Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Education system: Is our creativity suppressed?
The education system is suppressing our creativity. A bold statement? Maybe...but allow me to explain in the only way I can think how. Here is an example: My little brother, now 8 years old, just moved with my parents from Sierra Vista, Arizona to San Diego, California. A couple years ago, elementary schools in Arizona took out classes relating to P.E., music and art. I just found out that my brother is enrolled in a school where the teacher decides if they want to spend their time teaching any one of these subjects. So now, because most teachers were not trained to teach music or art, my brother’s education is limited to academics with no emphasis on the arts. In my opinion, without the arts, the voices that drive creative intellect are lost, because they are not being practiced!
Recalling my childhood, the fondest memories I have of school were not all related to the academic learning, but to the more ‘creative learning,’ which I am partial to. I remember my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Winfield. Perhaps considered a little unethical in her method of teaching, I felt that her teaching style is what directed me to love the language arts.
Ms. Winfield’s class was designed in such a way that the students had the opportunity to develop their own grades. By this, she gave lists of tasks we could do to get an ‘A’ in her class. These tasks included writing poetry, reading books and giving book reports, compiling an English journal, etc. She would teach us grammar, vocabulary, etc., and we would dissect the language of the classics. She gave us full poetic license that allowed us to write without feeling inhibited by the rules she taught of grammar or sentence structure. She would educate us on the proper way of writing after we finished our work, but would not doc points from our grade, unless there was a bizarre spelling mistake. She made me discover how much I loved to write…something I continue to love.
I had other teachers who were so particular about how we would write. During those class periods, I felt like I was being chained to a desk. I felt the creativity stop seeping out of my fingers, and my writing became dull and often void.
It wasn’t until my opinion writing class in college, that I actually enjoyed writing again. Nancy Williams, my college professor, would ask us to write 10 minutes during each class period non-stop. The trick to this method of writing was that we were not allowed to go back and correct spelling, restructure our sentences or edit anything in our text. We just had to write. The rest of the class was spent on editing our writing. This exercise allowed us to get that internal editor out of our heads-the internal editor that had been placed there in our youth that never allowed us to come up with some brilliant pieces of work.
I had a friend send me this link today that I am so excited to share! I borrowed this intro from the site: Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people.
Here is Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?