Do Schools Kill Creativity Essay

“No schoolboy (or schoolgirl) ever wishes to be reminded that the education of which he receives such generous measure is not education in its true sense; that it aims not at developing men who will be able to do new things, but merely at cramming boys with knowledge which they might just as well have been left to acquire for themselves—if any education at all it can be called, where the one taught is passive instead of active, receptive instead of investigative.

This education does little more than to put into the students’ hands a collection of tools for future use which they are expected to forge and shape into something useful. But education itself consists solely in what the student himself becomes by reason of what he learns; and if this education is to be fruitful, he must acquire the power of self-direction and self-development and not an encyclopædic knowledge.” (James Truslow Adams, 1931)

The above quote may seem like a bit of a stretch from education in general. The education system is built on the basis that students should learn key skills such as reading, writing and mathematics through education. Many people believe there’s nothing wrong with education. But could education really be doing more harm than good?

Education has always been linked to creativity. It was important for children to receive education so they could grow into intelligent adults who would then contribute to society in some way. If you didn’t receive an education then you would probably be seen as ‘stupid’ and of no use to society. You could imagine that education was viewed in a similar way to how we value education today; education is something parents aspire to give their children, it’s the best thing for your future, education will open doors and so on.

Looking at education from this point of view leads us to think of education as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Our education system does not consider education as its goal; instead our education system aims for success after school, with exams and university becoming important milestones we must hit along the way. We’re taught that knowledge is power and that if we want power then we need lots of knowledge like the great minds before us.

But education doesn’t have to be like this… education can be education in its true sense. It’s education that aims at developing the student so he or she can do new things, not just learn about what has already been done by individuals with an encyclopaedic knowledge. Clearly education is not education when it forces students into a passive state of learning. Education should empower the individual to become active in their learning process and teach them how they can use their creativity to change the world around them for the better.

What exactly is Creativity? Creativity is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something.” (Google)  You could say that education, in any form, involves some sort of creativity e.g. when we think of a good topic to write about for an assignment education comes into play because education is involved in creating something, in this case the student’s education is their assignment. Creativity and education go hand-in-hand; education is used to develop creativity and better yet, creativity can be channels through education.

Most people view creativity as painting by numbers or drawing stick figures with no detail put into it at all. But art is just one form of creativity which has been given more recognition than others such as inventing new technology, writing fiction novels and solving maths problems. Although this form of creativity has been recognised we need to acknowledge that there are many other forms out there that deserve attention too (and perhaps education needs to focus more on these forms too).

Clearly, education can benefit from creativity, but what benefits does creativity gain by being associated with education? Creativity has several positive effects when it is given education.

– Creativity allows for a different way of thinking. If we think in a conventional manner then there’s not much room to find new and innovative methods of doing something. But if we can be creative, imagine things beyond our usual thought process e.g. using scissors as an alternative method to cutting paper instead of just using your hands, then we open up the possibility to do more than what we’ve been accustomed to doing before. Although this might not seem like such an important point it could be used as a stone into other great ideas e.g. using the same idea to make a spaceship function rather than just a paper plane.

– Creativity helps education by making education more interesting and it can encourage students who don’t find education interesting to take an interest in education because education is never going to be boring when creativity is involved.

– Creativity allows us to see things that we haven’t seen before or perhaps haven’t even thought about, especially if we think creatively about something we’ve been taught before. However, this isn’t always a good thing… whenever you create something you have to take into account its effects on others e.g. if I write a fan fiction novel based on Harry Potter but put my own spin on it then although I’m adding originality in my education I have to remember that it could offend the original creator of Harry Potter. This wouldn’t be education because education is not just about us but also about other people e.g. our peers, family etc…

– Creativity allows education to progress. If education only followed a set path where there was no chance of deviation then education would never get better or move forward with society so creativity in education allows education to evolve and therefore adds value for everyone involved e.g. by allowing education to keep up with technological advances which can benefit society as a whole rather than just one individual person who knows how technology works already.

So yes, education does kill creativity especially when education becomes too conventional and doesn’t allow students any freedom at all however education does benefit creativity too. Creativity benefits education by making education more interesting, allowing education to progress and simply giving education an extra dimension that can be used to enhance education for students all around the world.

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