do schools kill creativity?

I agreed with so much of what was said in the 20 minutes (which I’m surprised I watched in its entirety)  in fact I agreed with so much of what Sir Robinson was saying that I was just sitting there nodding…  this is something I’m sure I’ve touched on before in my other writing, but it’s something which is at the crux of this subject, and without understanding the fundamentals, I suppose you can’t really understand networked media. when we started this course we were given the spiel about how NM was going to reject the common educational model of lectures, ‘right and wrong’, student/teacher hierarchy, etc etc. and given the progressive nature of the course it makes sense. well virtually every statement sir robinson makes in this video relates to our course (and by extension, our careers) and given the fact that I agreed so much with the video, I suppose I have finally warmed to (and come to terms with) the purpose of the course and that subconsciously, I agreed with it all along (just didn’t understand the implications yet).

ironically, I couldn’t see the ‘progressive’ way this course being taught as true to my own lifestyle and learning habits. I didn’t recognise until now that, actually, I agree with the entire concept of what Adrian and the tutors are trying to do. it is completely valid. not only is it completely valid, but it is so agreeable with the core of my being and my own learning habits that I have no idea how I didn’t pick up on it earlier. I’ll refer specifically to education and some facts ken lays down (children starting school this year will retire in 2065 etc) after I address one thing first… and using the very same analogy ken uses, because it is so insanely relevant to my life right now (and what I’ve been writing about) that it is bordering on creepy… it’s like, hey I’ve been whinging about these things in every blog post and now a professor has come along and validated it, we’ve come full circle, haven’t we? ken tells the story of a dancer who is now world famous and successful. about how in today’s age she would have been diagnosed with ADHD. not only was it beautiful to hear about the resolution of her going to dance school and succeeding, but it also saddened me to think of all of the potential we are missing because of our closed-minded nature. in school we are taught abilities that are no longer relevant in this day and age. ‘intelligence’ is measured out by how well we can retain and blurt out information in an hour long exam period. well frankly, I think this is bullshit, and I will tell you why –

firstly. ken mentions something about degrees being way more accessible these days and that it is no longer such a big deal to have a degree. that tertiary education pretty much sets you up to be a professor and that’s about it. I wrote a big fat rant on this previously (about stepping out of university into no career and how your degree is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things). I see the HSC (or whatever the Victorian equivalent) as the same thing. completely irrelevant. what does this little mark out really tell you (or a future employer) about a person’s intelligence and capabilities? about the way they learn? I’m going to be honest and say I did exceedingly well in the HSC. but that has nothing to do with life. did it tell you that I worked hard, studied my ass off and persevered throughout the year? no. because I didn’t, in fact I nearly dropped out of high school several times in the process of completely year 12. does it tell you that I will be able to come up with new, innovative ideas and further somebody’s business? no. 80% of the assessments were churning out facts and figures, or talking out of my ass on a subject that was based upon rehashing old content. the exams measure one thing and one thing only – how good you are at retaining information and blurting it out under pressure. that’s not really a life skill that can be transferred into any other respect. I can’t think of a single job where I would benefit from being able to write out pages and pages of facts and figures that I remember reading. certain subjects are scaled according to what is believed to be more difficult or requiring higher skill – this is the same as university. certain subjects require higher marks to be accepted. as ken says, arts and humanities come somewhere low in the hierarchy. creativity and creative subjects, in general are not privileged – which brings me to-

secondly. back to ken’s story of the dancer. a lot of people don’t view creative skills, jobs or degrees with value. when I told my father I was choosing to skip going to university and do an intensive, selective film course instead, he was instantly disappointed. still to this day (if anything a little less brutally as at least I’m going to get a degree out of this course) he does not see ‘film’ to be a valid career. and if he thought this way about film, I don’t think I need to extrapolate on how he feels about my other big passions in life – music and burlesque. I remember being 15 years old and wanting to go to band practice and dad didn’t want me to because I needed to be home doing maths tutoring. if that situation doesn’t sum up the problem of our society then what else does. my dad isn’t a bad person. he’s just a reflection of the attitudes in our society. that the arts and creative disciplines don’t matter as much. in fact, it scares the shit out of me that I want to do a creative discipline because generally (unless you are brilliant) they are not paid well, and good jobs are hard to find. I am probably going to be broke and working in cafe’s all my life to fund my creative side-projects and it’s purely because creativity is not valued in society.

thirdly. we are taught from the get go that there is a concept of ‘right and wrong’. no wonder why people are so terrified to take risks and be creative! someone once said to me “fail fast, fail often, fail forward” which means essentially, keep making drastic experiments until one day you don’t fail at something. or, it’s okay to try things that are a bit out there, and it’s certainly okay to fail. without experimentation there are no new innovations. how can  you say this though in a society that teaches that there is only one right answer? one definition of intelligence? one view of what is considered to be, or not to be a valid career path?

I’m not sure, but like ken describes, this needs to change in the near future.

here is another video that I began watching, relevant to similar subject matter –




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