Creativity expert and author Sir Ken Robinson says that creativity is as important to education as literacy. Schools however, he adds, could be doing a better job of widening their understanding of intelligence to move education beyond a protracted preparation for careers as university professors.
Picasso once said this, he said that "all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up." I believe this passionately: That we don't grow into creativity; we grow out of it. Or, rather, we get educated out of it.
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 at 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 every day to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think maths is very important, but so is dance.
After watching the film, consider the following questions and exercises alone or with colleagues at your school.
- Do you agree with Robinson that public education is, in fact, educating children out of their creativity? Why or why not?
- Robinson defines creativity as the process of "having original ideas that have value." Using that definition, cite examples of the last time that you or one of your students came up with a creative idea. What criteria did you use to determine the idea's value?
- Brainstorm ways that you might allow students more creative outlets in your subject area or daily classroom routine.
Creativity is part of being human, and everyone has it in various areas and to different degrees, say experts. So how can schools do a better job of recognizing and encouraging creativity during class to stimulate thinking and as preparation for the future work arena? ASCD Express offers numerous examples of programs, approaches, and activities that schools are using to unlock this often untapped potential in their students.