Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Posted on November 20, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

If we can agree that each child starts out with their own special little alchemy – their passions and talents – then why are our schools structured to churn them out at the end like similar “widgets”?

Image: Artist Louisa Ulrich-Verderber paints her math teachers' bathroom to make better schools.
This is Louisa Ulrich-Verderber of St. Albans Vermont. Her high school was progressive enough to let her paint an entire teachers’ bathroom to prove some geometry proficiency.

Today’s video-share has had 42 million views for a reason.

Even if you don’t think you care much about this subject, give it a look, and then we will circle back to how Sir Ken Robinson’s ideas about schools can still be relevant to every one of us.

If you’ve had your own good and bad experiences in our failing educational system, you will be transformed. (And this guy is very funny too!) Enjoy!

Via: TED 1

I love a particular key point brought out by Sir Ken: kids are not afraid to be wrong, and it’s important to keep that impulse strong in our children. Instead, our schools are structured to punish being wrong.

And where are we for that?

I wonder if we’ve created generations of people who won’t take chances. There’s almost no risk at all in staying home on-line shopping, gaming, or playing fantasy sports.

Image: Collage of Positive things in the world

Creative Curriculum

What if we all could tap back into our 9-year old sense of adventure and courage?

Would we take our hobbies and actually make something we could sell? Would we go out to have real adventures instead of gaming? Would we play more sports ourselves at any age? Would we dance, write, sing or volunteer more?

How would we raise our children differently, if once a week we shared a bit of adventure or a hobby with them like we were both 9 years old again?

Lots of good questions there to ponder.

Creative Sparks

Creativity exploredHow much wonder is missing from our world because we are driving the creative spark out of children and making them afraid to take chances?

Do you have a tiny, remaining spark that might be fanned into a flame? I say, “Get to it! Dive in!”

The website you are looking at was exactly that kind of impulse for me. Two years ago I was spiraling downward with the negative 24-hour news cycle. I’m usually such an optimist, so things must have gotten pretty bad. The fear and shame in the media was really getting to me.

Then one day I had a few hours to kill waiting for one of my kids in an airport and I combed the worldwide web for a “place” I could find smart, fact-checked, positive web content; someplace without all the mediocre fluff and crazy advertising ploys. To my astonishment, 3 hours of search revealed nothing.

Oh, I can’t say I found nothing. I found hundreds of websites that anointed themselves as positive and helpful, or featuring “good news”, but all had some sort of agenda and the best of them had such bizarre advertising clutter that I couldn’t stay engaged.

A few days later, courage mustered, I set out to create the website I was looking for, and now 700+ articles later, this website is visited regularly by people from 190 countries. Who knew!?

Now we publish one article every day here to prove this is still an amazing world. Here’s a collage that covers just the tip of the iceberg of our articles now:


Image: Collage proving It is an amazing world.

Again, thank you Sir Ken for reminding us of our potential to create something out of nothing, at any time in our lives.

If you have children, insist on creative curriculums to make the most of their passions early in life!

Creativity doesn’t have to involve standard art materials. Creativity can include things like coming up with an idea to solve a local problem. It can be starting a really unusual Instagram account. Creativity can take the form of working with people who have disabilities, or the art of comforting others through conversation, generosity or volunteering.

“Picasso said: ‘all children are born artists.’ You don’t grow out of it; you’re taught out of it.”
Sir Ken Robinson

We can rekindle those sparks.

Well… that’s all a lot to think about today folks, all with the goal of hoping you will rekindle your original creative spirit!

Scroll down to the bottom of this page if you want a little more inspiration or head to our homepage to start a little journey into the positive aspects of our world.

Oh!..  and if you want to check out more of the best TED Talks on the web, we have curated many of our favorites for you here. Visit our EWC Favorite TED Talk page!

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda