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Do schools kill creativity?

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Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 05:11:16 AM
Quote
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Not sure if this has been posted here, but interesting video and argument.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 06:30:44 AM
Agreed. At the beginning of each academic year I show my kids a quick powerpoint. If anybody else is a teacher I can send it if you PM me your address.

I first show two boys, one with a strong right arm, one with a strong left, and I ask them who is the strongest. Then I show a picture with two kids, each with the hemispheres of their skulls expanded a bit and ask the students which kid they think is the smartest.

Then I show kids a picture from the 1950s, and a picture of a modern town. I explain to the kids that children who started school in 1950 are retired now. I ask them to tell me what 2060 will look like.

After a bit of discussion I go back to the slide of the children and describe the left vs. right hemisphere distinction. I say that school will test the left side of your brain [logic, facts], but since we don't know what the future will hold, we need to also develop our right sides [creativity, imagination]. I end with a picture of a child with both sides of his brain enlarged [which always draws giggles] and tell them I expect them to look like this at the end of the year.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 07:01:25 AM
I recall being a student in high school, one section of the building was devoted to creative arts (Drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing, woodshops.. etc)... In each of these classes, for the most part we were almost always given an example on which to base our work off of.. the work was usually done by the instructor. I always felt it was somewhat side-stepping the entire creative arts process when given a basis for design.. but since the instructors was considered perfect, everyone would try to recreate that image but with slight variations.. like cheating on a test, but changing a few answers to appear authentic... And no matter what, once the class finished, everyone's art was on display, no matter how poorly illustrated or weakly inspired it was...

Public school was always ready to instill equality in to our heads, the gifted department was lacking in funds since less students were involved with it.. and I even remember overhearing a counselor who was offended by gifted education because it was exclusionary of the herd (I was from a predominately poor school district).. I definitely feel school, public schooling rather would rather graduate 400 dumb-asses, 100-or so mediocre management types, and roughly 10 functioning minds...  Creativity. Ha!

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 08:14:37 AM
Frankly, that video comes off like most egalitarian nonsense on the subject of education.  Not all children have great potential that is being squandered.  Science and math have privileged positions in the educational systems because these are the things that can (and need) to be taught.  By their very nature, there are right and wrong answers.  When this is the case, "creativity" of thought is not always something that should be rewarded.  Those who bemoan the idea that creativity (as some loosely defined ideal) is not encouraged, are often those who cannot function in these rigidly defined systems.  And why does the schooling system need to be where creativity is fostered in the first place?

I agree with the speaker that degrees are becoming useless because too many people are obtaining them, even though many employment positions do not require a university education.  A fair portion of the problem is offering degree programs for fields that do not need one, especially those in which "creativity" is supposedly the important component.

In each of these classes, for the most part we were almost always given an example on which to base our work off of.. the work was usually done by the instructor.

Well, that is because an art class is about learning technique, not "creativity".

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 08:30:38 AM

In each of these classes, for the most part we were almost always given an example on which to base our work off of.. the work was usually done by the instructor.

Well, that is because an art class is about learning technique, not "creativity".

They were all labeled as creative arts courses, and we were encouraged to be "as creative, as possible" But there were rarely any profound cases of anyone being creative. Just copying the teacher's work to an extent for a decent grade. Sure, they exhibit basic techniques to students... but why label something 'creative arts' when the only creative aspects are tweaked renditions of an instructors piece. The point I was getting at is much similar to the one you described, but in the art field more so.. as an example.. The same instances can be used elsewhere.. Egalitarianism is a big problem in education today.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 09:19:39 AM
The worst (and the majority of) educational facilities teach children logical thinking while soundly ignoring lateral thinking.  Creativity is not rewarded as much as "being right" is, and, as such, two problems are developed: firstly, an inability to accept that one is wrong, and secondly, an inability to move around a problem.  Instead, we're punished for not knowing something, and told that the best way to deal with our problems is to bludgeon them with logic until they go away.

I think the Sciences are a good example of just how important it is to "be right" all the time.  Oh, wait... No.

Science is about Creativity more than is it about "being right".  We've had countless models of practically everything that can be modelled (our solar system, our planet's geography, the causes and effects of movement through time and space), and most of these models are wrong.  That doesn't mean they weren't each the most logical choice at the time - I mean, it makes sense that the Earth is the centre of the Universe, given that everything appears to revolve around us - it simply means that, by continuing to test things, in ever more inventive (that's Sciencese for "Creative") ways, we eventually stumble upon something which is less retarded than what we used to think.

To top if all off, almost everything you'll be taught in any Science lesson will be believed by most modern scientists to be entirely wrong, if not right at that point, then in four or five years' time (ESPECIALLY when you take Quantum into account).

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 09:52:25 AM
The worst (and the majority of) educational facilities teach children logical thinking while soundly ignoring lateral thinking.  Creativity is not rewarded as much as "being right" is, and, as such, two problems are developed: firstly, an inability to accept that one is wrong, and secondly, an inability to move around a problem.  Instead, we're punished for not knowing something, and told that the best way to deal with our problems is to bludgeon them with logic until they go away.

I think the Sciences are a good example of just how important it is to "be right" all the time.  Oh, wait... No.

Science is about Creativity more than is it about "being right".  We've had countless models of practically everything that can be modelled (our solar system, our planet's geography, the causes and effects of movement through time and space), and most of these models are wrong.  That doesn't mean they weren't each the most logical choice at the time - I mean, it makes sense that the Earth is the centre of the Universe, given that everything appears to revolve around us - it simply means that, by continuing to test things, in ever more inventive (that's Sciencese for "Creative") ways, we eventually stumble upon something which is less retarded than what we used to think.

To top if all off, almost everything you'll be taught in any Science lesson will be believed by most modern scientists to be entirely wrong, if not right at that point, then in four or five years' time (ESPECIALLY when you take Quantum into account).
"All models are wrong, but some are useful." - George E. P. Box

A statistics lecturer of mine stuck that in the course notes, I've always thought of it as being extremely useful when conceptualising problems and theories in science (even in the humanities). Scientific knowledge is only concrete at a high school level, above that it's more questions than answers. There's a reason why Darwin's theory of evolution is just a theory, not a law.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 02:57:00 PM
Education crushes people because it's dumbed-down to benefit the stupid kids at the expense of the smart. Otherwise, school is fun even if done only halfway competently.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 05:54:42 PM
Schools don't destroy creativity. Schools are simply not intended for the culturing of creativity, systemically.
If we believe 'innovation' is not merely 'environmental' - than it is imprinted within the genetic fabric of certain individuals.
Some people are inherently creative, some aren't. They can flourish regardless of their education or in addition to their education. It is more likely that creativity is not subdued, people who are 'subdued' are only not creative enough or perhaps lack the will. It is a matter of navigating the pathos and its subordinated particles.

The question of whether education itself is good - is completely different.
We needn't an excessively creative society. May I suggest 'creativeness' might not be only a superlative?

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 02, 2010, 05:58:15 PM
Education crushes people because it's dumbed-down to benefit the stupid kids at the expense of the smart.

This is similar to my memories of (public) school. Idiots set the pace in this society.






Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 03, 2010, 12:06:16 AM
Education crushes people because it's dumbed-down to benefit the stupid kids at the expense of the smart. Otherwise, school is fun even if done only halfway competently.

The only factor that makes it "dumbed down" is the test all the students must take. Any competent teacher can teach more than one level at time, one for example, giving a handout to all the children covering a basic point and writing difficult questions on the board that any student can answer for extra points.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 03, 2010, 12:30:19 AM
I don't really think of school as being dumbed down or killing creativity. The worst aspect is the kids themselves, there's such an overwhelming anti-intellectual culture in public schools that any interest in studying or doing well academically is dragged down by the shear amount of kids that come from low SES and aren't interested in those aspects at all. Tertiary education of course is quite the opposite case, the people that are there want to be studying, are interested in intellectual topics and want to succeed academically. You can pretty much do whatever you want and no one else cares.

I think of all the chances I had to become engrossed in learning at high school that I passed up because I simply wasn't interested at the time which is disappointing, because after years of being out of high school, I find myself lagging behind in certain areas because I never took the initiative when I first had the chance.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 03, 2010, 01:53:22 AM
I think there are other things publis schools need to address, first.  One is electives and requirements.  I know this varies greatly from school to school, but I would first of all make foreign languages completely elective OR start teaching it to the kids right away in grade school.  The 2 or 3 year requirement for high school kids is worthless unless it is an elective.  Think about it like this:  who is more important, an author who writes a book, or the translators that spreads it across the world?  I would also stop pushing business classes - elective - fine, requirement - no!  They're teaching kids HOW TO GET A JOB, NOT HOW TO THINK!  At least in my school the Talented and Gifted program was prominent, nobody seemed to think it was bumming the lesser students out.  They should be teaching less foreign language and business and more American Law, Civics, etc.  You should have to attend town meetings and write reports on them in high school.  You should be taught how your town's town meetings work, how you can propose things, introduce laws, etc.  Same w/ state government - just the logistical stuff!!  The kids in my college classes didn't even know how to get a hold of their representatives or the first place to look.

Back to elementary education, I have an idea:  I would have the kids build sandcastles, first plan it out on paper, then build it, then take a polaroid picture of it, then....SMASH IT!  Later in the week you could do a creative writing exercise - ask the kids:  what happens in your castle?  who lives there?, etc.  The basic idea is you teach different subjects, but the center "project" is always the same.  This would be so more profound for kids than the 7 subjects for 1 hour each, every day.  I would divide the day into morning and afternoon and have two different projects going all week.  So in the afternoon for one week, or maybe even two weeks, we would keep coming back to the sandcastle for the entire afternoon.  I really think the smashing part would be invaluable.

I also think English in high school is the most important subject, because it actually teaches kids HOW TO LIVE WELL!  You can't teach religion or morality directly, but when you read Mark Twain in Junior English you learn the difference between a good man and a scoundrel!  The Odyssey teaches high school kids about sacrifice, leadership, and heroism.  English is really the only place where you could learn "life lessons."  Calculus, physics, history, foreign language?  Important, but it doesn't teach you how to be a decent person or, even better, (god forbid) HEROIC!

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 04, 2010, 05:57:57 AM
There is a difference between a creativity that draws from imagination and can be applied to the creative arts and a creativity that amounts to problem solving, and can be put to arithmetic and applied sciences. The latter is the opposite of rote memorization. I think it would be a positive thing to foster this type of creativity in young minds. Instead of giving the students a problem and a clear path to solving it, maybe there's a way to just give them the problem, and see how they do. This would of course be exclusionary, and flies in the face of this squeaky-clean notion of creativity that's being bandied about in public schools as yet another means of appealing to the lowest common denominator. I'm actually personally offended by this, to be honest. In my early education, I was thought of by teachers as being very creative; I don't think that means I'm stupid! But I imagine that, in the simplistic and insipid world of public education, 'creativity' is just a means of accommodating the poorest academic performers.

Re: Do schools kill creativity?
March 05, 2010, 12:47:05 AM
Anyone who has gone through the public education system can tell you themselves that it's very flawed. Some people excel in English, others do not. Some excel in math, others do not. Mandating what you will be graded upon regardless of your own personal strengths and weaknesses is wrong and realistically makes no sense. It's moreso just a "general education", assuming everyone subjects themselves to all the idiocy that others provide for us to indulge in. GENERAL education, that way you can't go wrong!

...Anyone ever wonder why there isn't a professor at a university that excels in every subject on campus? ;)