“Education Kills Creativity” – Do Schools Kill Our Innovation?

Note: This post is one of our ‘Creativity Week’ series. To read more post from the series click here.

People assume that to be educated, we must be schooled. Or that the two terms are the same thing. And yet, what we often ignore, is the fact that many of the idols we look up to and learn from were high school drop-outs themselves; such as Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.

What is an Education?

To be educated, by dictionary definition, is to ‘show evidence of schooling, training or experience’. To be schooled is vastly different. Being schooled has nothing to do with gaining knowledge useful outside the classroom. It is the process of being sat down in a classroom, surrounded by the same people, in the same clothes, drip fed the same information that the same lecturer taught the year before, day in, day out. The same.

Hardly inspiring. Hardly an experience. Hardly the creative person’s dream.

But we are told that it has to be done. And despite the fact that the world won’t change and improve if all of the minds within it are fuelled the same; the emphasis on formal schooling, is these days greater than ever before. It’s GCSEs, A-Levels then a Degree.

But for what? Just to get a ‘normal’ 9/5 job for the rest of your life, anyway?

If each day is the same for a child and they are constantly being treated as no different from the child either side of them, they will start to think the same. And that’s dangerous because thinking different is creating. And creating is evolution.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to quit whatever course you’re on and start a riot in the streets. School’s great in some ways. It can provide some good opportunities to its students and lays the foundation they need to make the leaps that they want to make. But what I’m saying is that children are born with the outstanding capacity to innovate, something that should be seen as one of the greatest national resources we have, but at the moment its also one that’s ignored.

My question is, are the opportunities it provides really of value to the creative minds at our fingertips?

Do Schools Kill Creativity? – The System, Our Parents & The World

Human creativity is bulletproof, or so we are led to believe. The system, our parents, and the world are constantly telling us we have plenty of time to do this and that, that whatever dream we have can wait until we’ve focused in on our studies. Got a degree. Got a job.

But understand, that it’s these comments that are silently shooting down the minds of future Walt Disney’s and Steve Jobs; chipping the armour that protects our ideas. Poisoning our creativity.

Schooling and creativity combinedBecause with the emphasis of schooling, comes an emphasis not on the individual and individual thinking but a purpose, a purpose that benefits the government alone. Out of sight, out of mind. They won’t care if you spent every day at work, daydreaming about what could have been. They only care that you spent every day at work. Working for someone else, who is working for them.

To make matters worse, after a while you won’t have the time to think such thoughts because everyone around you is in the same boat and it’s a hard task finding colour when everyday is the same. Again, chipping away the armour that protects our ideas.

And how? Well these ideas that I preach to you to protect from the world as best you can, are constantly moving forward. We’re in a time now when the world is forever changing. And as creators, we are naturally building on one another to provide for the ever-growing minds of our audience. I think this is one of the places where the schooling system fails the most.

Because it educates people for the now, when right now things are moving so fast towards the future. It’s important to learn from the past, definitely. And it’s obviously important to consider the future. But the present?

Why teach the minds of today about just the things available to us, and not teaching the minds of today about how to use them?

They won’t know how to work in their field in the future because they have no experience and quite often, no relevant education either, because their field was too unique to provide for. And it’s important that creative minds understand this; because we have to teach ourselves to write and to draw and to cluster our thoughts.

But why should a writer be told that she has to get a qualification in Science, rather than Creative Writing because the teachers are far too busy to teach the subject to a group of five and they don’t trust you alone to teach yourself.

It makes them look bad if you fail. And you can preach to them all you like about what you’ll give up in terms of your time, money, and energy. But they won’t care. Can you tell that I’m bitter? I am because it happened to me. And but in replace, they threw us a once a month course meant for children four years below us, just to show our parents that they had thought for the minority every now and again.

Education, Education, Education

There is a definite over-emphasis on education, education, education right now. “Walt was distracted in class, drawing, better call the Disney’s and sort that out” kind of thing, and it’s not only killing our creativity, but the creativity of your sons, and other possible world changers out there.

The minds of today, are now too focused on studying to draw, to write, to create, that the spare time they do have is exhausted. Spent lapping up old creations.

It was a little different in Nursery. In Nursery, because our authority in changing things lacked, we were allowed to be whoever we wanted to be. But as the years progressed, more and more boundaries are added to control the wandering mind.

The emphasis on work gets greater and greater until we’re forced to bring the work home with us. Cutting into time we spent creating. Which makes no sense when you think about it. Because you’re a hell of a lot more aware as a teenager of who you do and don’t want to be, what your good at, what your bad at than you are when you’re four.

And why, even then, are those with strengths in individual working forced into group settings and vice versa. Everyone is different. Everyone works better, differently. So, again, why do we treat everyone the same?

We Smother Talents & Kill Creativity

We smother talents. We ignore creativity. We don’t even bother to acknowledge the multiple intelligences that follow us into adulthood. School should nurture creativity not undermine it. And yet it does. Every day, everyone learns the same things to suit the concrete purposes and to fit the concrete roles that the government want us to fill.

They don’t care about the individual, about building. They don’t care, even, about creation.

A person may be extremely academic and they may fly through the questions they are set. But they will be so busy flying through the questions that they won’t have time to educate themselves, or get ideas, take opportunities, grow a personality. And although this means their achievement and their happiness may be easier and quicker to achieve than yours. Chances are that it won’t be as high, important or have anywhere near the same quality.

But does it have to be this way?

Breaking the Boundaries of Everyday Schooling…

No body teaches us how to do what we do, it’s true. We have to reach out, to fight to learn what we want to learn and encourage ourselves to be unique. Life is about breaking the boundaries set to us by schooling. and to be different, you must do different.

But it’s hard to break the boundaries, when these boundaries are followed by near enough everyone around us. To not feel the guilt that we feel for writing when we should be studying, particularly when we have teachers and our future bosses breathing down our necks because they don’t believe we’ll do anymore than get a job.

“Education Kills Creativity”: Conclusion

What I wanted to share with you today was a issue that has been boiling in my heart for a while. To remind you of the creative person you are, and show you that there is more to life than an education and a job.

My advice is to look for the plugs. Look for any possible advantages that you can find in order to manipulate your learning your way. Self-teach, research and take on opportunities, and make the most of everything you have. Ensure that although you’re getting a solid backbone of education behind you, you are never compromising your true dreams and hopes.

School Kills Creativity

I can’t change the world with this blog post alone, but hopefully I can change something in someone else’s world out there and encouraged them to learn outside the classroom, and to encourage those around them to learn outside of it to.

Remember, if people don’t believe in you, that’s okay, its their right; but it doesn’t mean you have to believe in them either. Aim high and manipulate the system to get where you need to be. Build your foundation with formal education, but don’t rely on it. You have to make your own way in life; you can’t just rely on what’s given to you on a plate and expect to go great places with it, because you wont.

Further Reading: Other Posts in our ‘Creativity Week’ Series

Wrote by Aimee Hall