have strong employee development goals. He discusses how employee development, productivity, and innovation play an important role in the success of an organization. He suggests that employee development and innovation are critical because they help motivate employees, which has the potential to help employees become more productive.

Creativity plays an important role in business or any organization as it helps generate new ideas and examine new opportunities. Creativity and innovation also allow organizations to be competitive and be able to adapt to unexpected changes.

But in order for that to happen, people need to be critical thinkers and effective communicators.

In a nutshell, that is what media literacy is all about.

Media literacy education and training helps provide people with the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. It will encourage people to be creative.

_________________________________________________________________

References

Catmull, E. (2008). How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity. Harvard Business Review, September 2008 (Reprint R0809D). Retrieved from http://www.resourceful-humans.com/Documents/Catmull-CollectiveCreativity.pdf

Csikszentimihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Daft, R. (2012). Organizational Theory and Design. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Importance of creativity in education

“Creativity is the New Literacy”. That is what Chase Jarvis, a world-renowned photographer told the crowd at GeekWire Summit 2013.

Jarvis stressed that as a culture we need to value creativity. He also said that creativity could solve all of humanity’s fundamental problems.

It is crucial for us to have an education system that fosters creativity.

Creativity is not limited to just actors, artists, musicians, etc. It even plays an important role in business.

Like Jarvis said, “Whether you are building a business or an iPhone app, creativity is the thing that drives what we do.”

Creativity is the mental and social process used to generate ideas and concepts. In other words, creativity is about innovation.

Companies such as Google and Pixar are known for creativity and innovation and for their unique workplaces (Nhan, 2012).

Creativity sometimes is not recognized or even possible without support from others (Csikszentimihalyi, 1996).

This is another reason why educators need to encourage creativity.

Sir Ken Robinson has spoken twice at TED about how schools kill creativity. He explained that there are three major reasons:

First, they promote standardization and a narrow view of intelligence when human talents are diverse and personal. Second, they promote compliance when cultural progress and achievement depend on the cultivation of imagination and creativity. Third, they are linear and rigid when the course of each human life, including yours, is organic and largely unpredictable.

Many school districts across the country have been adopting the Common Core education standards, which is President Obama’s replacement for No Child Left Behind. The Common Core provides new national standards for core subjects such as reading, writing, and math.

Ashley Lauren Samsa believes that in many ways, the Common Core is a great thing for both teachers and students. She explains that with the focus no long being on content, educators can teach whatever they want in their classroom as long as students are taught to read, write, and think critically. However, she is concerned that with Common Core’s emphasis on nonfiction texts, technology, and career skills, teachers might forget about creativity.

The advocates of the Common Core standards say that we need Common Core otherwise students will not be prepared for college or a career

According to Diane Ravitch, there is no evidence that these standards will prepare students for careers because there is nothing in them that has any relationship to careers.

Ravitch stresses that schools across the nation are suffering from budget cuts. This means less time and resources for subjects like arts, physical education, and other subjects, which are crucial for a real education.

These programs are essential to promoting creativity.

As I stressed earlier, creativity is about innovation and plays an important role in business.

In a previous blog, I talked about how interactive games and tabletop roleplaying games can be used as a teaching tool to promote storytelling and foster creativity and learning. I mentioned how a school in Demark used roleplaying as a teaching method for all academic subjects.

I wrote in Interactive games and tabletop roleplaying games as a teaching tool:

Roleplaying and storytelling can be used to motivate students and encourage them to want to learn. These games are effective because students engage in learning more when they are actively participating and it is important to work with their interests.

The constructivist learning theory is the best way to encourage creativity in the classroom. According to Gabler and Schroeder (2002), the theory is about providing students with ways to connect what they learn in the classroom to the real world; it focuses on how students can create meaning in what they are learning.

Every student has a different style of learning but an effective strategy to motivate all students is to focus on how students can create meaning in what they are learning. By incorporating the constructivist learning theory into the curriculum, educators can help students learn beyond the classroom experience and encourage creativity.

In Journalism is not dead, importance of storytelling, I discuss the importance of media literacy and how a journalism education teaches people how to become better storytellers. I stressed that we need to emphasize the importance of journalism and photography as forms of storytelling.

Teachers need to make sure that their classrooms emphasize creativity and critical thinking skills.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

References

Csikszentimihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Gabler, I.C. and Schroeder, M. (2002). Constructivist Methods for the Secondary Classroom. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Manders, D. (2013, September 16). “Creativity is the New Literacy” – Chase Jarvis Stirs up the Crowd at GeekWire Summit 2013. Flip the Media. Retrieved from http://flipthemedia.com/2013/09/creativity-is-the-new-literacy-chase-jarvis-stirs-up-the-crowd-at-geekwire-summit-2013/

Nhan, D. (2012, March 6). How a creative work environment encourages more risk – and more rewards. SmartBlogs. Retrieved from http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2012/03/06/how-a-creative-work-environment-encourages-more-risk-and-more-rewards/

Ravitch, D. (2013, August 24). The Biggest Fallacy of Common Core Standards: No Evidence [Blog] Retrieved from http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/24/the-biggest-fallacy-of-the-common-core-standards-no-evidence/

Robinson, K. (2012, December 7). Do Schools Kill Creativity. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sir-ken-robinson/do-schools-kill-creativity_b_2252942.html

Samsa, A.L. (2013, September 3). I Welcome Common Core education standards, but let’s not forget creativity. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/03/common-core-national-education-standards