Does Our Education System Kill Creativity?

There has been much criticism of our education system because it seems like it hasn’t been adapted to current times or even improved upon. The idea of creativity has been just one of the topics that are often covered in these discussions. Can being creative mean different things to different people? What can we do to increase creativity in our students? The final, big question is does the way our school system work diminish student’s creativity?

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I think many of us assume that creativity has one meaning. Some of us might also consider the idea that you are born with it or it can be developed. None of these thoughts are right or wrong. Creativity can be about imagination, self-expression, and innovation. Creativity can also mean using logic and scientific principles to solve problems (McLennan, 2019). There are definitely some people who are more creative than others. It is just a skill which some people possess more than others.

I don’t think education is about memorizing facts and dates as they teach in History. In school, we are encouraged not to color inside the lines. We are also taught that being “good” means being quiet and still (Dalile, 2012). While energetic students are usually reprimanded for being too hyper. Maybe it’s time to change what we teach and how. For instance, schools should start including a more diverse range of subjects in their curriculum (McLennan, 2019). We could have art or poetry classes. We could even start teaching traditional subjects in a different way. Instead of memorizing dates in history class students can act out certain events to feel connected to what they are learning.

There is no perfect school system but some are better than others. Schools can diminish creativity by the teaching style they use. Most of the subjects in school like math, science, and history (as I mentioned above) require structured right or wrong answers. While classes like art are available at schools they are usually taught as an elective and not a core subject. Maybe the procedure in which the above subjects are taught can increase creativity in young children.

To sum up, I would say our school system is not actively trying to destroy creativity. Just the way the learning takes place favors the skill of critical thinking over creativity. However, there are ways that we can keep the good things about our education system while increasing creative skills in our pupils. The first step is to consider our definition of creativity. The next step is for our schools to broaden their curriculum to include mandatory, more creative subjects (McLennan, 2019). I think it’s impotent to remember while our school system is not the best at fostering creativity we still have very bright and creative students coming out of it. Also, not everyone has to be skilled in creativity, we still need future leaders who are more talented in critical thinking.

Works Cited

Dalile, L. (2012, June 10). How Schools Are Killing Creativity. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/line-dalile/a-dictator-racing-to-nowh_b_1409138.html

McLennan, N. (2019). Do schools really “kill creativity”? – RSA. Retrieved from https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2018/04/do-schools-kill-creativity

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2 comments

  1. Jessica Kramer

    Nicely done! Back when I was taking psych 260 a few semesters ago, I chose to write my term paper on how art is lateralized in the brain, while also trying describing how art affect’s one’s behavior, where creativity is lateralized, and more.
    Artistic function is localized in a number of different brain regions. A few to mention are the medial front lobe and the parietal lobe because they are activated when an individual is doing a creative task such as an art-making activity (Kruk, Aravich, Deaver, & deBeus, 2014).

    Creativity is a fascinating topic because it is a complex process. Creative people are shown to have different characteristics depending on gender. Studies have shown creative men as being adventurous, versatile, and ingenious (Russ, 2014). Creative women are shown to be more conventional then men, while also showing specific adjectives such as being responsible, thoughtful, and reliable (Russ, 2014). Creativity can be stimulated by one’s own personality traits, which include openness to experience, curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and the propensity for risk taking (Russ, 2014).

    Children, adolescents, and adults alike need an outlet and they need a space to release their creativity. Because of budget cuts, many schools are letting go of their art and music departments. Yes, art and music isn’t a main core subject like science or mathematics is, but it still enhances a child’s education. My high school actually cut the graphic arts department last year, which I was told it was full of students. It wasn’t because of a lack of signing up for the classes. Although I don’t see why there is a need to take away classes like this, if schools are taking the creativity out of school then there needs to be more ways and outlets for students to express themselves creatively.

    References
    Kruk, K. A., Aravich, P. F., Deaver, S. P., & deBeus, R. (2014). Comparison of brain activity during drawing and clay sculpting: A preliminary qEEG study. Art Therapy, 31(2), 52-60. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1080/07421656.2014.903826

    Russ, S. W. (2014). Pretend play in childhood: Foundation of adult creativity. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1037/14282-000

  2. I found your post interesting because as an artist myself, I’ve thought about the topic of creativity within the school systems. Personally, I can remember having an elective art class, as you mentioned, instead of a core art class. In my experience, elective classes were not taken as seriously, almost as if they were a joke. Even in the way the art course was taught, I felt as if it wasn’t enforced to the extent that core classes like biology, algebra, etc. were. For me, this was a shame because being a fan of art myself I truly looked forward to the course and I felt that the way it was taught diminished my excitement. I believe this is a major problem, because it not only interferes with a student’s excitement and effort, but it leaves a terrible impression on the elective courses in general. It almost portrays the creative elective courses, such as woodshop, art, culinary, etc. as being not as important as science or literature-based courses. This is extremely unfair, as it essentially tells the students who are interested in these creative areas of study that their interests are not as worthy as those in the core areas. In my opinion, this can be extremely damaging to high school-aged students who are actively contemplating what they’d like to do with their futures. Passing judgement on a woodshop course or an illustration course can completely deter a student from considering a career in general contracting or animation, because they question the credibility based on the value that the school places on it. My hopes are that maybe schools have changed for the better no.

    Thanks for bringing this topic forward!

    Cassie

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