One of the first things I downloaded on my iPhone was the Ted Talks video that featured Sir Ken Robinson, the one titled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” For some reason, it’s one of those pieces of content that I feel like I have to consume every few months or so. It just says so much about what’s wrong with the current view of education, and it’s one of the reasons why we’re encouraging our kids as much as possible to play and dance and draw and sing. (In fact, we may be dropping a family trip to the beach in a couple of weeks so Tess can go to drama camp…like she needs it.) I love when he says:
“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 in school wasn’t valued or was actually stigmatized. And I think we can’t afford to go on that way.”
He makes such a compelling case for rethinking our approach, yet it’s a case that we here in America certainly aren’t listening to. A study released yesterday of about 350 districts across the country showed that 44% of them were reducing time on art, music, health and physical education. Instead, we’re getting more and more focused on reading and math where the standardized test scores really matter, a 31% decrease overall in subjects that aren’t tested.
Now I know Daniel Pink isn’t an educator, and I hear those who are wondering why we here in edbloggerworld seem to revere “A Whole New Mind” as much as we do. But when he says that creativity and right-brained thinking will be more and more crucial to success, that an MFA will mean more than a MBA, it resonates because we’re in a highly creative space. In this network, creativity abounds. At almost every turn, people are pushing the tools, playing, making connections, trying things out, succeeding and failing in most transparent ways. And the cool thing is, we all learn from what others do, at least I do, whether it works or not. To me, Twitter and CommentPress and Skitch, which I’m playing with tonight, cropping photos in new ways and experimenting, are chances to explore and to dig…to construct. Yeah…we construct with Twitter. What a concept. Or watching my kids play with Scratch. Why is this any different from putting pencil to paper and drawing, writing stories, making ideas become real? Creating?
But it’s obvious our classrooms and our structures don’t support this, nor can they when saddled with standards like the ones we’ve imposed. If Pink is right, if my kids really will need to be more creative and flexible thinkers to succeed in their futures, we’ll have to be the ones to get them there.
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