Ted Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
In the Ted Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robinson shares his experiences with education and the importance of creativity. He claims that education strips children from their creativity. I believe, that if we are not careful, he is right.
I was in a Kindergarten classroom a few years ago, completing my field experience for a College of Southern Idaho education class. One day the students were asked to create a pig out of the letter P. The teacher had a model of the creation. The P was on it’s side and had four legs coming from the long line of the letter P. The circular portion of the letter P was his face, with two ears, two eyes, and a mouth. The pig was lying down. One student, created the P standing up, with one eye, half of a nose, one ear, one leg, and half of a mouth. At first glance, I began to think she completed the assignment incorrectly and I wanted to help her fix it. When I kneeled down to discuss her artwork, the student looked at me and began telling me that this pig was tired of lying down and wanted to take a walk. I did not discuss with her of what I had initially thought, instead I told her that her pig was fantastic and asked her if she would like to share her pig with the rest of the class. She agreed and she was full of smiles. Later that day, after the children went home, the mentor teacher told me that I should have corrected her. She said that this child was always doing things wrong. She did not follow directions. I was shocked. I wanted to cry. I explained to the teacher what the student told me and I also told her that every other letter they have completed was right side up. I chose to stand up for the student and I wanted to know why the teacher had thought we needed to change her artwork. The teacher had no answer. We never brought it up again.
I have seen this video before, but I have not made this connection to this particular situation. I do not know if this scenario happened again for this student. Was she told that she wrong? Did she have to complete the assignment again? I am glad that for at least for one moment that child was celebrated for her creativity. I am glad that I did not put a stop to it. I am saddened that a teacher would. If we are to create a classroom that fosters creativity, we need to change the focus from the teacher to the student. The student did not do this to be wrong, the student did not do this because she was lazy; she had a purpose and a story. As teachers, we need to allow for “mistakes” so the process of learning and creativity can take place. There is time for corrections during this process (spellings, incorrect facts, computation errors,etc). New ideas and something that is not on the lesson plan should be encouraged. I mean what if the girl who is allowed to let her pig go for a walk, keeps her creativity? If she is allowed to process her creativity now, imagine what she can be able to do in the future? As Sir Ken Robinson explains, what if she allows her brain to cross disciplines freely and does not put her creativity in a brain compartment for art class only and thinks of a way to cure brain cancer?