Do Schools Kill Creativity?

In Careers, Education, Personal Growth by jtopz0 Comments

“…we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.”

– Ken Robinson

We all champion the cause of education, wanting to get the best degrees and qualifications because frankly, you won’t be taken seriously without them. Is it true that we get educated out of our creativity? Do schools abroad and at home encourage creativity right now, or do they suppress it? What is wrong with our education system within the country and outside of it? The TedTalk below was given about 10 years ago. Has the education system changed for the better since this talk was rendered, or is it still the same?

Ken Robinson, a creativity expert on how children are educated, answers this question, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”. He says that when we were kids, we took chances.

Pause. Think about it, when you were younger, say 2 years old, when your hands could touch everything slightly above your head, you wanted to take everything, cut something with a knife, put your hand in the fire, scribble with a pen, say big words your dad spoke, etcetera.

He said, “If they (children) don’t know, they’ll have a go. Am I right? They’re not frightened of being wrong. I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original — if you’re not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.” Do you agree with this? Are we truly taught to never make mistakes? Do things this way always, never this way or that way? If you don’t you have failed. 

Were you ever told that you can’t study “that”(the course you are interested in, e.g, Music, Creative Arts, etc) because you won’t get a job? Don’t study that because you will have no success in life doing that? Your creativity was suppressed at that time, until you couldn’t bear it anymore and decide to just deviate from that course you had chosen, the career path your parents and friends advised you to take because you would get a good job.

He also mentioned that the education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability. “We need to radically rethink our view of intelligence.”

What did he mean by the first statement? What was he talking about when he said we need to radically rethink our view of intelligence?

Watch the TedTalk below to get the full gist of what Ken Robinson was talking about.