Does school kill creativity? This topic becomes very famous after the TED talk of Sir Ken Robinson. According to him, our current education system hurts child’s creativity.
Many people believe that the traditional education system suppresses a child’s creativity and encourages conformity, leading to a lack of original thinking and innovation. But is it really true?
In this article, with the help of scientific studies and proofs, I will provide you with complete information does school really stifles creativity? We will also discuss strategies for promoting creativity in the school/classroom. So, you should read this article till the end.
Table of Contents
What is creativity?
Creativity is the ability to produce new and original ideas, products, and solutions, or to make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. It is also the act of being able to think outside of the box and come up with unique ideas.
Creativity can be expressed in many different ways, such as through art, music, writing, design, problem-solving, etc. It is also used as a synonym for genius.
Some people see it as an innate ability that some people have and others don’t while others believe that everyone has creative potential but they just need to be taught how to unlock it.
Creativity has a number of benefits for individuals and society as a whole. It boosts our self-esteem and improves communication skills, increases productivity and efficiency, as a result, leads to better career opportunities.
Engaging in creative activities can also positively affect our mental and emotional health. It reduces stress and increases our overall happiness. Now I hope you have got what is creativity and what are the benefits of creativity.
Does school kill creativity?
In one word the answer is yes. Yes, school kills creativity.
According to Dr. Margaret Boden Creativity expert and the founding Dean of Sussex University’s School of Cognitive, “the first thing we do to get rid of creativity is to put kids in school. In fact, you can’t be creative when you’re trying to please a teacher.”
You may have noticed that when we are kids our dreams are to become an astronaut, president, pilot, scientist, etc. But when we grow up to 13 or 14, our dreams narrow down to becoming a doctor, engineer, or lawyer.
And by the time we’re teenagers, many of us only want a good job. Due to the current education system, our creativity and dreams decrease as we grow up.
How school system destroy creativity?
The traditional school system stifles the creativity of students in a number of ways. But the 4 factors that impact creative thinking the most are written below.
Standardized testing: Standardized tests often focus on memorization and recall of information, rather than on critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Rigid curriculum: A strict curriculum discourages students from expressing their own ideas and opinions. And it also does not allow for flexibility which affects students’ creativity.
Emphasizing conformity: The school system places too much emphasis on conformity. Today’s education system is making fish climb a tree, leading students to feel discouraged from expressing their individuality and originality.
Lack of practical & experiential learning: The traditional school environment may not provide enough opportunities for students to engage in hands-on experiential learning activities that boost students’ creative thinking.
Why is creativity not taught in schools?
Schools are created to teach us how to think, not how to think creatively. They focus on getting us to conform, not encouraging us to be creative. Therefore, the creativity we learn at home is different from the creativity we learn in school.
Another reason creativity may not be taught in schools is that it can be difficult to measure creativity. Traditional methods of assessment, such as multiple-choice tests and essays, do not always effectively capture creativity.
The pressure on teachers to meet certain standards and prepare students for standardized tests can lead to a focus on rote learning rather than creative problem-solving.
Why are kids becoming less creative?
A study by NASA on creativity found that out of 1600 4 to 5 years old children, 98% scored at the “creative genius” level. Five years later, only 30% of the same group of children scored at the same level, and again, five years later, only 12% of children scored at that level. When the same test was administered to adults, it was found that 2% scored at this genius level.
Why are kids becoming less creative? I know our current education system has been killing the creativity of students for decades. But it’s not just a problem in schools. It’s also present throughout society.
We all want our kids to be creative and innovative thinkers who can find solutions for any problem or issue that arises in their lives. But what happens when those same people tell them not to be so creative?
In fact, we live in an era where creativity is being discouraged by everyone from teachers to parents to you and me. It is the harsh reality of today’s world.
The reason for this is simple, we’re all scared to fail due to which we never try something new, and never take risks. Our society is conditioned to think that creativity is dangerous as if it could lead us astray or cause us to make mistakes.
But always remember that creativity isn’t just a skill, it is an essential part of being human. Without it, we would have never progressed past hunter-gatherers living in caves.
Three Ways to Foster Creativity in Our Schools
Always remember although schools negatively affect creativity even then we can’t deny the benefits of school. It helps students develop important social skills, such as teamwork, communication, and making new friends.
It also provides a safe place for students to grow and learn. So, we should improve our current education system which increases students’ creative thinking.
There are many ways to foster creativity in schools, but here I will share the three most effective tips.
1: Teaching students how to think creatively
Teachers should teach students how they can apply their knowledge, skills, and talent in creative ways. This can be done in a variety of ways, including:
- Creative writing assignments that allow students to express themselves creatively through words or images.
- Art projects that involve students’ exploration of materials or techniques.
- Stage performances (like music, dance, drama, etc) where each student is given an opportunity to perform or create something unique.
2: Encourage students to pursue their passions
One of the best ways to boost creativity is to allow students to explore and pursue their interests and passions. This can be achieved through interest-based projects, which allow students to work on self-directed projects.
This type of learning not only improves creative thinking but also increases motivation and self-esteem.
3: Promote a culture of risk-taking and experimentation
Creativity often involves taking risks and trying new things and sometimes it is difficult in a traditional classroom setting where students may feel pressure to conform to certain expectations.
By promoting a culture of risk-taking and experimentation, teachers can encourage students to think outside the box and explore new ideas.
After analyzing all the scientific studies that I shared in this post and combining both theoretical knowledge and practical experience, I can confidently say, yes; schools do kill creativity.
But it is not accurate to say that schools intentionally kill creativity. While it is true that some traditional teaching methods and approaches may not always encourage creative thinking, this is not the case for all schools or all teaching methods.
Every school is different, some may place a greater emphasis on creativity and encourage students to think differently and some stick with their own traditional teaching style which hurts students’ creativity.
Additionally, creativity is not something that can be turned on or off like a switch. It is a skill that can be developed and nurtured through education and experience. Therefore, it is important for educators to find ways to foster creativity in their classrooms.
Frequently Asked Questions
1: Is the school environment conducive to creativity?
No, the school environment is not conducive to creativity. Because a school environment is overly structured, rigid, and focused on conformity. Factors detrimental to creativity in the school environment include excessive testing and grading, a lack of support, not having encouragement for creative thinking, and a lack of opportunities for students to express their creativity.
2: Do schools prioritize conformity over creativity?
Yes, some schools prioritize conformity over creativity, but it is not a universal truth. It completely depends on how a school deals with conformity and creativity goals, values, and educational philosophy because every school has there own policies. Some schools may emphasize following rules and guidelines, while others may prioritize creativity and encourage students to think outside the box.
3: Do traditional teaching methods inhibit creative thinking?
Traditional teaching methods, such as lectures, drills, and memorization, inhibit creative thinking. These methods tend to focus on conveying information and reinforcing existing knowledge, rather than fostering creativity and encouraging students to think in new and innovative ways. Besides this teachers who teach from a textbook and rely on rote memorization stifle students’ creativity because it is not always possible for every student to learn at the same pace or in the same way.