8 contemporary steps to prevent schools from Killing creativity!
Education from ages has been thought to be the sole reason for achieving success in the life of a human being. It is a fact that has been made to register in the minds of humans from the very commencement of their lives. They are told that mugging of all the theories of varied subjects and attaining multiple degrees of education will result them to lead a lifestyle of a millionaire. However, the following facts entail a different story altogether.
The successes achieved by above mentioned pioneers and many such multi-billionaires, raise a question mark on the value of higher degrees and thereby the importance of education in life. Further, these examples raise doubts on the traditional practices that have been followed from centuries and whether is it mandatory to attend school education to build a prosperous career.
Well, looking at the above examples., anyone would say no, education is not important! However, the fault is not in the school education, the flaws are somewhere in the execution of the purpose of education system in the schools of today.
This article is meant to understand this system even more deeply. To form a realistic understanding of the same, the article will first throw some light on the initial stages of the creative level of a human being and how, when and why it goes down with each passing year.
Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company was born in a very poor family and had left schooling after 8th standard. He never went to high school after that.
Ray Kroc, the man behind the world-wide expansion of McDonalds, never went to school. He purchased McDonalds in 1961 and turned it into a billion-dollar company just on the base of his vision and passion.
13 consecutive times world richest man-Bill Gates, was a Harvard dropout. He left studies to focus on flourishment of the Microsoft business.
Mark Zuckerberg, the biggest sensation of the present tech world, is a 2004 Harvard dropout. He had to discontinue his studies to work fulltime for Facebook. His present worth is $34.8billion.
The creator, CEO and the late owner of Coca Cola, Charles Culpeper is a high school dropout. He made the brand reach extraordinary heights just on the basis of his creative thinking ability.
#Psychology of a child- the raw creativity
Talking about children, they are known to be the feeble beings, who change as a response to their environmental surroundings. They are the only creatures on this earth, who are not afraid to be wrong as they are always ready to take chances and adopt various choices or methodologies to achieve the desired results. These methods are the creativities they develop to attain their goal.
The creativity at this level is not only raw but unexceptionally real, which if gets moldered in the right way, can produce extraordinary results. Thus, the environment, to which the child gets exposed to, plays an immortal role in giving positive direction to his creativity. Also, a child draws great motivation from his parents and peers, whom he takes as role models in his early years of learning. So, the role of parenting style plays a significant part in honing the creativity levels of the child
The high creativity levels of the children at kindergarten can be supported by the test that was conducted on divergent thinking, with the name of‘Break Point Beyond’by George Land along with Beth Jarman. This test was given to Kindergarten students and a certain mark was decided beyond which the students were considered to be genius. The results were highly motivating as, an overwhelming number of 98% bagged the tag of genius. This study states that children at their younger age of life are highly creative and tend to think more actively and without any pressure.(Evidence that children become less creative over time (and how to fix it), n.d.)
#What role does school play in making or breaking the creativity?
As rightly said by Sir Ken Robinson, creativity is as important in education as literacy. Therefore, it is imperative for schools to keep the light of creativity ignited at every level of school education. However, with the current education system in practice, it is hard to say that the same is being implemented at every stage of schooling. But, before moving to the present system, there is a need to understand the purpose with which the current education system was brought into existence.
Purpose of education- what was it designed for?
The present system of education was designed to meet the economic circumstances of the industrial revolution. It is the factory model of education which has been running through the schools of the world from the past 120 years and was built in accordance to the needs and demands of then aged people and jobs. It was based to suffice the needs of production line mentality, where the students were trained as per the environments of the industry, by dividing them into batches, subjects and age groups. The purpose was to train them as per the industrial needs of the 19th century
A standardized testing of the same curricular was set across the globe to meet the respective ideologies of the industry. This was to make sure that the students who come educated out of the school were ready to work for long hours with the aim to produce beneficial results for the factories they worked in.(RSA ANIMATE: Changing Education Paradigms, n.d.)
What is the current system actually doing?
