“Schools kill creativity”

Here is a superb video that is really worth watching. If you’ve got twenty minutes to spare, I highly recommend it. Or save it for a day when you do have the time. Robinson makes some very interesting and valid points.

“Our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability. And there’s a reason. The whole system was invented — around the world, there were no public systems of education, really, before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism. So, the hierarchy is rooted on two ideas. Number one, that the most useful subjects for work are at the top. So you were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds you would never get a job doing that. Is that right? Don’t do music, you’re not going to be a musician; don’t do art, you won’t be an artist. Benign advice — now, profoundly mistaken. The whole world is engulfed in a revolution.

And the second is, academic ability, which has really come to dominate our view of intelligence, because the universities designed the system in their image. If you think of it, the whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. And the consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people, think they’re not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or was actually stigmatized. And I think we can’t afford to go on that way.”

I can’t get it to embed properly, so here’s the link.

I hope you watch. If you do, leave me you thoughts about the video and let’s discuss!


4 responses to ““Schools kill creativity”

  1. Elaine Freundlich

    For some unknown reason I couldn’t play the video but I have seen it elsewhere. I agree wholeheartedly with what he says. We can’t all be high-flyers; we still need people to sweep the streets, unblock drains etc. I don’t feel that these people are ‘beneath’ me. Formal education is not right for everybody and I am sure there are people who fail generally in life because they are made to feel failures at school. I could discuss this all day – I have plenty of examples.

    • There was something wrong with the embedded video, and I realized that I couldn’t play it either!! Fixed it so it just links now.
      I agree that formal education is not the right path for everyone. One fascinating example given in this video is that of Gillian Lynne. It wasn’t a name I was familiar with, but she is a famed choreographer. She would fidget in class, and her teachers told her parents they thought she had a learning disorder. Robinson says, and I think he’s absolutely right, that these days, she would be diagnosed with ADHD and medicated.
      It is terrifying to think about the number of children that are being medicated these days. We throw “solutions” around instead of considering the fact that these children may have tremendous talents in avenues that we do not consider to be traditionally important.
      I hope that we see a shift in the education system and what we deem as important. I’d love to live to see a system that values work in all avenues, and emphasizes a balance that values the creative pursuits rather than a leaning towards only valuing the sciences.

  2. I’m currently teaching English in Thailand and this post is a great way for me to realize how flawed ALL education systems are, not just the government-ruled, paper-trail that is Thai schools. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m so dearly enjoying what I’ve read to far on your blog, and definitely will work my way back. Your experience sounds fascinating, and frustrating. It’s easy to stand here and talk about the problems in our system, but what you’ve spoken of in your writing is far more severe. Unfortunately, I think that parallels can be drawn in both systems though… unfortunately. We have developed to a point where, as a system, we are far to eager to operate on a single metric, holding children to the standard of specific tests, and it gets us nowhere. We present the test as the measure of all worth, and it’s useless. The teachers know it, as they have to teach to the tests, rather than teach their students until they’re confident that they understand. The bureaucracy balances on numbers, and it does no one any good. This is a truth rings true in the U.S. and in Thailand… and my guess is that it’s the same the world throughout, but to varying degrees of severity. It’s a shame our leaders turn a blind eye to this sort of thing; in the end no one gains and everyone pays the cost in one way or another because no one gets the attention that they truly need. Oof, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

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