On Being Foolish

In A Whack on the Side of the Head, Roger von Oech recommends being foolish to stimulate creativity:

Look at the problem before you and say, “It’s not what everyone thinks it is,” and then give a different interpretation of what’s going on. Deny that the problem even exists, or maybe solve a different one. Doubt the things that others take for granted. Ridicule your basic assumptions. Expect the unexpected. Ask the stupid question that nobody else seems to be asking. Do whatever you can to shatter the established way of looking at things. You’ll find that it will stimulate your creative juices.

Where in school is there room for this kind of thinking? It won’t help kids on standardized tests. It might lower their grade on an assignment. Some teachers might feel disrespected or irritated.

It also might lead to new understandings of content and life. Students and teachers might come up with imaginative solutions to problems. As a side effect students might not be bored and might find school fun and relevant.

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