The saddening fact is that students irrespective of their interest are still made to learn up the same old theories in the same educational format which obviously appeals boring to them. The students are still made to eat, stand, learn, pray, or play as per the period and the bell system. Their minds are trained to follow instructions and therefore their thoughts are restricted in a box. After binding them to this kind of ideology, after killing creativity, the teachers expect them to think out of the box and make creative changes to the world.
Also, a surge in academic inflation can be seen in terms of the requirement of one degree after the another. Students these days are being subjected to heavy courses and studies just to meet the prevailing and constantly changing demands of various industries. For example, to obtain the first job, a student has to be a graduate. To move up the ladder of his career, he needs to grab the post-graduation degree, after which the PHD or other specialized degrees are required to achieve better pay packages and to stay ahead in the race. As a result, students pursue higher education even if they have to fall in the pit of student debt.”
This essay does not question on the importance of school education, but it is meant to highlight the flaws in the modern education system. The flaws which were the best suited theories at the time of industrial revolution but are acting as a barrier to the growth of young children in the modern era of globalization.
The students across the globe are still made to study and learn subjects which do not interest them at all. The burden of learning up the facts and figures which have no value in the present world, are leaving the children of present in a baffled state. At the age, where their mind is ready to think multi- directionally, they are put in walls, where their thought process is directed in just one way. The students are automated to use the set framework of ideologies to perform their daily chores and tasks. This practice becomes even more prominent when the children reach the middle section of their schools.
Following are few examples from the schools around the world, which clarifies the claims of the article. These also highlight that unnecessary burden of subjects is put on growing minds, which results in making them loathe studies or drop out from the educational surroundings.
Talking about the subject of social sciences, at F-10 level of Australian Education, the schools in Australia have 5 subjects under the tag of Humanities and Social Sciences. For F-6/7 HASS, no bifurcation of subjects is done but as they move to higher standards, students are made to learn subjects as-. 7-10 Civics and Citizenship, 7-10 Economics and Business, 7-10 Geography and 7-10 History.
From the very beginning of the primary education of UK Curriculum, at the Key 1 and key 2 state, the students are made to focus on the language and numbers. Following which at the Key 3 stage, the students are introduced with Design Technology, Geography, Art and Design, History, ICT, Modern Language, citizenship and few more.
In India, the students are introduced with subjects like environmental science, general science, general knowledge, languages, mathematics from the primary classes itself. After moving to the middle section, these subjects get divided into their sub-parts and become even more vast.
In the primary education system of China, the students are taught on the subjects of mathematics, Chinese, Physical education, drawing and music. Further, addition of a foreign language is done from the third grade. Along with this other subjects also get introduced from this period.
All these examples showcase, that students from the very beginning of their schooling are exposed to subjects that require a lot of mugging techniques. All the world schools are still following the traditional old, factory model of education. The same hierarchy of subjects can be seen maintained throughout the world system, even till now. Subjects like mathematics and languages have been given utmost preferences in all parts of the world, starting from the primary level itself.
This results in burdening up the minds of the children, leaving no space for their creative self to grow and meet their dreams to evolve. The reinforced manifestation of the heavy curriculum practices ends up in shallowing down the interests of the students and exposing them to patterns which require very less or no thinking skills.
In almost every form of traditional education today, students are made to learn a set pattern and then appear for the exams based on the syllabus. In fact, in many schools across the countries, students are not even allowed to change the wordings of the answers in papers. They are supposed to write down the same answers as dictated by their teachers in the class. This in every way, is a sheer torture on the developing minds of the students.
To help the children grow and make them realize their own creative levels and skills, these shackles need to be removed. The educators of today, need to understand the individuality of every human being and that every child is different from the other. In such a scenario, imposing the centuries old tailored techniques on the children of today is not just being torment but equivalent to conduct a heinous crime on the budding flowers of future.
