Thursday, January 15, 2015

Creative Rigor; Rigorous Creativity

I originally wrote this post for City School of the Arts Journal, a blog for the proposed arts-based charter middle school I am currently working to co-found. 


When Dr. Damien Fernandez was named Head of School at Ethical Culture Fieldston School three years ago, he told The New York Times he wanted to strengthen their science and math programs “in a way that enhances creativity and problem solving.” Dr. Fernandez was not responding to a vague premonition of Common Core, nor was he pitting Fieldston’s rich progressive history against Dewey's description of "Traditional Pedagogy:” memorization of facts and formulas, teacher-established rules and regulations, drill, practice, and recitations. He was saying what we all know: kids are by nature curious and creative, so their beliefs and interests must be honored. “I don’t buy this whole notion of two cultures, of an artistic and scientific culture, and the two shall never meet,” he said. “I believe the creative spirit is critical for posing questions, for the leeway to explore, and I think that the creative spirit is necessary for today’s world, for the creative economies of the 21st century." 

This is a sentiment that City School of the Arts whole-heartedly embraces. Just last month, Thomas Sosa, one of our former students who is now a junior at RIT, commented, "What I learned doing musical theater in high school feeds directly into my college classes in programming. The idea of creating something out of nothing and developing the precise language that allows you to share that idea with others--that's creativity in a nutshell. What I'm finding is that programming is not just about mindlessly crunching code... It's an aesthetic process. What you're really doing is making art." As if this comment needed punctuation, Thomas then passed around his business card. It read: "Thomas Sosa - Student, Engineer, Dancer."

Keep reading at City School of the Arts Journal