As the incredibly intelligent Sir Ken Robinson once stated, “Creativity is as important as literacy.” However, someone along the way, society as a whole has forgotten this assertion, completely discouraging creative children from pursuing creative careers. But beyond musicians, painters, and dancers, creativity is a beneficial skill to possess when working in any field. It can be certainly said that among Van Gogh, Einstein, Curie, and Di Vinci, the single most powerful skill they all utilized was creativity. The adoption of standardized testing and curriculum has greatly limited creative thinking, as it is no longer being promoted. In order to progress society, we must find a way to instill creative values rather than merely teaching our youth how to mindlessly solve integrals.
Sir Ken Robinson defines creativity as “the process of having original ideas that have value.” Notice that this definition does not bind creativity to artistic endeavors, but rather creates a broad application of being original in ideas and execution. It is important to understand and accept this broader definition, as it portrays the importance of creativity in all sectors of life. If creativity is an important part of decision-making, why have we continually ignored and stigmatized it in schooling?
An Exploration Into Sir Ken Robinson’s Revolutionary Claim:
As I mentioned in my introduction video, I first watched Sir Ken Robinson’s revolutionary Ted Talk while I was sitting in a stuffy English classroom, doodling in the margins of my copy of The Scarlet Letter. Ever since that moment, Robinson’s words have lived with me every day of my life, especially when I find myself facing a paralyzing moment of creative block. For Robinson, creativity is all about a willingness to be wrong and make mistakes, however, the education system treats being wrong as the worst thing possible. This punishment for being wrong takes away children’s desire to merely “give it a go,” therefore, limiting them from discovering their natural talents. Robinson also does a fabulous job of explaining how and why the education system has shifted away from inspiring creativity and towards mass-producing average workers. He explains how there has been great inflation of college degrees, meaning that mandatory schooling has shifted towards merely grooming children into having the perfect transcript and resume to get them into the school of their dreams. As a society, we must realize that a person’s measure of intelligence and success is so much more than an A in an AP class. Robinson understands that the future is vastly uncertain and problematic, meaning that teachers should be preparing their students to develop creative, imaginative, and innovative solutions to the problems of tomorrow. Limiting a child’s creativity in the classroom is no way to prepare for that.
Sir Ken Robinson defines creativity as “the process of having original ideas that have value.” Notice that this definition does not bind creativity to artistic endeavors, bAs I mentioned in my introduction video, I first watched Sir Ken Robinson’s revolutionary Ted Talk while I was sitting in a stuffy English classroom, doodling in the I have nearly a thousand stories I can share regarding ways in which I have felt creatively limited in school. From the expectation of taking AP classes to pressure to receive all As, I have continually had to place my creative nature to the wayside, ultimately leaving me rather unfulfilled as a student. This particular incident happened to me only a week ago: I was sitting in my school’s director and choreographer’s office working on a calculus worksheet in preparation for the upcoming AP exams during my study hall period. I was entirely bored out of my mind. I sat there looking at the blank sheet of paper with absolutely zero motivation to pick up my pencil and solve problem after problem. I was pulled out of my daze when my choreographer asked if I was busy, and if not, if I could help her choreograph a short little dance number. I shot up from my seat, excited to work on something creative. She handed me some sheet music and told me to get to work. It all came to me so naturally, and beyond that, I was having so much fun doing it. I finished the piece with time to spare, so I went back to that calculus worksheet and was able to complete it in no time. Some time to be creative was all I needed. Creativity is all anyone ever needs. Below, please enjoy a collection of photographs titled “Facing Creative Block.”
While an entire education reform can seem rather daunting, and as a singular student the task appears practically impossible, small steps can be taken to at least prevent yourself from being bogged down by the modern schooling system’s limitations on creativity. In his argument “Against School,” John Taylor Gatto provides an optimistic outlook on the same issue that Robinson clearly outlined. Gatto believes that once you understand that schools are truly limiting their student’s full potential, especially creatively, you can easily avoid their tricks and traps, by encouraging children to “develop an inner life so that they’ll never be bored.” Essentially, Gatto believes that by inspiring students to question what they are being taught and explore deeper into complex subjects, their creativity will no longer be halted. The beauty of this solution, as Gatto himself notes, is its simplicity: “Let them manage themselves.”
The modern schooling system has limited the creativity of its students for far too long. It is time that as students we fight back against the limitations and stigmatism of being imaginative and creative. Be willing to make mistakes and have questions. Do not feel forced to pursue a life reflected on the standardized principles taught within the confines of a concrete block classroom. Please leave any comments or questions in the section below and remember: be daring, be passionate, be creative.
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