Creativity is defined as the process of developing new ideas that have specific meanings. It involves using imagination and original ideas. It, therefore, entails originality, progress or imagination. It is the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in problem-saving, communicating with others and entertaining ourselves as well as other people. Creativity requires people to view things in new ways or from a different perspective from other people. Among other things, they need to be able to come up with new ideas. The tests applied in creativity evaluate both alternatives that people can come up with and how unique the alternatives are. This does not occur by change; It is entwined to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, perseverance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the appreciation of things that are unknown. However, this has been crippled by schools, in as much as they educate
One of the creativity experts, Sir Ken Robinson, challenges the way children are being educated. He encourages a radical rethink of their school systems, to enhance creativity and acknowledge intelligence. Sir Ken argues that todays education is predicted on ones academic ability. Students are made to believe that their success in life is only based on their academic results .Their minds are, therefore, set only to make use of what is in their books and not their minds when it comes to critical thinking.
He continues to add how standardization of tests kills creativity. Teachers tend to punish those students that are not attentive in class, those who are not academically good, those who fail to complete their assignments in the given time or even those who start fights and pick on others. He argues that not all students can be on the same level. There will always be those who are attentive and those who are not, and that they should not be punished for it, as it could be that the un- attentive student might have conducted their research before the class scheduled time. He states that instead of focusing on personal improvement, they have standardized tests. This makes teachers handle students at a non-equal basis as they tend to alienate students who may be weak at a particular area but are stronger in other areas which less emphasis are put on .This may eventually lead to a large number of school dropouts.
Sir Robinson also states how tutors have created a hierarchy of subjects. He says that tutors tend to make some subjects such as sciences appear more important that art subject. Ken encourages the formation of education systems that encourage students to participate in their areas of best interest and performance. He insists that art subjects are as important as other subjects.
Robinson also highlights how rigidity of class time has killed creativity. Robinson argues that setting a class for short periods interrupts the flow of creativity and, therefore, provides a scape goat for those students that are unwilling to learn. This is because they know they will tolerate the subject for a few minutes only. Instead, Robinson says that class time should be flexible such that a student takes the time to understand that which is hard as he or she have the mentality of being stuck in that class for a long time. They, therefore, end up putting in more effort into understanding the hard stuff. Robinson states that cognitive science shows that the harder it is to lean something, the better you remember it (Ted, 1).
Suli Breaks in his poem I will not let an exam result decide my fate talks of the arguments that erupt between parents and children. Breaks talks of how students feel they do subjects that will not help them, yet their parents encourage them to do the very same subjects claiming that they will help them get good degrees and good jobs in future (Breaks,1). They end up doing subjects they are not interested in, which makes it even harder for them to pass and eventually results to wastage of time and resources as they later dont major in career fields related to this subjects.
On top of that, Breaks adds to how students cram for their exams instead of reading to learn. He talks of how students memorize dates and formulas and hardly remember them a few days after exams and how they strive to get good grades that are not even asked for by future employers. He says that at times, some students remember answers of a test they probably had a few minutes after the test has already been submitted, and these does not make a student less qualified(Breaks 1). Hence, Breaks insists that students should not all be tested by standardization means .Those that do not match up to the standards of their teachers and peers end up feeling discouraged which lowers their self- esteem and may eventually lead them to drop out of school. Besides killing creativity, Breaks adds that this kills equality in schools too.
Jose Vilson, in her article, says that common curriculum standards look appealing at first glance. Those who kill creativity in schools usually have no idea, as no one could be possibly against collaborative thinking, improved critical thinking and communication skills (Jose, 22). They only lack the bigger picture. The blogger and the teacher continue to add that those who advocate for common core standards are not future oriented. Jose says that one of the ways in which schools kill creativity is by making students do the same thing over a long period that results to boredom. To support this, she gives an example of a student she knew who was an eighth grader. The student was on the verge of being tossed out of middle school even though he was one of the brightest kids there. When he was asked why he was failing, he answered by saying he did not understand why they had to do the same things since third grade (Jose, 15). This shows how fixed school schedule and activities lead to monotony in schools.
Lou Aronica, in her article with Sir Ken Robinson talks of human beings as curious organisms. This curiosity is at its peak with young kids and adolescents who are constantly growing and have the determination to learn .The eagerness of learning, however, goes away as one goes through school, hence the need to keep it alive. This can only be done through transforming the education system. Lou terms school as all those people who are willing to come together to learn from each other, not only the conventional facilities and institutions set up for learning (Ken, 12). Furthermore, Lou states that there are many forms of schools, such as homeschooling and informational gatherings. This form of learning does not only take the form of person to person communication but can also be through the Internet.
As Lou advocates for the transformation of the education system, she encourages anyone who is involved in education in any way to take part in the change. She emphasis on three types of understanding that one should have in the education transformation process; a vision of how things should be done, a critique of the way things are and a theory of change for how to move from one to another (Ken, 24). The vision entails of how one desires the education system to be on the event of a change. Being a critique entails not being comfortable with the current education system as this is the biggest motivator of the change. Finally, the theory of change entails a plan on how the transformation process is going to occur from the current to another education system. She also emphasizes on understanding the sort of system used to change education.
Lou gives her reason for education revolution stating that the new education system is based on different principles from those of common standardization. She says it is based on the value of belief of the individual, the right to self- determination, our potential to evolve and live a fulfilled life and the importance of civic responsibility and respect for others (Ken, 32). She goes ahead to give four purposes of education. She begins with the social purpose that entails making students more social with those around them effectively. This enhances their communication skills and their public relation skills. This ultimately leads to the smooth flow of information both in their social and business worlds. The cultural purpose of education aims at enabling students to accept their culture and the culture of others. They learn to uphold and support cultures of other communities without discrimination. Personal purpose includes building one- self while the economic purpose helps students contribute to economic growth using creativity and knowledge.
Benjamin Carson, in his interview with The Academy of Achievement, states how he struggled with education. Ben talks of how his peers and classmates used to call him names because he did not perform well. Teachers mocked his scores before other students with the aim of humiliating him. They all considered him a fool because he was not a top achiever. The teachers did not bother to consider his strong points or consider other areas that Ben was good at. This changed when Ben discovered his love for rocks. He started spending most of his days walking around their neighborhood looking for and identifying rocks. He conducted a lot of research on the rocks and even took some to the labs to check on the characteristics of the rocks. Apart from studying rocks, he went out of his way to conduct research on animals and reptiles. This exploration of his new found interest made him top his class as he was able to identify rocks that other students did not identify.
Schools are great institutions that provide students with learning and socializing opportunities. However, schools have contributed majorly to the eradication of creativity ability in students as most schools limit the participation of students in areas of their best interest such as sports and arts. Students should be allowed to make their choices when it comes to determining their future. Developing creativity enables them to apply critical thinking in their future jobs. Practices such as making some subjects look more important than others and having rigid class times should be done away with to present opportunities for creativity among students.
Ken and Lou, Creative Schools, An imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2015.
Suli, B. I Will Not Let an Exam Result Decide My Fate. Genius Media Group Inc., 2015.
Benjamin, C. Ben Carson Biography, Academy of Leadership, 1996, Dublin, Ireland.
Jose, V. How Common Core Standards Kill Creative Teaching U.S News & World Report, 2014.
Vilson, J. Reign of Error, Nation at Risk Publishers, 1983.
Ken, R. Do Schools Kill Creativity? Ted Talk, 2006.
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