I decided to go in a different direction with the TED talk that I chose. I went with something unrelated to any of my papers to try and expand my view a little bit. What I found was a talk done by Sir Ken Robinson, which was titled, “How Schools Kill Creativity.” This was an interesting idea to me which I had not thought of before. So I decided to listen in and see what the talk was about.
Ken talked about how as kids we are unbelievably creative beings. He mentioned a quote by Picasso which said, “Every child is born an artist, the problem is to remain one once they grow up.” This is what his talk was truly about. As we go through schooling, our creativity is educated out of us. This seemed like a somewhat ridiculous thought to me at first, but as I thought about it, it made more and more sense. As we go through school certain subjects are prioritized much higher than others. At the top there are the math and sciences, then the humanities and finally the arts. There is no school on the planet that we go through where the arts are taught everyday like math is. The reason Ken pointed out is because schools are creating what the industry needs. It is not about what the kids want or what their talents might be, it is more about what the industry needs. He even points out that the reason schools were started in the first place were because of the industries.
Ken then went on to talk about being wrong, and how in schools today that is the worst thing possible. Around 5:21 in the talk he says that the difference between kids and adults is that kids are willing to take a chance and are prepared to be wrong. He mentioned that while being wrong and being creative are not the same thing, if you are not prepared to be wrong then there is no possible way that you can come up with anything original. And, as we grow up we lose the capacity to be wrong or to be prepared to be wrong. Both in our jobs and in our education system, mistakes are the worst possible outcome. People are terrified of being wrong. I find this to be resoundingly true. Students fear being wrong and because of it their creativity is stifled.
I agree that creativity is being stifled in school. Obviously more attention is going to be paid to some subjects rather than others. I do believe that although schools stifle creativity, they do not destroy it. I believe that individuals allow it to be destroyed. If you have a passion for something or have a talent for something other than math or science then I believe the responsibility falls upon the person to nurture that talent, not the schools. Schools are preparing kids for what is going to come when they hit the job market. If you have a talent and want to nurture that talent or creative aspect of yourself then take it upon yourself to make sure it happens.