Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Prepare to Make Mistakes

This excellent talk really made me think about the value modern society places on creativity. Sir Ken Robinson is right in that the way our educational system is structured - creative influences and opportunities are at the bottom of our educational barrel.

Personally, I have always had positive reinforcements with regards to my artistic skill, and as a result, they were nurtured into my current career as a graphic designer. But in throwing open my own small window of perspective onto the world I've never really felt smart. Creative yes, but not truly smart. I can say that I have always had good grades - consistently A/B throughout grade school, high school and college, with a couple Cs. Definitely not brilliant, but at least a bit above average. I think my natural talent and enjoyment I found in drawing, painting and other mediums allowed me to excel in art class; but educational convention only allowed them to visit at my window once a week. (This isn't a pity party folks - and feel I received a good early education. And truly believe life is learning. I don't think one should ever stop or even slow. I just enjoy theorizing about the "what ifs" hoping one day they will turn into "why not do it now's?")

But viewing Sir Ken Robinson's talk above, it makes me beg the question: If I'd been allowed the opportunity to specialize early on, would I be more accomplished in my creativity now, less afraid to cut my own path, smarter artistically, and as Sir Robison mentioned - more creative? Would children's future lives be more well-rounded, more innovative, with more opportunities for those that excel creatively? Would there be more brilliant minds because they were not afraid to be wrong once and a while - because we restructured our educational system to not tailor the children to the tests, but rather the tests to the children?

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At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

And should we also be teaching them problem solving skills rather than rote that allow them to achieve new heights of intuition and brilliance?

Very interesting talk by Sir Ken Robinson, and he is funny to boot.

And doesn't "No child left behind" stifle the creativity of children?

I know in my lifetime that I have sparked and intrigued several children into pursuing their dreams while I have given talks and demonstrations. I would observe that little light bulb turn on in the eyes of one child in a group of twenty or so. Very fulfilling to see that occur.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Lea said...

I think teachers have to walk a very fine but meandering line these days in terms of what is required them. It can't be easy. I don't think it's good for the kids, either. I don't know the solution... there is a case to be made here that every kid should be able to read and do basic math before they can move on...still, I agree that we are missing something in the process.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Brina Bat said...

Reading Writing and Arithmetic should in no way be neglected. Functioning in this society requires everyone to learn the basics. But like you said Lea... its what's missing from the batch - that creative spark - that opportunity. The fear of making mistakes will forever hold it back, part of which is us - the adult's fear of making mistakes. I don't know the solution either, but I hope someday, someone will discover it, and teachers will be able to teach the basics WHILE they meander over the "prescribed curriculum" line into small vestibules of creativity.


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