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Creative Spark

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For this assignment, I chose Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on how schools kill the creativity of the children they teach. In his roughly 20 minute speech in Monterey California, in February 2006, he took center stage to deliver a humorous monologue on the spark of creativity. He pointed out that it was his belief that everyone has an interest in education, and it runs deep with us as a society, because it drives the way our culture performs. His talk points out that education is the catalyst preparing us for the future. His speech addresses the fact that that right now no one knows what the future will hold for us. In 20 years or even five, we are unable to predict with any certainty what the world will require of its population. The question is because we don’t know what the future holds how do we educate for it? No matter where you travel in the world today the education systems are set up in the same general order of importance. Math, Science, Language, and Humanities always are at the top of the education list, with creative activities such as Arts, Dancing, and Theater at the bottom.

In his speech, he spoke of the education system of today being antiquated to the developments over the last 50 years. The current system developed in the 19th century to accommodate the educational needs of industrial growth has lost its edge. Today’s world with its growing population and advanced development will require creative and innovative ideas to continue forging ahead for the future. In order to come up with new creative ideas to pave the way for the world of tomorrow, we will need to develop the creativity of our children. With the current education system, this will be an issue unless the system is allowed to change and develops creativity alongside academics.

In Sir Robinson’s speech, he speaks of children having an extraordinary passion for creativity. He illuminates some of the stages of creativity by speaking about the nature of children being free of preconceived notions. Another point he makes about children is that they are not afraid to make mistakes until later in life when such practices are discouraged. The talk spoke of how in the early stages of life we encourage art and free expression in our children, but as our children get older we start to squander their creative talent. We start to concentrate on educating them using a system that is predicated on academic ability and lacking development of creativity. This discourages the practice of anything that we will not use to make a living in the future. An example of such discouragement is, when we tell our children they should be making better grades instead of practicing music, because they will never make a living being a musician. He points out that creativity is as important as education and literacy and should be treated the same in the teaching of our children.

The topics in Sir Robinson’s speech related directly to the concepts of the imagination and curiosity by pointing out, that the needs of the future will require the minds of creative thinkers. He makes the point that the current education system needs to be overhauled to place equal emphasis on the creative arts as much as academics in order to keep creative ideas flowing in our society.

The points he offers in his speech, about childhood and losing site of our creativity by educating it out, is why I chose his talk to write this essay. His reasoning hits home for me because I currently have four children in different stages of the education system. It is clear to see that the education system falls short in challenging the creativity of our future society after a few years in the current system. It would benefit societies around the world to stop, and take a closer look at what the education systems are producing and why. The benefits of changing the current system to develop creative thought alongside academic excellence will help the world account for possibilities the future may have on a growing world. Creativity is said to be the spark of innovation. If we fail to keep the creative spark going in the children we are educating to lead the future, the fire of innovation will fail to burn in keeping up with its demands.

Sir Ken Robinson (2006). How schools kill creativity. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ted.com/playlists/the_creative_spark#. [Last Accessed 07 July 2014].

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