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Creativity/educere for children

November 26, 2008

A few thoughts/writing on this matter from another course….. 

 Hi xxxx

I know elsewhere you have commented that Dewey (1916) was writing in a different era, and his thoughts may have been for a different generation that this one), but I think that his observations help to answer the question(s) you have posed:

“And where children are engaged in doing things and in discussing what arises in the course of their doing, it is found, even with comparatively indifferent modes of instruction, that children’s inquiries are spontaneous and numerous, and the proposals of solution advanced, varied, and ingenious” (Dewey, 1916, ch. 12).

The above statement was made in the context of raising the observation that students have many questions outside of school, but little interest in the subject matters dealt with in school.  And the quote suggests that engagement leads to solutions that are creative, to summarize the descriptors at the end of it. 

The argument could thus be made that interest progresses to engagement which yields creativity. 

 I ->  E = C  (the limit of I, as I approaches E, is C.  Can calculus be used here?)

My suggestion would be that the creativity still exists in the learner/child/adult, but is exercised elsewhere, not in the educational forum, if writers such as Dewey (1916), Laverty (2006) and orators such as Sir Ken (2006) are right.

This is a well known common-lore item in some workplaces I have been in.  ‘Park your brain at the door” is sometimes the advice given to new employees, who are better off conforming that creating.

Thus my short answer to your question(s), albeit arrived at in a somewhat circuitous route, is ‘you get what you ask for’, and if you educate for answers, you get those (some of the time).  I also feel that if that is the primary focus of education, then creativity will be put on the sidelines, without much room for it, as you have suggested.



Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. Retrieved February 23, 2008 from

Laverty, M. (2006). Philosophy of education: Overcoming the theory-practice divide. International Journal in Philosophy of Education, 15(1). pp. 31-44. Retrived January 23, 2008 from Paideusis – International Journal in Philosophy of Education

Robinson, K. (2006). Do schools kill creativity. TED Conference speaker. retrieved February 23, 2008 from


Thanks xxxx.  One of our classmates (I think it was xxxx) drew our attention to this video a couple of courses ago.  I had forgotten about it, and watching it now I see it in a different light.  At the 5:50 mark Sir Ken makes the statement: “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”.  This statement is made in the context of a discussion about how children are more willing to take a chance than adults, which to me parallels what xxxx was saying in another post about children being more willing that adults to ask for help, in part due to the fear of looking inadequate.  (Children have less fear than adults.  hmmm……)

Sir Ken asserts that we educate the creativity out of children as they become adults.  I’m not sure I agree with him, but my disagreement may be just a matter of degree or semantics.  I feel that education has a tendency to limit the opportunities for creativity to appear, thus my thought that the role of a facilitator should be the reverse given the importance I put on the creative function of human intelligence; in my metaphysics creativity is at the centre.  I don’t think creativity disappears through our current educational methods; it is just repressed and/or undervalued.  The discussion of educere and educare in the reference in my above post shows this distinction for me, and it does seem to parallel some of Sir Ken’s ideas.

I don’t feel that creativity is restricted to the arts, as Sir Ken seems to imply.  I think creativity is in every subject matter, and the role of a facilitator is to encourage it to be drawn out from the learners.  But maybe I just don’t understand him fully.

Great video, and thanks for bringing this back into the discussion.


“The child of three who discovers what can be done with blocks….is really a discoverer, even though everyone else in the world knows it” (Dewey, 1916, ch.12).

I think that another starting point for my philosophy of (online) learning facilitation is in the root concepts in the word education. Bass and Good (2004) offer an explanation of these concepts, one which I feel is insightful in determining a philosophy. They explain the roots as including the latin verbs educare and educere, and distinguish between the two concepts. 

Educare means to train or to mold, and educere means to lead out.  The one view calls for “…rote memorization and becoming good workers.  The other requires questioning, thinking and creating” (Bass & Good, 2004, p.162).  The authors make the argument that a balance between these two extremes in continuum is required, but that at present educere is in short supply.

I like to work from an expanded view of the definition of educere.  I feel that not only should facilitation be employed to ‘lead out’ (from ignorance, as the term implies) the learner, but to ‘draw out’ the creative thinking power that I believe each individual possesses.  In this manner, my facilitative philosophy is more bottom-up that top-down, more learner-centric than teacher-centric.  The facilitative goal then is to effect the drawing out of the learners’ own skills, abilities and intelligences. 

A SWODLed strategy will help to achieve this goal.  


Bass, R.V. & Good, J.W. (2004). Educare and educere: is a balance possible in the educational system?  The Educational Forum. 68(2) p.161-168.   retrieved February 22, 2008 from


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One Comment
  1. Hi Ken thanks for popping by to comment in support of post re Joseph Campbell. My net’s been down 2 nights, but I’m in now-all in the course of online participation… I’ve not come across the distinctions between educare and educere and even when looking them up online, I’ve found your own description to be the most thorough.

    In reading about educere I was struck immediately how although a guide might lead another, they would ideally lead that being into a place of self leadership (self responsibility?) ultimately to self understanding and independence. From such a place any being might tackle any subject or situation and find the capacity or resources necessary to act. Drawing out what is within, the guide must be quite self aware I think? That feels good to me, ditto re creativity being at the centre and contained within all subjects. Creativity is an attitude as is critical thought and self awareness-they can lead to a more habitual beingness after practice and application.

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