For many people, craft stores are a means to support their creative nature and hobbies. When someone is creating a craft, there is often a set image that the person working on the craft has in mind. In an instance such as this, having a specific finished “product” in mind makes sense. There is a specific goal one is hoping to achieve. Where this scenario doesn’t make sense is when children are engaged in play. Both scenarios involve a person engaged in something that they find enjoyable. What’s different is that children don’t engage in play with a specific goal in mind.
Here is another way to look at this concept. How often have you or someone you know tried to create something seen on television,YouTube, etc. How about trying to cook something with the hopes that what is being made will look like it’s seen on the cooking show, YouTube video or website? How do you feel when it doesn’t come out the way you expected? Now change your expectations. Instead of trying to recreate things to resemble an exact replica, you were flexible with your expectations.
When children are pushed to simply copy whatever a teacher created for a lesson, the level of higher-order thinking and creativity is non-existent. In place of open-ended engagement, we get children who become automated shells whose lose their potential over time. By engaging in “product-based”, the next generation of innovators are in danger of becoming extinct. It’s time for many educators to come out of their comfort zone and encourage a more process-based, thought-provoking learning environment.