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Is School Killing Creativity?

I’ll be honest with you all, I didn’t come to ask this question on my own. There is this amazing video of a TED presentation made by Ken Robinson about how he believes the school system as we know it is killing creativity in young people. [see end of post]

Now I don’t think of myself as a psychologist or sociologist by any means. Instead, this article is mostly centered around the perspective of a student, currently enrolled in the public school system. Also, I was in a private school from the grades 7-10, and have that perspective as well.

Lets look at the goal of the school system. The purpose surrounding it all is to educate the youth of America for as many career opportunities as they can, in the shortest time possible. In theory, this is a very worthy goal. After all, many people, either due to family situations or personal preference, choose not to go to school, and need to have all their education in grades 1-12. But here is where we start to have an issue: instead of giving the youth as wide of horizons as possible, the schools are focusing more and more on 3 main subjects. Math, English and Science.

If we were all Vulcans this would be just fine. But we’re not, we are human beings and as such we need things like music and art to have a deep culture with ties to the past. Look at the french, as far as they have gone to contribute in the fields of science and literature, they are most proud of their artistic expression and heritage. As one of the most, if not THE most, powerful nations on the planet, we are striving to make our children have a leg-up on the international competition, but at what cost?

In reality (as Ken points out) we are a society that is making the college professor (PhD of course) the ideal intellectual goal. Unfortunately it’s not just us, almost all countries are doing this! With international travel and cooperation at an all time high, it is getting easier and easier for our Asian cousins to take the high paying jobs that we would otherwise have had. With that in mind, what’s the problem? Why the heck shouldn’t we do anything and everything to stay at the leading edge in the race for intellectual superiority?

I’ll tell you why: because it’s killing us. Millions upon millions of people around the world are going to a workplace every day that they hate, to a job that pays too little, to be berated by a boss that thinks he’s god. As a result, happiness in the workplace is so low that there are psychiatrists who make their whole living off working specifically with white collar businessmen who have trouble dealing with the stress. This is ridiculous.

To get back to the point, what I am saying is the same as Ken: put more emphasis on the arts. Ensure that art classes have the same funding potential as any other, because what use is having all the knowledge in the world, if the only people around to share it with are mindless slaves to their “intelligence”.

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  1. January 7, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Yes, I must completely agree with you, as I have before about this.
    School is supposed to prepare us for the future, but then we have to address, what is that future?
    And the art classes are the first thing to be cut from school courses, before athletics, before anything. There is obviously no value put into these artistic skills, when in actuality they matter more than some realize.
    Athletics on the other hand, I see no purpose in except for trying to gain school spirit and give lunkheads something to be proud of. I need something to be proud of too besides the brute force of humanity that can be seen everyday. Art.

    By the way, you know who this is.

  2. expaw
    January 31, 2012 at 5:17 am

    hi??

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