This video entitled Do Schools Kill Creativity is a TED talk given by Sir Ken Robinson. Craig Roland had previously posted this video on the Art Ed 2.0 site, but if you're like me (stuck behind the Great Firewall of China), you can't watch Google Video. However, I was intrigued by the title, and luckily found it on Youtube (because, of course, Youtube is less subversive than Google Video. Of course).

Robinson's central premise is that creativity as important as literacy. In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink argues that we are at the start of a new "conceptual age", driven by right brained thinking. This idea about a societal shift and Robinson's idea that we need to rethink how we are educating our students, support each other towards a new understanding about arts advocacy.

Schools have always, as Robinson puts it, had a habit of "focusing on the head, and slightly to one side", thus undervaluing all the important creative and varied skills that Pink describes as being crucial to navigating the creative era that we are now entering.

"We are educating our students out of creativity".

Robinson makes an excellent case for arts advocacy. He has a wonderful way of communicating this critical issue in a conversational and engaging manner. I especially enjoyed this little anecdote:

This story is about a little girl who was in a drawing lesson, she was six, and she was in the back drawing and the teacher said that she never paid attention, but in this drawing lesson she did. And the teacher was fascinated, in this drawing lesson, she did, and the teacher went over to her she said "what are you drawing" and the girl said "I'm drawing a picture of God".

And the teacher said, "But nobody knows what God looks like".

And the girl said "They will in a minute".

The need to rethink education in a way that values and fosters creativity is an important message that needs to be addressed in our schools. Robinson and Pink both pack a powerful punch in delivering this message. Arts advocates, as well as any teachers who want to foster creative thought in their classroom should take a look at what they have to say, and pass it on.


  1. Mond said...
    One of the things I really like about my courses at Stony Brook is that preserving (and encouraging) creativity is central to the teaching philosophy the program espouses. The crazy thing is, encouraging and preserving creativity in schools is hardly a new idea. Dewey's ideas from the late 30s can easily be interpreted to value creativity, as can constructivist learning theory. Ironically, ideas like new critical theory in literature, which makes the teacher the giver of true meaning of books, were coming to prominence around the same time, effectively crushing creativity in the English classroom, and the virus spread from there.
    dsgran said...
    Those are excellent points, Mond. Here we are 70 years later and we still have to discuss fostering creativity as if it were a radical idea.

    Thanks for brining in the English Teacher point of view as well. I'd like to learn more about what was going on between constructivism and new critical theory.

Post a Comment