Do Schools Kill Creativity and the Current Education System

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After recently reading article and watching Ken Robinson’s TED talk on ‘Do schools kill creativity?’, I wanted to share my opinions on the matter. Being creative is more than just being artistic, it also refers to being able to produce something useful and unique. Creativity enhances our intelligence and increase the rate of innovation, invention and problem-solving skills simultaneously. I believe it is an essential part of our lives, especially in our modern society, and how schools, instead of nurturing it, are indeed destroying it.

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I completely agree with the statement that there is a hierarchy of subjects with the languages and sciences given the most importance. During my first year of IGCSE, when selecting my subjects, I didn’t even have an option of dropping any one of the ‘core’ subjects such as the sciences and math and subjects such as drama and music weren’t even an option. This clearly shows how the Arts are given the least importance. A hundred and fifty years ago, during the industrial revolution, children were educated to meet the needs of society. Countries needed more mathematicians and scientists to develop their nations and tackle problems that they faced. But that was a hundred and fifty years ago, the world has changed a lot since then. Technology has advanced, and there is not as high as a demand as there once was for mathematicians and scientists. Schools must change to meet the needs of today’s society.

‘Creativity is as important to education as literacy and that we should treat it with the same status’- Sir Ken Robinson. The current education system is destroying students’ creativity. From a very young age, children are conditioned to achieve high grades. They are judged by their ability to memorize and as they grow older, they are educated progressively from the waist up. Children spend hours staring at a book for a test and this not only impacts their mental health but also their social ones too. They spend less time doing things that they like and with the people they care about and more time memorizing facts and statistics they aren’t going to be able to recall in a few months. This makes them more susceptible to mental health problems such as depression, sleep deprivation and stress.

The current education system focuses on the child getting the answer correct instead of emphasizing the use of the proper thought processes and technique and schools really are killing creativity . A child’s intelligence is based on the amount of information they are able to memorize and regurgitate on to the exam paper. This needs to change. Every child is unique and is better at somethings than others. Children also learn differently so teachers must teach in different ways to make children understand.

“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” – William Connor Magee. When what we are attempting isn’t working, we look for other ways to solve the problem, enabling us to think outside the box. Unfortunately, children are stigmatized by schools for making mistakes and are educated out of creativity as they are afraid of being wrong. Making mistakes help individuals accumulate experiences, which helps them build knowledge which permit them to do astonishing things. Schools should encourage students to make mistakes as I believe it provides them with an invaluable learning experience, helps them obtain new ideas and teaches them to become resilient.

Finland, having the best education system in the world, doesn’t give homework to students. This has played a key factor in improving the child’s creativity as it gives him/her more time to do extracurricular activities that they love which has been proven to increase creativity. There are no mandatory tests, but they do have an option of writing an exam at the end of their senior year. This is to prevent students and teachers learning with the sole purpose of passing a test but instead truly understand the topic. A serious problem with schools, is their grading system. Student’s futures are determined by a letter on a piece of paper. Failure to get a good grade in a subject that they’re not good at can result in demotivation and lack of self-esteem. As Albert Einstein once said “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by Its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that It is stupid.”

According to UNESCO, in the next 30 years, there are going to be more people graduating through education than since the beginning of history. This is a critical issue as it leads to academic inflation. What makes this worse is that technology is improving rapidly and is stealing jobs from people as computer programs or robots can do the same work in a shorter period of time. So, to get a well-paid job that used to require a BA, now requires a PhD.

The world has changed a lot over the past century, and our education system has not kept pace with it. The problem is that the majority of the population is going to try and find a job in the tertiary sector, and public schools can’t just change their whole system for a few students so the question do schools kill creativity is really important nowadays.

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