The human mind is prone to reproduce what it is used to, and the provision of explicit knowledge constitutes a potential inhibitor of imagination.
(Müller-Weinbergen, Müller, Seidel & Becker, 2010)
I’ve seen this so many times! As a teacher, if I show the students what a project could look like with an example, guess what? I get thirty copies of the example and maybe one or two original works. I stopped showing them samples. “Go make your own,” I told them.
Trends and fads are the same. Some one says, “That’s cool!” and then everyone is saying it, whether it is really cool or not. Holes in your jeans, or pants sagging to your knees, really, are they cool? Someone said they were cool, and look what happened.
Just saw Greenland, and it was exactly the same storyline as 2012, different disasters, but exactly the same plot. I suppose that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in this and many cases, if it works for them, why not make it work for us! Don’t get me wrong. They are both good movies, but come on! Let’s see some originality!
Original ideas are hard to come by, and the few that are able to make them a reality, do pretty well and everyone tries to copy them. Have you noticed how all the cars, trucks and SUV’s all look the same, but as soon as someone is willing to break the mold, everyone else follows suit? The Caravan, for example. After they came out, every carmaker had to have their version. The apple Iphone came out and I dare you to find a phone that is push buttons instead of the glass screen. Some say that the market demands are just being met. I say they are just copy cat trying to ride the wave.
Some authors have come up with seriously ingenious, brand new ideas. Frank Herbert and Dune, Isaac Asimov and I Robot, Tolkien and the Hobbit, Anne McCaffrey and the Dragons, Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek, and of course JK Rowling and Harry Potter are examples of incredibly unique ideas that have changed our cultural history.
Originality is the result of analytical thinking, critical thinking and creative thinking. Coming up with something new is really earth shattering and life changing. Even building on something new is better than just copying something new. I love open ended building kits like LEGOS, Tinker Toys, and Lincoln Logs. I know there are many other new ones, but I grew up with these and they are still sold…why is that? They work!
I’d like to think that I am a unique idea person. In education, when everyone else was drilling down on the basics, I was having fun with Total Physical Response and project-based learning. When everyone else was asking whole group questions, I was doing small groups and the students were asking the questions. I pushed for computers in every teacher’s hands in 1994, and I had my students doing PowerPoint and HyperStudio lessons before there was PowerPoint and HyperStudio. I wrote a book to help teachers to teach students to gain the soft skills of how to learn, how to think, and how to express themselves. (Teaching Students to Dig Deeper.) How many teachers do you know that teach their kids the soft-skills? I did.
I’m still creative and original. I wrote a book for homeschool parents on how to make their homeschool different from regular school (How to Be Successful at Elementary Home School). I wrote a Science Fiction/Fantasy Book series with a whole new world and different science full of unique ideas (The Last Voyage of the Betty-Lou, Fire Lord Series). This is a new year, be a new unique you.