How Schooling Crushes Creativity

By Kerry McDonald
How Schooling Crushes Creativity

In 2006, educator and author Ken Robinson gave a TED Talk called, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” At over 45 million views, it remains the most viewed talk in TED’s history.

Robinson’s premise is simple: our current education system strips young people of their natural creativity and curiosity by shaping them into a one-dimensional academic mold. This mold may work for some of us, particularly, as he states, if we want to become university professors; but for many of us, our innate abilities and sprouting passions are at best ignored and at worst destroyed by modern schooling.

In his TED Talk, Robinson concludes:

I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology, one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won’t serve us. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children.

Education by Force

Robinson echoes the concerns of many educators who believe that our current forced schooling model erodes children’s vibrant creativity and forces them to suppress their self-educative instincts. In his book, Free To Learn, Boston College psychology professor, Dr. Peter Gray, writes:

In the name of education, we have increasingly deprived children of the time and freedom they need to educate themselves through their own means… We have created a world in which children must suppress their natural instincts to take charge of their own education and, instead, mindlessly follow paths to nowhere laid out for them by adults. We have created a world that is literally driving many young people crazy and leaving many others unable to develop the confidence and skills required for adult responsibility.

via How Schooling Crushes Creativity

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