Mikaela Rabizadeh media editor
Middle school was a playground for my growing mind: the perfect bridge between creative exploration and academic demand. We had just outgrown the weekly arts and crafts that were commonplace in elementary school. Suddenly, words like “annotations,” “critical thinking,” “analysis” and “figurative language” were being thrown around. Still, we made time for creative writing and journaling. We became poets, channeling our feelings into stanzas. We raided Michael’s to make our life-sized model atom from outrageous materials (I personally used a tweed ball as my nucleus). Come high school, however, our air-tight curriculum became a box to student creativity.
It seems that if a student isn’t involved in an elective or have an artistic passion, they are missing a part of their high school education that is essential to growth. They are missing the outlet to think colorfully and inventively, as assignments grow more and more straightforward and logic-based.
In my four years of high school, rarely did we write our own poems and short stories in class. As we fell deeper into a pit of analytical essays, we fail to explore our own voice in writing. We spend so much time praising Shakespeare for his use of rhetoric and wit, but when do we finally get to employ these techniques in our own creative piece?
Now a senior, I look back time in high school and think: When did school become so gray? Creativity should be infused into our academic curriculum. If we want to grow into the next generation of innovators, students need to begin to feel comfortable experimenting and growing into their own stylistically, regardless of the career field they would like to pursue.
The required Common Core standards may have sowed the seeds of diminishing classroom creativity. The standards were implemented as a benchmark for conformity, essentially becoming a barrier to creative lessons. Although the standards arguably made it harder for teachers to incorporate more colorful lessons, they certainly did not make it impossible.
I’m not suggesting we retreat to finger-painting and watercolors, but I encourage that we make time for creative thinking in class. Let’s do away with the academic box that students are put into. With the technology at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to rediscover our creativity.