In My View: Are We Shortchanging Our Students?

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Adams State University]On: 16 October 2014, At: 18:52Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Kappa Delta Pi RecordPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ukdr20</p><p>In My View: Are We Shortchanging Our Students?Joy VarnellPublished online: 22 Oct 2012.</p><p>To cite this article: Joy Varnell (2005) In My View: Are We Shortchanging Our Students?, Kappa Delta Pi Record, 41:2, 52-53, DOI:10.1080/00228958.2005.10532043</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00228958.2005.10532043</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) contained in thepublications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations orwarranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsedby Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified withprimary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings,demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectlyin connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone isexpressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ukdr20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/00228958.2005.10532043http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00228958.2005.10532043http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>watched students imaginations f - - grow increasingly weak. This </p><p>experienced teacher had ob- served his students quality of writing decrease miserably, and he put the blame on television. Today, we have all the problems my chi Id rens generation had, plus computer games and the present emphasis on standard- ized testing. </p><p>Teachers are advocates for children and, as such, many of us are alarmed at the lack of time for creativity. While standardized tests are important, we always must teach those things that are in our students best interest. We </p><p>f!.$ </p><p>t- &amp;fl </p><p>Joy Vaniell, iulio is currently iuritirig her doctoral dissertation a t Azirsa Pacific University, has taught elemeritaryschool for more than 20 years. She holds aiz adjunct position a t College of the Desert and supervises s tudent teachers a t California State University, San Bemadino, Palm Desert campus. </p><p>constantly must ask ourselves, Is this the best possible use of my students time right now? Sometimes the answer will be that the best use of our students time is to give them time to create or imagine. </p><p>N u rt u ri ng Imaginations We may be shortchanging our </p><p>students if we are not careful to nurture their imaginations. Peskin (1986,259) wrote, lhe reality of accountability has persuaded educators to focus too strongly on the test scores and too little on the child as an individual with a unique history and needs. Bowing to the pressure of current accountability, many teachers plan their days, and even their school years, around these tests: and many beneficial activities routinely are set aside so that students can be taught test- specific information. </p><p>0 </p><p>Elkind (2001) warned that school can become a mere factory where knowledge is pumped into children with no time to imagine or create. While we all want our students to perform well on standardized tests, we cannot let the tests dictate everything we do in our classrooms. </p><p>The Value of Creativity What, after all, is the value of </p><p>individuals imaginations? First, a creative mind is its own reward. A childs imagination gives child- hood a unique richness. Second, as Gardner (1991,711 observed, lhe capacity to take a stance toward everyday reality-to confirm, deny, or alter it-confers enormous new power to the child. Finally, imagination transports children and adults alike to places they may never go. Children try out professions by playing teacher, firefighter, or </p><p>52 Kappa Della Pi Record Winter 2005 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ada</p><p>ms </p><p>Stat</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 18:</p><p>52 1</p><p>6 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>other career roles. Children transform cardboard boxes into forts, race cars, and robots. Afternoons spent lying under a tree building castles in the air are not time wasted, but time iniagin- ing what might be. </p><p>Pragniatists can be relieved that practical uses for imagination abound. It took a great deal of imagination for Charles Goodyear to dream up vulcanized rubber. Benjamin Franklin certainly exercised his irnagination when he decided to fly that kite with the key attached. If children do not develop their imaginations, future advances i n medicine, technology, and the arts might never happen. Without nurtured creativity, childrens minds may be i~nable to conceptualize a cure for a new disease or solutions to other problems we have yet to face. </p><p>of imagination, we also are enriched by the contributions of active iniaginators such as Mark Twain, Steven Spielberg, and Theodore Geisel (the beloved Dr. Seuss). How dull life would be if we had only real-life situations to contemplate! I am thankful for great iniaginators-inany of whom have sent me soaring on my own flights of fancy. </p><p>Aside from the utilitarian uses </p><p>Time to Reflect and Write Writers of all ages must have </p><p>time to reflect before they write. Reflection is part of tlie writing process. To tlie inexperienced eye, a child staring off into space is wasting time. A teacher often asks, Why arent you working? The outwardly indolent, but inwardly busy child replies, Im thinking. What goes on the paper must first go on in the mind, where deep ideas, words, and sentences are </p><p>constructed. Sometimes children think through an entire story before they begin to write. </p><p>Priori t izi ng Activities As educators, we must </p><p>prioritize the activities we plan for our students. While teaching to standards, we should consider that sonietimes activities which require creativity, imagination, and play may be the best possible use of our students time in school. </p><p>Time-honored aids to developing and encouraging imagination in tlie primary grades are abundant and inex- pensive. Blocks, building logs, dress-up clothes, books, art paper, and art supplies are but a few. I n K All Day, Francis (1998, 29) quoted Michael Ensler, a child development specialist, as saying I do think we do too much too soon with most children. I think were in too big of a hurry. Theres an awfiil lot of pressure on kids. The job of children-their work- is play. Wilford (2000) found five literacy goals (developing sym- bolic processes, language growth, problem solving, persistence in literacy engagement, and plea- surable connection with literacy activities) that can be reached by encouraging childrens play. </p><p>should not be left behind when children leave the primary grades. All students imagina- tions can be encouraged through open-ended questions, problem solving, and hands-on projects. Teachers probing questions can lead students to find divergent solutions to problems. Higher- order thinking can be encour- aged through science projects, model building, and writing projects. </p><p>Developing imaginations </p><p>Carving Out Time Teachers must carve out </p><p>time for students to develop their creativity through play and other imaginative activities. In primary grades, a few minutes of free t i m e-w i t h a p p ro p r i a t e props-can foster creativity. These supplies, along with puzzles, clay, mirrors, and math manipulatives, are all suitable. In middle-school grades and above, one teacher provided storytelling and story theater activities to teach creativity and alternate ways of thinking about problems (Lees 2003). She </p><p>advocates for children and, as such, many of us I are alarmed </p><p>a t the lack of t ime for creativity. </p><p>~~ ~ </p><p>carefully blended these drama activities with the state frame- work. While she encouraged her students active use of their ima- ginations, she also met standards. If we use our imagi- nations, we all can create time and ways to nurture our stu- d en t s creativity. </p><p>References Elkiiid, 1). 2001. 7lt~lttirriri/ cltilil: Grottjiiig iip </p><p>roo lrrsr roo soiiti. 3rd etl. Cnmliridee. MA: </p><p>Cardncr, It. 19:) I . Tlic rrtiscltoo/i~d tt i i ird: Iliiic~ cltililrc.ii rliirtk ri i i i i Iioici srliools sliorrl~l fmcl i . New Ynrk Basic Ilooks. </p><p>I.ces. S. li. 2003. Personal coiiitiiiiiiiciitiiii~ to Joy Wirnell. lutie 5. </p><p>Ieskiii. M. 1:. I98G.Tlie ticctl lo retliiiik tlteorics and practices of kiiitlergartcn before extending its day. I</p></li></ul>