I worried my teachers a little while I was growing up. I was a space cadet and a wallflower, content to spend all of class-time doodling and swatting away any attempts to engage my attention. I didn’t like talking to the other children, and I spent the entirety of group projects trying to convince my group members to make clay animations with me. My only saving grace was that my teachers recognized that I was more of a “creative” learner, and were willing to jump through hoops to make sure that I didn’t fall through the cracks.
Things got harder in high school. I went to a competitive public school geared towards math/science, and I disengaged immediately. I was terrible at rapidly synthesizing huge quantities of information and spitting it back out, and was frustrated by the lack of creativity in my science and math classes. I don’t want to vilify the education system or my teachers, but where do creativity and innovation fit in as we are acquiring knowledge and specialized skills? How do we reconcile the need to bestow knowledge while also making sure that there is room for critical thinking, creativity, and personal growth? It is important that children meet standards at a “normal” developmental rate, but how do we challenge them to think outside of the box, engage deeply and personally with the material, and have the courage to be wrong?
Creativity is crucial to the learning process, as is trial and error. Do you think the current education system rewards creativity? Or does it reward children who can learn in specific ways and penalize those who cannot? I’m not entirely sure myself what my opinion on this is, but let’s kick off the conversation.
Here’s some food for thought:
Here’s a cartoon adaptation: