Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Schools Kill Creativity"

Going to a lecture tonight by Sir Ken Robinson. Not sure what it's going to be about and will blog about it later, but for now, a link to one of his talks on TED.


(several hours later)
So I am back from the lecture. It was good, unexpected, and extremely interesting. The only unexpected thing was that the lecture wasn't as deep or as focused as I thought it was going to be. I think it had to do with his non-linear way of speaking. He seemed to have a multiplicity of thoughts which he skimmed over, related to his belief in the power of creativity, backed by a number of great examples and punctuated by his quick wit. He was an uproar. He also kind of looked like Dwight from The Office.

Some interesting points I came away with:
  • The educational system in America as we know is driven by the economy with roots in the Industrial Revolution and Enlightenment. Education's linear path culminating at the University level is reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution's assembly line. In school, our subject hierarchy pays tribute to the Age of the Enlightenment: math, science, history, literature, and the arts.
  • Life is not linear.
  • 50 years ago, going to college guaranteed you a job. Today, we work harder for a college degree with no guarantee.
  • Creativity can and needs to be promoted systematically through education. It is something that must be intrinsically linked to any and every curriculum. It should not be squashed but grown and nurtured.
  • We have come to dissociate creativity and intelligence.
  • Common misconceptions about creativity: 1. It's about a few special people: False. We as human beings are all inherently creative; 2. It's about special things: False. Creativity does not just mean art. It is accounting, basketball, engineering, speech-giving. It is everything; 3. You can't do anything about it. You have it or you don't: False. You can nurture and grow creativity.
  • If you discover your true capacity, you discover who you are.
I resonated with a lot of the things he said, especially about the educational system being linear and life being non-linear. Everyone always says this, but there is so much you learn that you don't learn in school.

Also, I loved how he's a huge advocate of doing what you love and discovering your true capacity as a human being. I feel like he is talking about one's life calling or purpose. I know my purpose in a general sense as a Christian, but I am still searching for it specifically.

He believes that if we transform our educational system, we can really maximize our human resources thereby becoming the fullest and best versions of ourselves. In some ways, I think systematic transformation would do wonders to our societal mindset but many of the problems that we as humans experience related to our search for purpose would persist. What if a child graduates from this new system but still feels like they haven't found themselves? Wouldn't this only increase the pressure to search for where you feel passion?

So here ends my review of the talk. Overall, pretty good. I myself will still be chewing on these thoughts for a while. He does have a new book coming out in January called The Element, which is about "being in your element," and what that means.

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