A teacher voiced his frustration about getting gifted students past the hurdle of simply looking at events of a story to the uncover the devices that the author used in writing the story. The students need to interpret the effect these literary devises had on the readers.
At that point I worked with children who had made this leap, despite needing help in reading due to dyslexia. They did this because they were attempting to write stories themselves. I suggested to the teacher that he could have students write short fiction so they could understand the process that an author went through. His response, “The curriculum is too rigorous and doesn’t allow time for creative writing. They can take that course if they want to.”
I don’t find this the most sensible route to take for many reasons. Bloom’s taxonomy used to place Evaluation on the top rung. The critique was above the creator of the work. But, that was determined to be backwards and Synthesis was moved above Evaluation.
Overloading students with too much information without allowing them to practically implement what they have learned stifles their higher thinking skills. This leads to a kind of knowledge that de-emphasizes critical thinking. Why limit what has been learned by refusing to have the students make real products?
The reasons normally given: having students make creative products is a messy and inaccurate exercise that teachers dread, and how exactly do you grade this kind of work. The teacher is not the only one that needs to tackle this problem. Students are going need to know how to apply their effort towards tasks requiring imagination.
When faced with this challenge, teachers can ask for student input on grading criteria. Projects that call for large doses of creative input can be made easier by putting everyone through the process from start to finish. Grading, which requires evaluation skills, is something students need to learn in order to produce more innovative work. After all, the definition of creativity requires that a product be both original and useful.