In this video, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. Some powerful points he argues include:
- Creativity is as important as literacy.
- People don’t grow into creativity, they grow out of it (or are educated out of it).
- If you are not prepared to be wrong, you won’t come up with anything original. By adulthood, most people have lost that capacity.
Robinson advocates for music and arts education, since these are creative activities. He encourages a transformation of our educational system into one that values these experiences as much as traditional academic ability.
I agree wholeheartedly with his basic message, and have heard myself make similar arguments. But there are two critical points missing from this talk.
#1: Creativity benefits our society on just about every level
Robinson fails to address (here, at any rate) the many ways that creativity can help just about every aspect of our society thrive. Businesses, universities, government offices, and all kinds of other non-arts related sectors need creative people to dream up strong visions and lead the way. Creativity is not just OK. It is desperately needed.
#2: The arts are not inherently creative
If the arts are to serve as a mechanism for fostering creativity, we must rethink the way we teach them. Unfortunately, in too many cases, arts education squanders inventiveness. Mistakes are shunned. Improvisation is ignored. Teachers make all artistic decisions, and demand their students perform the “correct” way by adhering rigidly to these prescriptions. For “Arts as Creativity Training” to hold water, educators must develop environments where creativity is allowed, encouraged, and celebrated. By doing that, the argument for what we do becomes exponentially easier to make. For a more detailed exploration of this topic, please read Are Artists “Creative Professionals?”
What do you think?