Are Schools Killing Creativity?

British educationalist and supporter of the arts, Sir Ken Robinson, delivered this fantastic address at the 2006 TED conference. His general argument is that our education systems are killing creativity in our school children and that creativity is so important it should be treated with the same respect as literacy. Over six years later and today nothing has changed. If anything, Robinson’s arguments are even more relevant than they were in 2006.

How many of us have worked in a school where everyone values mathematics, languages and literacy, but not the arts? How often as a drama/theatre/performing arts teacher have you banged your head against a wall in frustration, because no one in your school administration is listening to you? Why don’t many of the people that make decisions in schools understand the performing arts and just how vital they are to a young person’s development?

To whet your appetite, here is a collection of quotes from this video address:

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.

We’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make.

We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.

Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects….at the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts.

…there’s a hierarchy within the arts. Art and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance.

So you were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds you would never get a job doing that.

We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children

I am sure many readers of The Drama Teacher have seen this address before. But for those that haven’t, it is truly inspirational and I urge you to go grab a cup of hot chocolate and spend the next 20 minutes listening to someone who has been thinking the same things you may have been thinking for years now.

Soon, I will post another video address by Sir Ken Robinson.

2 Responses

  1. Anita says:

    And did you know he was a drama teacher! True!

  2. AyeshaC says:

    I just used this as a basis for my teaching assignment at uni! Sir Ken Robinson is fantastic- a great source for teachers in training too!

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