The Patatas – An Education Solutions Consultancy

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Children are innately curious and full of imaginative ideas. However, as individuals advance through education, many adults bemoan a loss of this spark. This raises the question of whether schools, which are meant to develop and educate young minds, unintentionally kill creativity. 

 

Naturally, children possess an insatiable desire to learn about the world. They are incessantly curious about “why” and “how,” wanting to know how everything works, from the technical parts of a toy to how the moon changes its appearance. Their natural curiosity stimulates their creativity, allowing them to imagine alternate worlds and express themselves through story, music, and art. Unconstrained by pre-set ideas, children can play with possibilities and try out new things. This inborn creativity fuels their growth and sets the stage for them to become future innovators and problem-solvers.

Image by Prashant Sharma from Pixabay

Prepared to be Wrong

Sir Ken Robinson, on his Ted Talk, explained that children are naturally not afraid to make mistakes, when they have something in mind, they’ll take the chance to express it. He recalls one story of girl who was drawing a picture of God, to which her teacher questioned her and claimed that nobody ever knows what God looked like. This little girl, who’s full of confidence told the teacher: “They will, in a minute”. This is a proof that children, even if they’re clueless of something, they’ll still take a chance to show people what they believe in. This goes to show that they’re not afraid of being wrong. Sir Ken Robinson then explained that “not being afraid to be wrong equates to being creative”, it’s more of a belief that “if you are not afraid of being wrong, then you will not come up with anything original” 

Most people has lost this capacity as they grow older, everything has to be within the rules and standardized— stigmatizing mistakes. Traditional school curriculums are designed focusing on common core subjects include math, science, language arts, and social studies. Although acquiring fundamental knowledge is crucial, this emphasis may not allow for much exploration of subjects that require creativity, such as drama, music, art, or creative writing. Schools are under additional pressure to give priority to these fundamental subjects because standardized tests frequently reflect this focus. Also, creative subjects are mostly considered as extra curricular activities rather than a core subject.

“We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it”

Young children are naturally curious and imaginative. They investigate the world with awe, posing questions and trying out new ideas all the time. Their in-born curiosity stimulates their creativity and enables them to think outside the box, express themselves freely, and embrace trial and error. As Sir Ken Robinson quoted from Picasso: “All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up”. Children’s creative potential may be unintentionally suppressed as they move through the stages of regular schooling. The narrow focus and performance pressure of standardized testing can cause exploration to take a backseat. Rigid curriculum can limit children’s endless enthusiasm because they frequently place a higher priority on core subjects than on the arts and other creative pursuits. Students may be discouraged from taking creative risks and straying from the predefined framework if there is a focus placed on conformity and providing the “right” answers. To ensure a comprehensive education that nurtures not just academic accomplishment but also the imaginative spirit that will establish the future, it is essential to address the potential stifling of creativity.

 

Intelligence is Multifaceted

There is no one-size-fits-all type of intelligence. There are other ways to be intelligent, according to the Theory of Multiple Intelligence proposed by Harvard Psychologist, Howard Gardner:

  1. Visual-spatial – They have excellent visualization skills. These people frequently know their way around maps, charts, photographs, movies, and other visual aids well (Architect, Artist, Engineer)
  2. Linguistic-verbal – They have good word selection for both writing and speaking. These people are usually excellent story writers, good with memorization, and reading. (Writers, Journalists, Lawyer)
  3. Logical-mathematical – They are proficient in problem-solving, pattern recognition, and reasoning. These people typically approach numbers, relationships, and patterns conceptually (Mathematician, Programmer, Accountant)
  4. Body-kinesthetic – They have high motor skills, muscular control, and body movement. Strong individuals typically possess exceptional agility and eye-hand coordination (Dancer, Surgeon, Actor)
  5. Musical – They have an excellent ability to think in sounds, rhythms, and patterns. They frequently excel in the composition and performance of music and have a deep appreciation for it. (Musician, Singer, Composer)
  6. Interpersonal – They have good interpersonal understanding and communication skills. These people are adept in determining the feelings, intentions, drives, and goals of people around them. (Psychologist, Counselor, Sales Associate)
  7. Intrapersonal – They excel in recognizing their own motivations, emotions, and emotional states. They frequently take pleasure in introspection and analysis, which includes imagining, examining interpersonal connections, and evaluating their own abilities. (Philosopher, Theorist, Scientist)
  8. Naturalistic – They tend to be more in touch with nature and have a keen interest in caring for others, discovering new things, and studying the lives of other creatures. It is claimed that these people have an acute understanding of small alterations to their surroundings. (Biologist, Farmer, Gardener)

Current Educational System

Sir Ken Robinson exposes the drawbacks of traditional educational methods by criticizing how the existing system discourages innovation by giving priority to some subjects over others. He then suggested a broader approach that emphasizes risk taking and thinking outside of the box. All things considered, Sir Ken Robinson’s talk is an important reminder of the necessity to reconsider how we approach education, emphasizing the importance of nurturing creativity and appreciating each person’s unique gifts.

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

While traditional schooling may unintentionally stifle creativity in some instances, it doesn’t have to be this way. By incorporating project-based learning, fostering a growth mindset, and valuing artistic expression alongside core subjects, schools can become nurturing grounds for creative innovation. Imagine classrooms where students tackle real-world problems through creative collaboration, where mistakes are seen as stepping stones, and where artistic endeavors are integrated seamlessly into the curriculum. This shift in focus would empower students to become not just knowledge consumers, but creative problem-solvers and future leaders equipped to thrive in a world that demands both intellectual and imaginative prowess. By embracing creativity as an essential pillar of education, we can cultivate a generation of thinkers who will not only answer the questions of today but also ask the groundbreaking questions of tomorrow.

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