La créativité, ça s’enseigne ! / Creativity can be learned! | Ugo Cavenaghi | TEDxUmontreal

La créativité, ça s’enseigne ! / Creativity can be learned! | Ugo Cavenaghi | TEDxUmontreal


Translator: Hélène Vernet
Reviewer: Martin Bermudez Here is a classroom in 1950. What do we see?
We see diligence and discipline. At the time, teachers called students
by their last name: “Monier!” “Rivalin!” “Hémond!” Students come to school
to acquire knowledge. There are about thirty desks
lined up facing straight ahead and a teacher discharging his knowledge. In 1950, this classroom model
was perfect for what laid ahead of them. And what laid ahead of them? A stable, healthy economy,
with no changes, and workers that always did
the same things repetitively. It was an era of local production, and those people were going to work
at one job for almost all their lives. And here is where we are in 2018. We are in places that are fun compared to the factories
we saw in the previous picture. Thursday night happy hours,
Christmas parties, we have new working practices. We work in collaboration
aided by an ever-present technology. And in some companies,
it is even a competitive advantage. Uber or Airbnb wouldn’t exist
without technology. The motto is Innovation because, as you know, now production
takes place abroad, in Asia. If companies don’t innovate,
they just disappear. Technologies are omnipresent and we are
here to solve complex problems. Tremendous changes
are taking place in society. So how are we preparing this future
generation of workers? Like this! How is it different from
the first photo apart from the color? We still have about thirty desks.
We look straight ahead. The teacher is there, discharging
his knowledge to the children. Classroom management is silence. This is what we still learn at university: a good classroom management
is silence in the classroom. Technologies? Practically non-existent. There are two or three computers
on the side, functional if you’re lucky. We’re preparing them
for the secondary sector but hardly for the third sector. You have gone through this as I have,
and it was difficult for me. I was divergent. I used to ask questions. I was hyperactive, more often
outside the classroom than inside. I was a bother and when I understood
too quickly, I started to crack jokes. I turned out okay fortunately. Now I wish to announce
that school needs to be reinvented … (Sound interruption) … the monopoly of knowledge. Today, knowledge
is in our students’ pockets. If students spend two hours
commuting to school to acquire the knowledge they already have
in their pocket, spot the mistake. We wonder why there are so many dropouts
today in Quebec and also around the world. Many students no longer go to university. Instead they take MOOC,
Massive Open Online Courses, a dozen MOOC that cost $400, with the best universities worldwide
and best professors. They’ll tell employers,
“Here’s what I’ve done. Give me a job, I’ll show you.” If we don’t change the educational
system, it will go to ruin. We are entering the fourth
industrial revolution, the digital one. And be careful, it will hit
and it will hit very hard. I was watching a video this morning about a robot that took sheets
of plywood and fixed them on a wall. This is where we are today. The advent of artificial intelligence is going to have an enormous
impact on our societies. In the old days, robots were in factories. Now, we know that
artificial intelligence algorithms are better at diagnosing
skin cancer than dermatologists. It’s the same with radiologists. The lawyers who practice jurisprudence
are going to lose their jobs. Taxis, transportation,
we don’t even talk about them. So the implications are complex. We are in a society
that moves extremely quickly. Look at what’s going on today,
and imagine what will happen in 10 years. We know that half of the people here
who have a job is going to either lose it or it is going to change completely. Two thirds of the jobs that the youths
in my elementary school will be doing don’t exist, but schools
have to prepare these children. How? In the way I showed at the beginning.
Spot the mistake! Here is what schools should develop,
these skills that we call the “five Cs.” “Collaboration,” young people
should be taught how to collaborate. We can no longer solve
problems alone in our society. “Communication” skills in both speaking
and writing in different contexts. In interviews, I see too many people who have great CVs but don’t know
how to sell themselves. We should know how to sell ourselves. “Critical thinking.” Are we going to accept
that military robots kill humans? Do young people know that
their Facebook and Instagram feeds are completely screened? We are in a society
where we should develop critical thinking among
our youths, and it’s urgent. We must be complementary
to artificial intelligence. “Compassion,” managing emotions
and human relationships, we should develop these things. We won’t be able to compete
with AI on its own territory. And the last and most
important one is “creativity.” It’s the skill of the future,
a skill that is vital. I mentioned that the challenges are huge. Since production is done abroad, we need to invent products
and services within our society. Now what is creativity? Some say it’s “innate” or it’s
“intelligence having fun,” Einstein said. It’s linked to biology. It’s the capacity to find
original solutions to problems, the capacity to make connections
with things that didn’t exist initially, the capacity to have a creative
attitude or position, to be open minded and listen
to others’ ideas, and to be empathetic. Steve Jobs used to say “Creativity is connecting things,
forging links between them.” We don’t invent anything new. And to do so, there is
a process in four phases. The first and most important
is the “preparation phase.” It’s about developing
young children’s curiosity in order to fill their internal library
with knowledge right away without trying to specialize them, such as letting them play with arts,
music, dance, science, sports – hence the importance
of extracurricular activities at school so that they don’t come
only to acquire knowledge. It’s about developing their five senses
and transforming them into polymaths just like Leonardo da Vinci, who was both an inventor,
a scientist and a sculptor, or Saint-Exupery who was a pilot,
a philosopher and an author. The “incubation phase,”
very difficult these days … When we have two minutes,
we look at our phones to see the news, send a text and read our emails. So it’s about creating
opportunities for ideas to emerge. The classic cliché is under the shower, or while running,
taking a walk in the park, or in the car, when we don’t
turn the radio full blast. It’s been proven that gamma waves increase
in monks who practice meditation. It means more neuron connections. So we should give ourselves time
for the emergence of ideas. In our CEGEP at Sainte-Anne, we have created an arts, letters
and communication program that incorporates science,
innovation, and creativity. We also thought of having
a period of doing nothing. For one hour a week, nothing happens –
no tech, no pencils, no papers, People come and settle in
for an hour a week. Finally, “the inspiration phase.” This one, we have to let it come. And when it comes,
we need to tune in and not move immediately
to something else. Take notes, write it down,
then move on to something else. And the most difficult – and here
is where 95% of ideas will fail – the “realization” phase. When you have a good idea,
you follow it through to the end. This takes courage, energy,
processes, teams, so that the idea
becomes an innovation. Unfortunately, 95% of good ideas
have gone nowhere. So, do you think schools are ready
for what I’ve just told you? At school, work is done in silos:
Math, French, English. There is no connection between subjects,
so how can you be creative, even though it is said that
multidisciplinary studies are important? We have standards, grades, norms,
rules of admission or readmission. We give students problems to which
they already know the solutions. What’s the point of doing that? The training we give them
doesn’t make sense. “Learning by heart” is still prevalent. The website Littlewoods indicates that, between two and five years old,
children ask 300 questions and when they get to school,
20 questions. Look for the mistake! Ken Robinson, a specialist in education
and creativity, goes so far as to say that current schooling kills creativity. Churchill was said to be a dunce. Einstein, Guy Laliberté,
Richard Branson, all are dropouts. They are the ones who succeeded. Think of all those
who are now social outcasts, who haven’t succeeded –
incredible talents, creative – because school has not adapted to them. We are in a culture of grades. Our CEGEP places most students in
limited enrollment programs at university. What does a student think about when he
comes to us? R score, R score, R score. Does he think about developing creativity,
collaboration, critical thought? Well, he needs a 33 to be accepted
into a law program, or 36-37 to be accepted
into a medical program. Norms are the problem. So, what can we do? Well, first thing,
we should stop stuffing their brain. Let’s develop the skills
I mentioned before and give more room to the process. Do you remember biology from the first
year of high school 10 years ago? Not at all! And if you need it,
it’s in your pocket. Knowledge is in our pockets now. And let’s put students
to work on solving problems. Let’s teach them ideation techniques,
and methods to boost creativity. The six hats of de Bono,
different ways of brainstorming, these methods exist
and they’re not complicated. Let’s make mistakes
a cornerstone of learning. At school, we punish mistakes.
Flaf! A zero marked in red! But we know now that experience
is the sum of our errors. So to get there, we need
to change our schools’ culture. Teachers have to change their roles. They are no longer
transmitters of knowledge, not anymore, that’s over;
if not, youths will stay at home. You have mentors, coaches, motivators. Their job is to prepare
problems downstream, that students will resolve
in teams in a creative way, complex problems. We can’t underestimate young people. So to do so, we must reevaluate
our prisons – excuse me, our schools. (Laughter)
Just a purposeful slip! Today, our schools look
like penitentiaries. Our classes, as you’ve seen,
haven’t changed: 36 desks, 23 kilos, a teacher in front …
with some luck, a digital blackboard, wow! Classes have to change. In our school, there are
no longer a front and a back. There’s a screen on every side,
and the teacher is in the middle. The desks can be raised and lowered. If the youth learn better standing,
why should he/she sit? There are stools.
Desks and chairs are on wheels. Classes should be flexible. In two minutes, you should be able
to reorganize your classroom. They need light, to be fun and bright … … all in the aim of enabling the youths
to collaborate, that’s essential. And to do that,
a bold leadership is required, a leadership that is creative. We shouldn’t be afraid to try
to make teachers understand – since they also went to school, to CEGEP,
to university, and back to school, and then succeeded as teachers – that society and jobs evolve. When young people enter the job
market, the habit is to ask them “What did you study? I don’t really care about grades. What I’m interested in
is whether you are creative, you know how to collaborate,
and speak one, two, three languages.” That’s what we ask them;
and that’s what we don’t teach them. Let’s invest in training. Would you go to a dentist
who didn’t train for 10 years? No. Yet we send our own children to school knowing that education isn’t the place
to get the most training. So spot the mistake! These children are among
our primary school students. They will leave school in 15 years
and enter the job market. Which job they will do, we don’t know
because two thirds are still unknown. Two years ago, no one knew
what a data scientist was. And jobs like this are going to flood. Problems are going to be
more complex than there are now, especially if we don’t fix them today. It is said we have two years
to fix issues with the environment, by slowing down, or good luck! Good luck! I think the solution
is in finding innovations, machines that will take C02
to put it back into the earth – those already exist. We need to find ideas,
and for that we need to be creative, hence it’s important
to develop it at school. Now are we going to teach creativity
like Math or French? No. But we can teach Math and French
while developing creativity. So for that, let’s be creative! Thank you. (Applause)

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