My theme for the Blogging from A to Z challenge is Creativity. Today I discuss the effect of education on creativity.
Does education—and I’m talking traditional education—help or hamper creativity?
“How Schools Kill Creativity”
Ken Robinson–writer, researcher, adviser, teacher and speaker—has been involved in many projects related to education and creativity, including leading a 1998 British advisory committee that studied the significance of creativity in education and in the economy. For this work, he was knighted in 2003.
He sums up what he works toward in one statement: “To transform the culture of education and organizations with a richer conception of human creativity and intelligence.”
In a widely watched 2006 TED talk entitled “How Schools Kill Creativity,” Robinson argues that “we are educating people out of their creativity.” He believes the current methods of education make people good workers, but not creative thinkers. He says students who may appear restless and distracted are ignored or stigmatized instead of having their energy and curiosity directed toward creativity.
TED.com offers these other quotes from Robinson’s talk:
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
“All kids have tremendous talents — and we squander them pretty ruthlessly.”
“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
“Schools are Necessary for a Creative Society”
Keith Sawyer, a professor of Educational Innovations at the University of North Carolina, wrote a 2012 article for the Huffington Post entitled, “Schools that Foster Creativity.” Inspired by Ken Robinson’s TED talk, Sawyer agrees that “creativity should be as important in education as literacy.” And he believes we need schools in order to have a creative society.
He says creativity takes many hours of hard work and dedication, and requires a large investment in learning and expertise. He says, “The path to the creative society of the future goes straight through the classroom. But not the memorize-and-regurgitate classrooms we have today — instead, classrooms that give students a deeper understanding of the material.”
Further, he says creativity doesn’t come with a “sudden flash of insight.” Instead, it’s a build-up of many small ideas, and the right type of education can teach students how to be creative rather than blocking creativity.
It seems both are arguing for a new way to teach, new classroom methods to encourage creativity instead of stifling it.
What do you think? Does education hamper or hurt creativity? Do we need to change the way we currently teach students in order to encourage their creativity? Is creativity important for our society and economy?