It’s been ten years since Sir ken Robinson gave his inciting Ted Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Since then his books and talks continue to challenge us to transform education— to value varied talents, build creativity, and help people find their element.
Here are some questions and recommendations with quotes from his book Out of Our Minds, Learning to be Creative
“It is often said that education and training are the keys to the future. They are, but a key can be turned in two directions. Turn it one way and you lock resources away, even from those they belong to. Turn it the other way and you release resources and give people back to themselves. To realize our true creative potential—in our organizations, in our schools and in our communities—we need to think differently about ourselves and to act differently towards each other. We must learn to be creative.” —Sir Ken Robinson
How do we support creativity in our kids ?
The model of education most of us experienced killed creativity.
“Nobody else can make anybody else learn anything. You cannot make them. Anymore than if you are a gardener you can make flowers grow, you don’t make the flowers grow. You don’t sit there and stick the petals on and put the leaves on and paint it. You don’t so that. The flower grows itself. Your job if you are any good at it is to provide the optimum conditions for it to do that, to allow it to grow itself.”
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
“We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national educational systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make — and the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
“One problem with the systems of assessment that use letters and grades is that they are usually light on description and heavy on comparison. Students are sometimes given grades without really knowing what they mean, and teachers sometimes give grades without being completely sure why. A second problem is that a single letter or number cannot convey the complexities of the process that it is meant to summarize. And some outcomes cannot be adequately expressed in this way at all. As the noted educator Elliot Eisner once put it, “Not everything important is measurable and not everything measurable is important.”
Promote trying new things, learning by doing, divergent thinking, and all kinds of passions:
“If you are considering earning your living from your Element, it’s important to bear in mind that you not only have to love what you do; you should also enjoy the culture and the tribes that go with it.”
“Very many people go through their whole lives having no real sense of what their talents may be, or if they have any to speak of.”
“You can’t be a creative thinker if you’re not stimulating your mind, just as you can’t be an Olympic athlete if you don’t train regularly.”
“Passion is the driver of achievement in all fields. Some people love doing things they don’t feel they’re good at. That may be because they underestimate their talents or haven’t yet put the work in to develop them.”
“I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value.”
“Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not — because the thing they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or was actually stigmatized.”
Encourage agency, choice, and discovery:
“Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them; they’re not just lying around on the surface.”
“You create your own life by how you see the world and your place in it.”
“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”
“To be creative you actually have to do something.”
Value and recognize the lifelong, non-linear process of learning:
“Education can be stifling, no question about it. One of the reasons is that education — and American education in particular, because of the standardization — is the opposite of three principles I have outlined: it does not emphasize diversity or individuality; it’s not about awakening the student, it’s about compliance; and it has a very linear view of life, which is simply not the case with life at all.”
What do you think?
Is creativity as important as literacy?
If you are homeschooling or unschooling, how do you encourage creativity in your kids? How do you encourage agency?
How do you model the processes of divergent thinking and creating?
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