Too “Educated” for Our own Good

I’ve posted videos from author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies, Sir Ken Robinson; however, this one is a recent discovery. For those who spend their lives in creative pursuits, his view on the importance of creativity and the arts in education is not particularly revolutionary, but for those who blindly teach and manage education systems without question, his views are radical. In this lecture, he professes that,

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

Most countries, industrialized or otherwise, indoctrinate children into the belief that success and intelligence depends on the ability to follow rules and fit into a specific mold that values math and literacy (Both extremely important and mandatory for any empowering education) above all else. In a constantly changing world that is heavily dependent on new ideas and innovations, I don’t have to say how destructive it is to extinguishing creativity in the name of standardization.

I felt the weight of this myopic view of education during the majority of my schooling, and when I think of how it manifests itself, a particular example comes to mind. I was in the fifth grade, and my school was having a sports day. There was a game where two lines of students were facing each other and one student at a time had to put a paper plate on their head, walk about three yards without the plate blowing off their head, and hand it off to the waiting student. As I witnessed student after student chasing the plate that had blown off of their head, I realized there was a better way. If I tilted my head down, put the plate on my head, and then ran, the wind would work in my favor and I would be within the rules, which were that you can not use your hands. When it was my turn, I placed the plate on my tilted head and ran, and of course, the teacher furiously blew her whistle. I was proud of myself for coming up with a solution, but the teacher was upset that I did not play the game in the way her limited vision had imagined.

This anecdote, though seemingly minor in the scope of things, illustrate how “education” actually extinguishes ways of thinking that can move society forward. Ken Robinson does a great job unpacking this idea in this video. Watch, enjoy, and remember, art is Power.