Creativity Stifled in Schools

With Generation Y, the concept of “me” is quite large. Everything these days is personalized to fit our own personal needs and wants. Just look at the Apple iPhone – is it any wonder that it is called the “iPhone?” With this self-idolizing culture Generation Y was brought into, how is it that creativity is so drab and undermined in schools? Creativity should flourish as society adapts to a “me” culture. Instead, we are brought up into the world to believe that it is logic and reason that will make us successful.

A balance of creativity ensures aesthetic beauty. (photo by GollyGForce)

Ken Robinson, a Creativity and Education expert takes a look into today’s education systems and offers a plan of action that would change our nation’s schools forever. You can view his TEDtalk here, it is certainly worth the (roughly) ten minutes. The video has since been widely spread across the internet since its release in 2006. Also, for those who would be more entertained with a visual rather than a lecture, here is a RSA animation on the TEDtalk.

Within the sermon on schools killing creativity, he does not wish to improvise schools to focus on creativity; that would be the equivalent of egging on a selfish idolizing mindset. Instead, he offers that administrations should acknowledge both the academic standpoint, but also other intelligences – creative ones. He states, “All kids have tremendous talents – and we squander them pretty ruthlessly.”

The truth is that students may not find their passions nor talents if they are not searching. If they are not searching, they are probably too focused on other things. Things they do not have passions for, as well as things they do not have exceptional talent in.

Take for example, the amount of weight that is put on electives, such as drama or ceramics, in high schools and in transition to universities. Often, universities will not count these classes into your cumulative GPA to get into the college. University of South Florida is one of the universities to follow this. It is not that their system is a poor system, it just gives less emphasis on things children may have passions for. They do not care for the “creative” classes, as they deem them unimportant and not a good measurement of your ability.

Another note-worthy quote from Robinson is as stated, “I believe this passionately: that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.”

As I introspect I realize that once upon a time I was much more creative than I am now and can identify with Robinson’s work because of it. It is true! Where did creativity go if it was once there? The “Use It or Lose It” principle is in effect as we grow out of creativity and into logic and reason.

Again, it is not that it is a bad thing to have logic and reason. However, there must be a balance. We cannot lose ourselves in logic, but rather we must gain ourselves in thought and creativity.

It is a sad world we live in where creativity is stifled by things deemed more important. All over the world, an academic hierarchy is used. Once more, all over the world, children are being told they cannot follow their dreams or passions because they are not as important as others. You may or may not want to take it into your own hands to learn for the benefits of being free in your studies and pursuits.

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