Thursday, December 01, 2005
A Commentary on Creativity
Okay, I'm a teacher and a student. At this time in the semester, I'm both writing and grading papers. I encourage my students to be creative and original in their work, but at the same time I am forced to place limits on their creativity. (I'm under a certain departmental obligation to have my students write certain types of papers and produce a certain number of pages during the course of a semester.) I want my students to have freedom with their thoughts and writing, but at the same time I also realize that I will eventually be grading their work. Creativity gets rewarded, but creativity must also operate within certain limitations. Similarly, I struggle to find the balance between creativity and academic accessibility within my own writing. I can produce scholarly work on John Wayne or The Matrix, but that type of work typically isn't seen as acceptable in my discourse community (it isn't 'academic' enough). Thus we're stuck...we're encouraged to be original, to try new things, to think outside of that awful metaphorical box, but then we are punished--or at least not rewarded--when we're finally able to come up with something new and fun and original.