Looking at the above discussion, it would not be wrong to quote the words of great scholar and speaker, Sir Ken Robinson,” the education today, is making children grow out of creativity rather than growing into it. “
#What changes should be done to meet the demands of future
Now, the question comes, what changes need to be made to achieve a state where the children are less burdened and their creativity is given adequate space to flourish.
First of all, it needs to believed that every man is creative in its own different way. This fact was well established with the results generated from the ‘Break Point Beyond’ research. The study demonstrated the truth that as high as 98% children are genius at the age of 4-5 years and the percentage falls down drastically to only 30% within a gap of 5 years, 12 % at the age of 15 and the creative levels at the age of 31 are left at only 2%.
Therefore, in practical terms, the need of the hour, is to reduce this gap and induce more of divergent thinking skills in the children of today. This can be done with the help of formal schooling only but the change is required in the syllabus and the old school philosophies adopted by the modern institutions and developed nations of today.
To elucidate, following are few of the enlisted ways, which directs towards a more creative environment at school and would help in promoting, healthy and valuable thinking skills among the children:
#8 steps of target teaching to achieve creative and sustainable schooling
Step 1:- Let the buds bloom
Children at the early of their life are in various stages of acceptance and non- acceptance. They need time to get adjusted into certain environments and also to the thought that they need to spend quality time of their life with a whole different structure of people and in a very different ambience. Therefore, they need to be given at least six years of their initial life to get accustomed with the school fact, as compared to the present admission age of 4-5 years. Their mind should be properly developed by the time; they reach primary school. Not only their minds, but their bodies should also be strong enough to respond to any unexpected behavior from a foreign element. The development of alertness towards unwanted elements around, is now an important factor, bearing in mind, the ongoing changes in society.
Step 2:- Time to embrace the new life
Children when enter their formal schooling, are in a very different state of mind. Some are prepared for the strict environments, while some are not. Every child has a very different perspective and not everyone is happy coming to school daily. So, a considerable time needs to be invested in drawing the interest of the children towards the school environment.
The children should be given sufficient time to embrace the new place and get themselves adjusted into the same. This directly relates to the reduction of education pressure at the beginning years of a student’s life. The children should be introduced with just the basics of writing and speaking the native language of the country. Also, the identification of various surrounding elements and body sciences should be made with the help of play and learn techniques of teaching.
Moreover, it should be made sure, that the student does not feel alienated in the class and is well active and responsive towards the activities practiced.
Step 3:- Giving them the space to flourish
The students should further not be restricted to a classroom pattern. They need to meet the nature and develop their interests. For this, changes are to be made in the purpose of education. The motto of children coming to school should be to ‘learn new things and explore your creativity’, rather than soaking them into the already developed pattern of education.
The four walls of classroom, act as a big barrier to the divergent thinking and restrict the thoughts of a child to only one direction. Moreover, the traditional pattern of one instructor teaching on a board, would automatically get eliminated with this new concept.
Step 4:- The identification stage:
The ideology of removing the four walls of classroom, will give wings to the thoughts of children. They would be able to move around the learning environment and choose the skill to adapt, as per their interest. Also, by giving them sufficient time to develop their interest by removing the burden of old school primary education, the minds of children would automatically shift towards respective directions.
Additionally, the teachers should be deployed with the tasks to observe every child very carefully and identify their skill of interest. The children should be further motivated by the teachers to move in the same direction and hone their skills accordingly.
Step 5:- Introduction to the basics
Obviously, a base of education is very important, in terms of elementary learning. Therefore, along with inspiring children to realize their passion and creativity, the basic subjects required to move smoothly in a human life like language, introduction to numbers, body parts, environments around, should be done at this stage. Most importantly, the dissemination of this knowledge should be given in the form of videos or practical exhibition of theories. It would help the children to register the facts very easily and for life long.
Also, the children would be able to relate themselves and make stories around, when they will be taught in a lively and fun- loving environment. This is also an extension to their creativity, where they would be allowed to grasp things by experiencing education in a much practical form than just from the pictures in the books.
