Saturday, January 16, 2010

Schools Kill Creativity

We make a slight departure from the emphasis on technology in this video. But we do present information using video, the medium of choice for our students (whether we like it or not).
Please watch this video and give us your feedback in a comment. You will find space for your comment just below the blog post. We would be especially grateful if you would respond to these questions:
1. To what extent do you accept the implicit and/or explicit arguments of these two movies?
2. Are there any implications that you can identify for the College of Education and/or the courses you teach?
3. If we were to attempt to meet the future technological needs of our students, what assistance would you need?
4. Any other comments you would like to make.

Thank you!

Time are is in minutes and seconds

Schools Kill Creativity by Sir Ken Robinson 19:21


  1. This was a very timely video for me to watch because of the amount of creativity I am being called upon to use for my online classes. Attending OLL workshops and reading everything I can about making distance learning motivating for students does not automatically mean that what I use in my classes will be effective and enrich my instruction. What I have to do is spend time with the applications that I learn about and use my creativity to integrate them into my classes to in order to cover course objectives and standards. I then have to, very creatively, explain the applications I am using to my students and show them how they can use these same applications in their classrooms. This takes a great deal of time; however, as Sir Robinson stated in the video, we educating for a future that we “can’t even grasp” so I strongly feel that the time and effort that I put into the applications I learn about and share with my students will make a difference in their teaching. That is, if they are permitted to use any of it.

    I definitely agree that in today’s world, we are educating students right out of their creativity. With all of the emphasis on standardized tests, teachers feel that they can’t “allow” students to be creative because this won’t increase test scores. When I ask my students for feedback on how they might use some of the applications I am using in our class, more often than not, I get the same response from practicing teachers: I don’t have time to use anything like this in my classroom. The reason they don’t have time is because the curriculum is dictated by the school system and they are not given the autonomy to make their own decisions regarding creative ideas and methods that could be used.

    This is having a great impact on our students when they go into schools for their clinical experiences. They don’t see anything but test prep and packaged programs being taught. Recently, I was in a meeting with two student teachers and two cooperating teachers and I asked the teachers if the students could use other ideas and activities to teach the content other than what was in the basal reading series. They immediately said no. They said that they HAD to follow what was in the teacher’s guide and could not deviate from it at all. Where is the creativity in that?

    Until things change in public schools regarding the strong emphasis on standardized test scores, I am afraid that students’ creativity will continued to be killed. It really scares me for the future.

  2. Leah, this is one of my favorite TED Talks and I share it with all students I teach. I couldn't agree more with your responses, especially: "The reason they don’t have time is because the curriculum is dictated by the school system and they are not given the autonomy to make their own decisions regarding creative ideas and methods that could be used."

    I am also frustrated with a system which does not consistently value and schedule time for engagement in activities which promote creativity. Art is actually a CORE curriculum area in NCLB. But, unfortunately, until we are required to TEST it, it will be left behind. I find that a majority of experienced and new teachers DO value the outcomes engagement in the arts provide but, as you stated, do not have the autonomy to integrate arts activities.

    I have some horror stories about being in schools through my mentoring where I find myself defending the arts with administrators who ban these activities and deem them non-essential. I also work with inspiring teachers who are creative and/or work in an environment which is conducive to fabulous arts integration activities which promote learning in all areas. So it can be done under current circumstances, but is especially difficult for our NEW teachers.

    Elliot Eisners 10 Lessons the Arts Teach is a thought-provoking arts-advocacy list I like to share as well:

    “The function of a school is not to help kids do well in school. The function of a school is to help kids do well in life." ~Elliott Eisner

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences Leah.

  3. I agree with Leah and Paige and won’t repeat their points except to restate that knowing how to use Wiki’s, Blogs, Google Docs, or any of the collaborative technologies takes a significant amount of time. The good news is – most of us embrace technology use, want to fully integrate it into our teaching and serve as models for our students. The College of Education has shown this is a priority and is providing resources to learn and implement these important skills.

    Sr. Ken Robinson's talk was entertaining and thought-provoking. It is difficult to maintain any creativity as adults or to think outside the box or beyond the confines of what is mandated or rewarded. I am enjoying our "Infusion" time together and appreciate Dr. Strange providing the variety of resources that help us to understand the implications of continuing to use the same methods of the past twenty years. His classroom blog is also well worth your time.

    We must learn to tap into the power of using the tools of technology – updating our courses , our departments, and our college. It is easy to use technology to perpetuate old models of teaching and learning by giving a colorful, stimulating lecture on PowerPoint, having a list of web resources, or sending students to computer labs to crank out research papers. Each of us can increase the use of technology in our courses - but can we increase our use of technology in our own professional lives to the extent that we increase the likelihood that we will be more creative in developing our course content and delivery to the fullest extent possible?

    As faculty members in the College of Education, we need to know that our significant time spent in learning new technologies, integrating them into our online and other classes, and showing the difference in our learning outcomes are valued. We need to re-evaluate the three legs of our educational tripod – research, teaching and service and add a fourth – technology.

  4. There is a correlation between the absence of outdoor play (where children freely interact with peers in unstructured and creative ways) and an increase in behavioral referrals and students taking medication. The same is probably true of other creative endeavors such as the arts. Until policy makers can understand that children are uniquely different from adults and educators are able to provide the environment and experiences children need on a daily basis, these current trends will continue.