Schools Kill Creativity !

“… And my contention is, all kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly. So I want to talk about education and I want to talk about creativity. My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” – Sir Ken Robinson

In this fascinating TED Talk, Ken Robinson touches upon a subject that is very close to my heart. Schools, in their zeal to “educate’ students, often overlook, and some, indeed crush creativity ruthlessly. The emphasis on education becomes the driving factor. It’s all about results. Students are often forced into a race that many of them would otherwise be unwilling to participate in. As Ken states so brilliantly, “Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. Every one. Doesn’t matter where you go. You’d think it would be otherwise, but it isn’t. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on Earth. And in pretty much every system too, there’s a hierarchy within the arts. Art and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance. There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance everyday to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think math is very important, but so is dance. Children dance all the time if they’re allowed to, we all do. We all have bodies, don’t we? Did I miss a meeting? (Laughter) Truthfully, what happens is, as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side.”

I so agree with Ken on this. Hear him speak on this very critical, and often ignored, aspect of education.

I would prefer to let Ken do the talking, as he is probably much better at speaking than I am at writing, so hear him out, and ponder upon what he says.

To sum it up in Ken’s own words, ” I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology, one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won’t serve us. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children. There was a wonderful quote by Jonas Salk, who said, “If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.” And he’s right.”

Click this link to watch this video on TED’s website.

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  1. What a wonderful talk! Thank you for sharing it 🙂 Can’t help agreeing with Ken. I once read somewhere that if you truly want to know what you’re good at, think back to what you loved doing the most as a five year old (or in my case, I had to ask my parents!). Children are born equipped with everything required to survive on earth. We survived this long on earth didn’t we 🙂 As Albert Einstein said ‘The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education’

    • Agree whole-heartedly. There is something fundamentally wrong with our education system, which needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, our system is obsessed with education without creativity. It is beautifully summed up in a John W Gardener quote – “Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.”

  2. Thanks for sharing such an impressive talk by Ken Robinson.I feel schools give over emphasis to Maths and Science subjects,and most parents believe in the same.Creative areas like dance,music,photography,drawing and painting are made to take a back seat.
    I remember having read somewhere,”Education is the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the ignorant by the incompetent”

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