I was blessed with a creative bone in my body. I loved to draw and dance and sing. For the first few years of my education this was encouraged and fostered. I attended a Stiener school until grade three.
Upon enrollment at a public primary school I was no longer allowed to climb trees; that was what the metal climbing frame was for. It was safer. I was too far behind because I couldn’t yet write a story, but I could tell one with more imagination than anyone in the class. Art was a boring affair of cut and paste; hardly engaging or inspiring for a student who had come from making candles and real wooden jigsaws. Class was inside; outside was to noisy, cold and messy.
Are we destroying potential in our classrooms? Are we unintentionally killing creativity in our kids?
Today I was on the hunt for inspiration and stumbled upon Ken Robinson on TED about how ‘schools kill creativity’ which in turn reminded me of Yong Zhao (who I had the pleasure of listening to live) and I couldn’t help agree with what they were implying… we are unintentionally restricting our students and their futures.
Our education system is based on the old tradition; a conveyor belt manufactoring line pumping out our everyday workers. In the old days there wasn’t room for creativity and imagination; it got in the way of the real work. Now, sometimes it seems the main purpose is not to create critical thinkers or active citizens rather compliant university applicants.
All this got me thinking, how am I contributing to this sad state of affairs?
If I want a good review I feel like I am forced to teach to the NAPLAN. If I want to show value adding in VCE I need to teach to the exams. I am preparing students for year 12, but am I really preparing them to think? For real life? To be creative and inspiring? To be innovators? As a high school teacher sometimes I feel like the damage is done. I set a creative task or an open task and students are lost and confused.
I think Darcy Moore said it nicely in his post “If the education system was destroyed last night” that the purpose of our education should be to ‘learn how to learn’ so that students are able to be lifelong learners and critical consumers of information in this increasingly hectic global age. We should be teaching creative skills not forcing bland often outdated and irrelevant information down our students throats.