The absurd breeds creativity.

Recently at Bread & Puppet’s The Honey Let’s Go Home Opera in NYC I was smacked in the face by a big old WTF?! within the first few minutes of the performance.  I knew there would be music and puppets and had heard that it was cool to be there, but that didn’t prepare me for the opening chorus of mechanical noises, dissonant voices and instruments all swaying in rhythm with a massive puppet.  To say it was surreal is an understatement.  For a split second I was worried that I wasn’t going to like it or that I was in over my head, but that moment passed and I got sucked deeply into the unfolding opera.

What this showed me is that the absurd draws you in deep if you can keep yourself open and curious.  What I noticed is that in the face of the bizarre you are actually more free than you were before.  Why?  Well because all the expectations of society and propriety have been blown out of the water making what was once impossible or unreasonable suddenly possible.

Let’s take Oprah for example.  She has an Empire of a multimedia company.  Through it she has earned the love and support of millions.  Years ago she said she wasn’t interested in running for office, but in the face of a man who some call a buffoon currently holding the world’s stage, anything had become possible.

But let’s look at this from a personal perspective: when anything becomes possible and the boundaries that you though were there are revealed to be imaginary, what would you do?  I know that I found myself inspired by Bread & Puppet to create an almanac for the Burning Man community.  Because to marry the surreal with the realistic in such a way that is blows people minds open to their own creative potential is the highest form of art in my opinion.

What would you do if you could do anything?

Making Education a Pull not a Push

This TED talk by Charles Leadbeater is great.  He bring into the conversation third world examples of education.  Some of the great points and innovations that I think he hits on include:

1) Project based learning which has to be productive.

2) The inclusion of creativity and using games to teach.

3) Using the Chinese restaurant model – it spreads, looks different depending on where you are, but is recognizable for what it is.

Enjoy!

This post is also viewable on iTeachToo.com through this link.

The Challenge of Teaching to the Future

When designing curriculum and lessons I try to remind myself that we are teaching the leaders of tomorrow.  They will hold jobs that probably do not yet exist.  They will live in a world that we can not even begin to imagine, and yet, that is our task.  Prepare the students for something about which we know little to nothing.  There is certainly not a proficiency exam for this, unlike those that you must take to obtain a license in your chosen specialty.

What a daunting task. Continue reading “The Challenge of Teaching to the Future”