Step 6:- Practice target education
Undoubtedly, the identification of the skills of the children is a big task, but what’s more important and tough is making them move in the chosen direction. In the present system of education, the interest of the student, gets lost somewhere due to the overburdening of a number of subjects and books. Therefore, to make sure that the creativity of the child is not lost, it is important to follow the system of target education.
Here, the curriculum of each child should be designed as per his interest and passion, not on the basis of age and admission. The classes, after the identification can be formulated on target therapies, wherein the students are taught about their creative skills and some other basic relative subjects, as discussed above.
This would lead to the multiplication of creativity in the same direction of the thoughts coming from same minded people. It would additionally infuse more curiosity in the class and make the results of the sessions worthier and fruitful. Also, students would learn interactive approach and exchange of ideas, when surrounded by such like- minded people.
Step 7:- No exams till primary
Along with reducing the burden at the primary level, the schools of the world, should also work towards making an exam free culture till the primary education. Exams from ages, have been seen to put a lot of pressure on the minds of children and students at young age are not prepared to take this pressure. Also, they are not trained enough to focus on varied aspects therefore, would get diverged from their aim of skill identification and development.
Introduction of the exam free system till primary level, would even give a lot of quality time to teachers to focus on the individual development of their students.
Step 8:- Keep moving with the same vision
Even after the primary education, the high junior and senior secondary classes syllabus, should be designed with the same aim of helping the children grow on their chosen paths. The expansion of the selected subjects can be done on the basis of their specialization and further relativity of the field. In fact, more of the aligned subjects can be introduced in the student’s syllabus, to help them attain perfection in their chosen arena.
Thus, the syllabus needs to be redrafted in a way that no dancer or musician should be made to learn the Pythagoras theorems or the physics formulas when he has no interest in the same or vice versa.
Though, most of the schools around different countries of the world are still following the old school pattern, but there are some countries who have torched the change and have enlightened a ray of hope in making a progressive change in the modern education system. Few examples of such countries, are:
Finland is regarded as the most developed country when it comes to adopting broad-minded measure to reform the education system. First of all, the formal education at the schools of Finland starts, when the child turns seven. This is certainly very motivating, as it allows the children to prepare themselves for the formal schools. Also, they have no homework or the exam system until they reach their teens. This again disburdens their mind from the pressure of qualifying in the exams and gives them space to understand the concepts rather than learning it through.
China is another country which is known for making reforms in the field of education. Its method of teaching mathematics is way advanced and has made children love this subject. Here the teachers propose the equations of the subject in a more practical way and allow the students to solve it in a group discussion form. The students are asked to come forward and solve the equations as a part of group study and all of them work together to help each other understand the intricacies of the concept.
UK studio schools are another examples of the developmental change, where the students are made to learn in the real world environment rather than the class- teacher environment. Also, the groups here are comparatively smaller and help the students to instill the power of education through role play and the realistic work environments.
Although, the above mentioned examples, do exhibit the ignition of change, still accomplishing the change within the old school structures is a long way to go. It needs to be made sure that each and every step of schooling that a child takes, is taken to bloom his creativity than to suppress it under the pressurized old education system.
A school is the place, which is meant to flourish the life of a child. If you, being an educator, have made a considerable difference to the education system of today, by implying any of your innovative ideas, then we would love to hear the same, at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply comment on the section below.
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Frequently asked questions
Does school suppress creativity?
Not all schools, but the old model of schooling certainly used to. In many schools, the system of education followed is still the traditional old method. This method stresses on mugging up and scoring high rather than focussing on the improvement of creative skills of the students.
Why is creativity being lost in our schools?
Creativity is a precious element of a human being, which many times gets lost in the race of achieving high scores in the academic curriculum at schools. The increasing pressure of education is another important factor that takes away the natural creativity from the students.
What role does a teacher play in boosting the creativity of children?
Teacher is certainly one of the most instrumental tools which brings out the creativity from the child. He is actually the person who identifies the creative instinct of the child and pushes him to perform in the same direction.