Does School Kill Student's Creativity

Posted: April 18, 2016


School as an institution is a place where students gather to learn the different concepts that may be available for them (Novak). It is an institution where the children get the opportunity to learn based on the educational curriculum that is available for the same. Students tend to get a chance to interact with the teachers who would teach them in the different subject areas (Biggs). There has been a debate on the concept of whether the school does kill the creativity of the students. However, in addressing the issue, it could be mandatory to take a deeper understanding of the primary purpose of the school. By understanding the same, it would help one determine whether the school indeed has any significant impact on the creativity of the student. There are different opinions regarding the ability of the school to preserve the creativity of the children. Some would argue that the institution does nothing but kill the overall creativity of the child while others would argue that school has taken on appropriate measures to preserve and promote the creativity of the students.

Creativity of the Child

Creativity refers to the ability of a student to come up with ideas that can provide a deeper understanding of a particular concept. It could be the critical aspect of thinking that gives one a better understanding of a particular subject matter. In most instances, the students would have a deeper understanding of the content and be analytical in the approach that they are giving the particular topic. The question of whether school kills or promotes the creativity of the child depends on the changes that could be witnessed by the child in addressing the particular subject area.

Sir Ken Robinson challenges the ability of the schools to promote the creativity of the children. According to him, the education system does not address the contemporary issues about the educational curriculum. The author provides evidence regarding doubt over the educational system and the way it fails to enhance the ability of the students to be creative in their thinking. Similarly, the writer presents arguments by giving examples of the artists who never performed well while in school. In his argument, he states that most of the artists who were not good in class work can perform well the moment they engage in other activities. Further, the author reiterates that they were able to build a legacy for themselves despite not being able to build the same while they were in school.

Comparing academic performance, most of the successful artists never excelled in their academics. What happened is that most of them were poor in class. However, when it came to the exploration of their talent, for instance in the music industry, many were able to build a legacy for themselves. The same cannot be a comparison of how they perform in their academic works. It is for the same reason that one would argue for the credibility of the school systems and the ability to make the students realize their fullest potential while in class.

Robinson expresses his sentiments in different ways by having to explain that most of those educated barely have the concept in their heads but are not able to transform the world. The few who have been successful are the artists who have made significant changes in the way the world runs.

Impact of School on the Overall Performance of Students

The sentiments presented by Robinson further express the negative effects that school has had on the overall performance of the children while in class. For example, ordinarily, school is a place where the students would meet and learn on a particular subject. After a given duration of time, they would be assessed by being given a test. The students would then be ranked based on how each of them performs in a particular subject area. Those who do well in the assessments would be in the order of the marks that they were able to achieve while in class. It is at this stage that the school does impact negatively on the creativity of the students. The students, who would not have performed better, tend to lose confidence in them. They see themselves as not being capable of handling any academic works. For the same reason, what would happen is that they would have a reduction in their self-esteem. Because of the same, a student who originally was smart in a specific field would not be able to express their prowess. It is because out of the assessment that they are ranked as being the last and because of the same, they tend to lose confidence in themselves. It is a discouraging factor, because the moment one is last in class, they end up carrying that with themselves. What happens is that they end up not being active. If they did have some talent in them, they would be shy to express the same. It is an indication of the negative impact that the school has on the creativity of the students.

Failure of the School to Enhance Students’ Creativity

The other concept that comes about when it comes to the inability of the school to enhance the creativity of the children does arise when one is under pressure to give a right answer to the questions that is asked in class. Robinson provides an example of children. If a teacher asks a particular student a question, most of them will not hesitate to give an answer. In fact, they would give an answer even if they are not sure that whatever answer they are giving is wrong (Robinson). For example, most would not start thinking if they are giving the right or the wrong answer. They would go ahead to give their thoughts on the questions that may have been asked. However, as the children join the schooling system, what would happen is that the confidence would start diminishing. Particularly, as they advance in their classes, most of them are willing to take part in the class discussions. The same can be confirmed at the event where they are asked to give a particular answer by the teacher in class. Few students would raise their hands to give a response to the questions that could have been asked (Robinson). Comparing to a time when they were children, they would not hesitate to give an answer that they think is right or wrong. Most have the fear that the answer they give is wrong and would rather prefer to keep quiet with the same. It is an indication of the detrimental aspect that the school does on the overall performance of the students in class.

