In this TED Talks video, Sir Ken Robinson, discusses how our schools kill children’s creativity. He argues that we need to start fostering creativity in our children through school, and that we need to stop teaching to just one type of child. He begins by making general statements such as all students are exceptional, and they all have tremendous talent which we squander. He claims that creativity is now as important as literacy, he says that naturally children are not afraid of making a mistake or being wrong, and that they will try something regardless of what might happen. He says that all these things are changed through school. These are all big statements, and I don’t think I agree with all of them.
Lets start at the beginning, I agree that students are taught not to be creative in schools, I think that many teachers have taken away children’s ability to just relax and create something, whether that be a story, a picture, a play, a dance, or anything else they can think of. I believe this because it happened to me. I have always enjoyed being creative, especially art, however, in school I was always scared of getting the wrong answer, I was scared that my craft would not be as good as the others, and that it would be ‘wrong’. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment or event that caused me to do this, but I do know that when I was at home, I enjoyed art because I knew it wouldn’t be criticized. I agree with Ken Robinson when he says that we teach a certain kind of person, we teach in a way that works for people who will end up being University Professors, because we teach academically, and not creatively. I also agree with Ken Robinson when he says that he believes all students are exceptional, and that all of them have tremendous talent, which we tend to squander. Through my own personal schooling, and throughout my placements in the last four years, I have seen teachers limiting creativity of certain children. I don’t believe that they were doing it on purpose, but I do think that their practices that came naturally to them, were practices that looked down on individual students and their abilities.
One thing that I questioned from his talk was the idea that children are not afraid of being wrong, and that they will take a chance no matter what. I think that that is a very general statement, and that it can not be applied to all children. Some children don’t care, they will take chances, and if they are wrong they will be able to take it in stride and move forward. However, other children, like myself, will always struggle with worrying about getting it ‘right’. I think that these children do well academically, school for them becomes natural, because they want to have the right answer, and they develop strategies to make sure that that happens. For the other students however, school becomes difficult, because teachers do not always accept their answers or creative expression as ‘right’ even though they generally make sense. I believe that these students get ‘educated out of creativity’, I believe this because my brother was almost one of them. My brother has always been a ‘free-spirit’ he is creative, and taking chances came naturally to him, however, he struggled in school, teachers often thought that he was misbehaving, and he was always getting into trouble. Over the years, his creativity started to dwindle, and it wasn’t until he got out of high school that he really started to regain that.
As a result of my experiences, I really appreciate this video, I don’t want to be the teacher that ‘kills creativity’ I want to use my experiences, and frustrations to guide my teaching, and I want to help all of my students to succeed, whether they get the ‘right’ answer or not.