The video I chose to do for this response was Ken Robinson’s School Kills Creativity. I thorougly enjoyed watching this video. He is an excellent public speaker and makes his talks quite entertaining and funny. The main ideas Robinson explored throughout his talk were: that schools kill creativity in students and that no matter where “you” go, the subject heirarchy in the school systems are the same; the maths and languages are at the top followed by the humanities and lastly, the arts. I will go into these main ideas more deeply throughout the following response:
Robinson describes creativity as the process of having original ideas with value. Creativity is defined by many different people in many different ways. For example, I do not consider myself to be an overly creative person. I am happy to sit in a desk and read books and be told exactly what to do with specific instructions. If I am told to make up something on my own I feel lost and my mind goes blank. Ken Robinson would attribute this to schools not allowing creativity to foster in young students. Robinson feels that creativity in education is just as important as literacy. Kids are more then willing to take a chance, even if they don’t know. The fear of being wrong is not there in most children. Robinson gave quite a few examples of what he meant.
One of the stories he told was of his son being in the Nativity play in England. His son impersonated the part of Joseph in the play and three other young boys were the three Wise Men. At the time the Wise Men entered the scene the first Wise Man said, “I bring you gold”, the second Wise Man said, “I bring you Myrrh”, and the final Wise Man said, “Frank sent this”. Naturally, he thought he said exactly what he was supposed to. However, by making this mistake the young boy was able to learn. People learn by making mistakes but if you are afraid to be wrong, how can you learn or create anything original? As children grow into adults, they lose this ability. As adults and in many jobs, the worst thing someone can do is make a mistake. Many people see mistakes as defining who they are or as the opportunity for people to judge them.
I agree with Robinson’s points regarding creativity in schools. Although, I do not think it has solely to do with the education system. I believe it also has to do with the individual teachers. Some teachers are very creative and input a lot of Arts Education pieces into their everyday lessons whereas some teachers are more paper/pen teachers who do not feel comfortable adding Arts Ed into their days or are not sure how to. Personally, I know I am the latter of these. I would like to make interesting and interactive lessons for my students but I have so little confidence in my creativity skills that it is a task that seems impossible. However, by not adding these pieces into my lessons I know I am not reaching all of my students learning styles. Robinson made a point of saying that many students do not continue on with school because the things they were good at weren’t valued in school. “Things” could include drama, music, dance, visual art, or having to move or stand to be able to think.
The second major idea Robinson presented is that no matter where you go to school in the world the subject heirarchy is similiar. Maths and languages are at the top, followed by the humanities, and finally the arts. And, ironically enough, certain parts of the arts are considered more valuable than others. For example, visual art is given slightly more precidence than dance, music, or drama. Robinson makes a point of saying that in no curriculum or school do we teach dance to students everyday. I must say, he makes an excellent point. What about those students who want to pursue careers in that area or are best able to express their learning through those dynamics? Are we limiting them from learning? Probably a little bit. A big push in education is to focus on many different learning styles and make a point of addressing them throughout teaching. If this is a big idea, shouldn’t teachers be expected to at least be trying to offer these opportunities to those students?
I agree with Robinson’s second point, as well, however, the thought of having to act or sing makes my stomach turn. I completely agree that this should be integrated into schooling more actively, although I have to admit, that I do not want to be the one having to teach that to my students. When I sing it sounds like someone is being killed painfully and I am more than happy to act as the tree in the background but don’t ask me to speak or be a main character. I am not sure what it is that has fostered that fear in me because I am not an overly shy person. It takes me a few minutes to warm up to a new atmosphere but I assume that is for most people. One of the best things my parents ever taught or made me do was make phone calls. For example, if we were going to order food I had to be the one to make the phone call, place the order, give the phone number or address, give the credit card number, etc. It seems like something so simple but it has helped me through many situations that may have made me very uncomfortable otherwise and I believe it is a large part of the reason I am not overly shy however, still incredibly uncreative.