An interesting post at ScienceBlogs by author and writer Jonah Lehrer takes a look at the dynamics of creative kids in the classroom: “Everybody wants a creative child – in theory. The reality of creativity, however, is a little more complicated, as creative thoughts tend to emerge when we’re distracted, daydreaming, disinhibited and not following the rules. In other words, the most imaginative kids are often the trouble-makers.”
Ah, yes, how many creative children ended up in the ranks of the homeschooled because, as Lehrer explains about daydreaming, “It’s hard to imagine a cognitive process that’s less suitable for the classroom, which is why I was always castigated for staring out the window instead of looking at the blackboard. In a culture obsessed with efficiency, daydreaming is derided as a lazy habit or a lack of discipline, the kind of thinking we rely on when we don’t really want to think. It’s a sign of procrastination, not productivity.”
And yet, daydreaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing: “In recent years, however, it’s become clear that daydreaming is actually an important element of the creative process, allowing the brain to remix ideas, explore counterfactuals and turn the spotlight of attention inwards. (That’s why increased daydreaming correlates with measures of creativity.)”
It might also explain why many homeschooled kids, once released from the confines and controls of the classroom, suddenly blossom into learners. Lehrer’s article is worth a read, and the comments are long and interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking.