School is notorious the world over for being little more than a place where rote memorization and the digestion of facts supercedes any other type of learning. While nearly every school on the planet claims that it is preparing students to be responsible, educated citizens who are capable of thinking for themselves, this is so rarely the case. Most of the time, teachers end up teaching for a specific purpose of skill building, and all too often that set of skills revolves around taking a particular standardized test, because it is critical to a student’s future, either in their educational path or in the world as a general thing. Unfortunately, teaching to a test can be a pain for teachers and for students.
After all, teachers generally did not get into their profession (which borders on a calling, like that of a holy person) simply to help young people conform enough to get decent jobs. For all of the jaded, sighing resignation that most teachers have, at heart they almost all want to excite their students with what learning can be. And the best way anyone has ever found to do that is through the use of creativity, and mind exercises that work around this principle. Let’s start out with a fairly basic example of what can be done, if a teacher wants his students to think creatively.
Go back in time to 1920, and issue everyone shares of stocks and some money to trade with. Allow them to trade with each other, collect their dividends, and make their profits. Go in one year increments, and watch as nearly everybody sells their shares in 1928 or 1929, because they remember their history. That’s the easy part. The hard part is in what happens afterward. Ask your students why they sold… and then ask them what would have happened if they hasn’t sold. This can be an excellent essay topic, and to get them actually thinking.