Additionally, the school has failed in promoting the ability of the students to think of themselves because of different reasons. The school does treat students as robots. One is expected to get into class and work towards the achievement of grades. It is a notion that has been inculcated among the society. For example, many have the understanding that once one is in school, what would happen is that they have to go through a particular system. They have to read and know how to answer the questions that may have been set. Little thought is given to how the students are able to grasp the content. The educators are focused on ensuring that the students are able to get the highest grades at the end of term or semester. Little regard has been given to the ability of the students to think beyond the education that they are being given. Further, it is not considered whether the students would able to apply whatever they did learn in class.

The ability of the school to kill the creativity of the students is further portrayed by the fact that they do not apply what they learned in class in the real life situation. It is an indication of the failure of the education to adequately address the issues that may affect the students (Elmore et al.). If the students are taught in a way that they can address the contemporary issues relating to education, it would be possible to have the children be creative enough in their approach to various issues.

Role of School in Killing the Creativity

The role played by the school in killing the creativity of the students has further been portrayed by the emphasis that is depicted by the emphasis that has been put on academic excellence. Interest has been diverted more on the grades that are in the transcripts rather than the holistic development of the student (Robinson). Because of the same, most of the schools would gather all the materials that are needed to ensure that the students do perform in academics. It is a trend in the negative direction since the creation of the students is halted. Few schools have taken the initiative of promoting creativity and imagination amongst the students. They only prefer what the students get regarding the grades that are in the transcript. It is a huge problem that the society would have to struggle to get a solution because of the impact that the same has on the development of the students (Ricci 450).

The decision to focus on the academic performance of the children puts undue pressure on the children. Those who are not able to perform well in class would most likely end up getting stressed because they are not able to match the ability of the good performers (Morrison, Holly and Dana 440). Most of them would end up in peer groups and start engaging in drugs abuse to help cope with the aspect of not being able to perform. It is a problem because much of the emphasis had been put on the performance of the students rather than the inability of them to be creative and explore their potential. It is an issue that needs to be addressed as many of the students are losing to the failure of the school institutions.

The school and the entire educational system have killed the ingenuity of the students and the way they think. It is because most of the children have been taught how to act and respond in one particular way. In the event that most of the children fail to act as they have been taught, the chances are high that they would be punished (Robinson). Because of the same, most of the children have no option but to act and behave in a precise manner that the educational system has prescribed for them to behave. Further, those who perform better would be rewarded. It could be through monetary terms or sometimes being offered some incentives. Therefore, most of the students would fail to be creative and instead resort to working hard in class so that they would be able to get some of the incentives the top performers are given in class. 

Robinson does identify that under normal circumstances, the children are not wrong in how they address the issues they face. However, as they spend more time in school, most of them end up developing a negative attitude. They adopt a school phobia and begin doubting their capability to handle the different issues that may be affecting them. By doing so, the children are cut out of the ability to be creative thinkers because of how their educational system is designed. It calls for the need to introduce appropriate measures within the school set up that would serve to promote the ability of the students to be creative thinkers rather than zombies in class waiting to be graded.

Works Cited

Biggs, John B. Teaching for Quality Learning at University: What the Student Does. McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 2011.

Morrison, Kristan A., Holly H. Robbins, and Dana Gregory Rose. "Operationalizing Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. A Synthesis Of Classroom-Based Research." Equity & Excellence in Education 41.4 (2008): 433-452. Print.

Novak, Joseph D. Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge: Concept Maps as Facilitative Tools in Schools and Corporations. Routledge, 2010.

Ricci, Carlo. "The Case Against Standardized Testing and the Call for a Revitalization Of Democracy." The Review of Education, Pedagogy 26.4 (2004): 339-361. Print.

Robinson, Ken. Out of our minds: Learning to be creative. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

Robinson, Ken. "Do Schools Kill creativity?" February 2015. 

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