Friday, 10 January 2014

Does Education Kill Creativity?

I have always loved to make things, design things, creative beautiful things. I love using my own hands to create something to admire and I love to admire beautiful things other people have created. 

So how on Earth did I end up with a job in IT? 

It started a little something like this:

1987, Prep, Mrs N's Classroom, Drawing Time

Little Louise drew a horse. Four legs, a tail, a head, a body and ears. Pretty good right? 

Little Mary looks at the horse, turns to Little Louise and says "That's not a horse!"

Little Louise says "Yes it is". Scrumps up her paper and throws it out. 

Later at play time, Little Louise spies Little Mary sitting in the classroom door way. She walks up behind Little Mary, musters up all her strength and mite and kicks Little Mary as hard in the back as she possibly can. Little Mary screams, Little Louise cries and Mrs N comes running to see what the fuss is. She makes the girls hug, make up and be friends. And they go on to be good friends for a long time in school. 

Violence is certainly not the answer here! But that moment has stuck with me my entire life. From that moment on I never showed my work to anyone unless I was 100% certain that I would not be criticised or chastised for it. My creativity was cut right there and then. And even into my teens and adulthood I struggled to do anything unless it was perfect, and I doubted myself countless times and never followed my heart just because I might not be good enough at it. 

Do you know how hard it is to practice playing the drums when you're too scared that someone might hear you and you might make a mistake? That's no way to make music and feel rhythm run through you. 

Your Homework

I want you to watch this video. It's only 20 minutes and might make the difference you've been looking for with your kids, or even with yourself! 

I want you to think about the way education systems focus so much on the literacy and numeracy and give second fiddle to anything creative. As a student I loved all of my classes, I loved maths and english and I loved art, metal work, drama, music, woodwork, textiles. Actually I didn't really like Science and Sports. But it shows that at my core, in my heart, I wanted to create beautiful things and solve problems. I wrote poems. I made crafts. I designed posters. I planned my dream home. Drew my princess wedding dress. My heart wanted me to be creative. But something in my education process and the expectations I put on myself from those experiences drove me into Information Science of all the things in the whole world! The one of two things I really didn't like at school. 

Fast Forward a few years and I'm here doing what I love, creating, writing, helping others and letting that core expand again. But for such a long time it was restricted, and my heart was crying for something else. 

It may be Singing. Dancing. Painting. Building. Sculpting. Seeing. Designing. Inventing. Writing. Sketching. 

Whatever it is, encourage creativity. Foster it. Give space for it. Go looking for it. Fight for it! 

And remember, it may not be a horse in your eyes, but theirs it is. Go with it. 

Happy Learning! 

Get your copy of my book Learning that's Fun here
A simple guide for families to make learning fun. 

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