School kills creativity – Ken Robinson In his speech at the TED conference in February 2006, Sir Ken Robinson explains his idea that education is an important and essential part of everyone’s life for the progression and prosperity of a better life for the individual and a better world for humankind. The key to proper education, Robinson explains, is not only the regimented arithmetic, history, and arts; however, more importantly the need to allow for the creative process to rule one’s academic way of thinking. Robinson provides example, upon example of why creativity is not only important to an individual’s maturation and progression in life, but how that creativity ultimately benefits human civilization as a whole.
Education Kills Creativity
Sir Ken Robinson claims for a reformation of the current creativity retarding worldwide education system. His point of departure is that children are born with huge talents, wasted by the contemporary education system. While children are not afraid of being wrong, school and the ecological system eliminate this attitude. Robinson thinks that this, making mistakes, is the only way to develop new ideas, although getting on in life means not making mistakes. The education system has clearly hindered the development of creativity in today’s society by stunting children’s willingness to make and learn from their mistakes, progressively to a point at which time, as an adult, one is unwilling to make mistakes completely thwarting the creative process. Furthermore Sir Ken Robinson mentions an “academic inflation” around the world, since conditions for job entrance referring to one’s academic degree are raised(Robinson, 2006). Education, being developed in the 19th century, is a system focused on providing the requirements for a job in the industry and academic ability. Starting from the beginning children are educated to get out of the system with a degree.
The education system is geared to push students into higher education levels even if they don’t want to. This is then enforced and reinforced to a point where highly educated people are going to their professional jobs and coming home to play video games in excess. Robinson points out that the hierarchy of subjects around the world is the same: first comes mathematics and literacy, followed by science and humanities and concluded by dance and the arts. In Robinson’s opinion this is the right order of priorities for a scientific career, but not for people of the future which have to solve the world problems in a more creative way (Robinson, 2006). From birth, before education the main part of our lives, music is implemented. We start from the waist up only to move on to focus on our heads. In the days of our youth music is played and our hips start moving to the beat, the words to the song are irrelevant. Children have a way about them that in any situation they do not shy away or fear making a mistake because their innocence takes over. A child’s willingness to make a mistake is not that they know what they are doing is necessary wrong, it is that they are doing without shame or fear that they are wrong.
Robinson’s example of this was when his son was in a play about baby Jesus’ birth. The three kings’ men were children about the same age as his son, who was four years old at the time. The first king being out of order said to Joseph and Mary, “I bring you myrrh.” The second king states, “I bring you Gold.” Lastly the third king says “Frank sent this,” instead of frankincense (Robinson, 2006). This illustration paints a vivid point, that children have innocence about them that when they are told to do something they do it with no regard to whether it makes sense or not. Children are not frightened that they is a wrong answer. As the years pass and the education levels of learning are more intense, fear then sets into the minds of young adults and children. Whether the child will raise their hand and say the wrong answer, or a student dresses in a manner that is seen as indifferent from the rest. As a child, there is no objective, there is no right and wrong. It is simple living and doing what they are told and putting their own creative spin on life with no intension of impressing anyone. Many students going through the education system show how much thwarting truly does exist.
Talented people do not get the sense of achievement, because things they are good at are not valued at school; hence, their high creative potentials are wasted. The students are pressured into the idea or a sense of “this is how it is supposed to be” when they graduate from high school levels (Robinson, 2013). They are then persuaded by parents and economy, that in order to be successful they must further their education. This then creates an idea that without education there will be no sense of accomplishment; whereas in the 1950’s a person with a master’s degree teaching education was seen as a rarity. Although education is pushed on students, there are certain students that are different from most. Students that would be qualified under certain standards as having a learning disability or considered as slow. An example from Ken Robinsons speech, is Gillian Lynne, she was a student in the education system and was told she was slower than the rest and that she had issues with paying attention in class. Gillian’s mother took her to a specialist and expressed all the issues about her daughter as her Gillian sat listening. The doctor advised Gillian that he needed to disgust specifics with her mother outside the room. As he left, he turned the radio on and the two adults waited only a moment peeking in through the glass window pane of the door as Gillian arose to her feet dancing (Robinson, 2006).
The specialist then boldly stated your daughter doesn’t have a learning disability she just wants to dance. This is a perfect illustration of how many parents are told one thing and then told another, and also students. Gillian had the most creativity running through her body and mind but without the proper place to be able to express her emotions and actions, she was looked at as different from all the rest of the students. This has become a pattern in children, specialist unlike the one Gillian went to are so quick to say a child has ADHD or Autism instead of finding a different way for that child to express and free the creative mind within them. The education system has hindered the creative mind in society today and in comparison unschooling or otherwise known as home schooling has allowed for great creativity among students. “There’s no fixed curriculum, course schedule or attempt to mimic traditional classrooms. Unless, of course, their children ask for those things” (Italie, 2011). When there is no structure a student can explore the education system on his or her own time with no pressure or the rights and wrongs. John Holt is said to be the founder of unschooling. He was a fifth grade teacher who died in 1985 leaving behind many books about the ideas of unschooling and one book in specific called, How Children Fail.
“The book and others Holt later wrote propelled him into the spotlight as he argued that mainstream schools stymie the learning process by fostering fear and forcing children to study things they have no interest in.” (Italie) Holt proved that the education system is pressure schools to fulfill high educational standards when students have no interest. Ken Robinson also expressed the same example. To reiterate, educated professional are going to work only to come home and play video games. The school system has a way of killing creativity, in contrast, unschooling allows for other forms of education. Carol Brown is a mother from Colorado, who has choosen to home school her three girls. She did not pressure her children to learn mathematics until they were ready and didn’t force them to read until they wanted too. The Brown household always had art supplies, materials such as books and films as a source of learning. The family would visit beaches, museums and forests, not only allowing for enjoyable education but also allows for the family to bond (Italie, 2011). Most children are bored when they are in school and this makes for miserable learning conditions. The child either is very antsy or has no drive to learn more.
However learning outside of a classroom creates an abundance of freedom and that is an essential to learning. There is no right or wrong to how a child should grow up. “The real role of leadership in education…is not, and should not be, ‘command and control’; the real role of leadership is ‘climate control.’” (Robinson, 2013). The stifling atmosphere of today’s classrooms are stopping our children from becoming the creative adults that the world so desperately needs in order to overcome the obstacles and challenges that humankind is yet to face. Robinson is calling upon the world to change the way we educate our young so that, we, as human civilization stand a chance at solving the problems of the world and advancing society by leaps and bounds. It is time to allow ouSirr children to use their creativity and for us adults to search our inner selves and find our innate creative nature so that we can be the men and women of tomorrow.
Italie, L. (2011, August 29). ‘Unschooling’ Gaining Popularity, Allows Children Alternative Learning Tools. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/29/unschooling-gaining-popul_n_940770.html Robinson, K. (2006). How schools kill creativity. Retrieved from
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