How to support creative confidence in all socio-economical groups?
Assuming that we all can be creative should not make us forget about socio-economical divides. This will be particularly important as we enter the ideas phase.
Sonja's inspiration because it reminds us of how reading allows to engage in imaginary worlds where we can experiment with different possible worlds (see
Proust and the Squid, the great book by Maryanne Wolf on the topic).
Yet today her inspiration came back to my mind when I read this article in
the NY Times about a language gap study.
This study which replicates a landmark study (discussed at length by Maryanne Wolf) that "found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs" and found "a language gap as early as 18 months".
Here's more about the findings:
new research by
Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes. The new findings, although based on a small sample, reinforced the earlier research showing that because professional parents speak so much more to their children, the children hear 30 million more words by age 3 than children from low-income households, early literacy experts, preschool directors and pediatricians said."
NY Times article discusses important policy issues, in particular about universal pre-school programs. Yet, in the context of this challenge it also reminds us that creative confidence as discussed by many inspirations assumes that the "basics" are there. What if children do not have access to language and reading, both key in supporting creative and critical thinking?
A few inspirations (
/search.html?text=the+power+of+quiet ) have discussed different cognitive styles and preferences, but what about the socio-economical differences?
This is also crucial in thinking about nurturing confidence: how can we make sure that children and later young people who are struggling with the basic skills required in our society feel confident?
I think it is important to keep in mind these socio-economical differences as we move to the Ideas Phase. I remember presenting a project (using a blog to engage kids from different schools around the idea of global warming) I did with the science teacher at my kids' primary public school at a conference with principals from public schools in NY. One principal challenged us on the ability to do this kind of project, in particular as it required parents' involvement, in her school where many parents did not master English and were not at all involved. It just made me realize how important it was to not take things for granted (we know it principle, but we often forget it, don't we?).