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The Death of Creativity

December 7, 2010

So much of all the education in our lives is for the sole purpose of “getting ahead in life.” And sure, it is obviously important to get a headstart, if you don’t get a high score on your SAT/PSAT/ACT/AP/GRE/LSAT/GMAT/AHHHH! then some other kid will and you will “lose your spot at _____ University”. But this is such a short sighted view of things. What schools should do is make kids into critical thinkers, able to parse through the increasing amount of data floating around the universe today and make sense of it. Schools should develop childrens sense of curiousity, creativity and yearning for something more.

The video above, a truly inspirational talk by Ken Robinson entitled “Do schools today kill creativity” is a moving case for educational reform. It is interesting to look through the comments underneath the video, and really are some gems. One of my favorites, which is a view I hold, goes like this:

I think most people after watching this have been jolted back to memories of early/mid schooling and found moments where a little part of them has died, and it wasn’t them who put it to death. I was told I couldn’t write and that music was not a career. Although in my case I have become successful in spite of these comments, I still harbor wounds from them.  -credit to jimmyjimmyshortcakes

There are  some who do not share this view, however:

No, I do not belive that schools hinder creativity. With all of the clubs and extracuricular activities that the school provides almost everyone should be able to find something to express there own idividual creativity. Art, music, sports, and even academics, there are many orginazations that schools allow for students to do what it is that they like.  -credit to RyanAR

But I have to argue with this point. My high school (keep in mind this was only 3 years ago!) had an unbelievable amount of extracurriculars. We had volunteer clubs, language clubs, music clubs, arts clubs etc… There were the sports and academic clubs (I myself was in the unbelievably dorky Physics and Math clubs). But save a few choice examples, these were not creative outlets. Even my pride and joy, my drama club which I participated in for 4 years, was just a springboard for college. No creativity was encouraged, you just held the party line and did exactly what “colleges wanted you to do”.

The problem in my opinion is that there is no way to go back and do it again, no way to know if those 200 volunteering hours you fudged for your college apps were worth it. If there was a more integrated creativity support system from colleges, high schools might be better off. I don’t know about Harvard and Yale, but I know UChicago students are excepted based heavily on just how creative their essays can be. I have friends who just drew pictures, 8 pages of pictures, and got in here. If that isn’t both creative and ballsy for a college app, I don’t know what is.

All in all, conformity in schools, declining teacher ratings and the pressure to succeed will just cause the death of creativity!

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