Links to Think: 09.24.12

October 1, 2012

A Literal Epidemic of Crutch Words A fascinating look at the use of crutch words. After I noticed myself ending sentences with “but…” and “so…” (picked up unknowingly from my parents, who weren’t aware of doing it until I brought it to my mom’s attention), this has been an interesting phenomenon for me to observe. (And, of course, now I observe my two-year-old and four-year-old using crutch words they’ve picked up from their parents. :))

“Another commenter points out wisely that crutch words aren’t all bad; they give people clues about the speakers. “If you pay attention to some of these words, they can tell you quite a bit about how someone communicates and how to get them to truly listen to you,” writes morbyk. “When a person says ‘I Hear you,’ or ‘that’s telling em’ or other references to the spoken word and sound, they are telling you that speech is the best way to communicate  and that you need to be sure they know you are hearing them…. If you regularly say ‘I see’  to a person who says ‘I hear you,’ it can be a barrier to communication on the most basic level. And boy, was it hard to write this without saying actually.  Basic shouldn’t count because basically is the crutch, word, right?!””

In the corresponding article written previous to this, the same author writes:

“Crutch words are those expressions we pepper throughout our language as verbal pauses, and sometimes as written ones, to give us time to think, to accentuate our meaning (even when we do so mistakenly), or just because these are the words that have somehow lodged in our brains and come out on our tongues the most, for whatever reason. Quite often, they do little to add meaning, though. Sometimes we even use them incorrectly. Almost always, we don’t need them at all, which doesn’t mean we won’t persist in using them.”

As Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity – Continuing along a similar thread of other articles shared here, this article shares some of the consequences of our society’s

“If anything makes Americans stand tall internationally it is creativity.  “American ingenuity” is admired everywhere. We are not the richest country (at least not as measured by smallest percentage in poverty), nor the healthiest (far from it), nor the country whose kids score highest on standardized tests (despite our politicians’ misguided intentions to get us there), but we are the most inventive country.  We are the great innovators, specialists in figuring out new ways of doing things and new things to do. Perhaps this derives from our frontier beginnings, or from our unique form of democracy with its emphasis on individual freedom and respect for nonconformity.  In the business world as well as in academia and the arts and elsewhere, creativity is our number one asset.  In a recent IBM poll, 1,500 CEOs acknowledged this when they identified creativity as the best predictor of future success.

It is sobering, therefore, to read Kyung Hee Kim’s recent research report documenting a continuous decline in creativity among American schoolchildren over the last two or three decades.”

Creativity is nurtured by freedom and stifled by the continuous monitoring, evaluation, adult-direction, and pressure to conform that restrict children’s lives today.  In the real world few questions have one right answer, few problems have one right solution; that’s why creativity is crucial to success in the real world.  But more and more we are subjecting children to an educational system that assumes one right answer to every question and one correct solution to every problem, a system that punishes children (and their teachers too) for daring to try different routes.  We are also, as I documented in a previous essay, increasingly depriving children of free time outside of school to play, explore, be bored, overcome boredom, fail, overcome failure—that is, to do all that they must do in order to develop their full creative potential.”

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  • Johanna Hanson October 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Really loved the article on creativity. So important. Now I’m really glad we pulled out paints today and I let the kids go at it! 🙂