Our Education System Is Killing Creativity

Ken Robinson

Photo: Wikipedia

In order for companies to succeed and stand out, they need to have a group of intelligent and diverse talent. Yet, this is hard to find because people are discouraged to think outside the box throughout their lives.

In fact, our education system — and the way our companies are run — undermines this creativity, said Sir Ken Robinson, an international advisor on education, on NPR’s TED Radio Hour titled “Building a Better Classroom.”

Robinson argues that the current education system chastises those who break out of the mould, because in order to do this, you have to be prepared to be wrong.

And in our current system, making a mistake is stigmatised, yet making mistakes and taking chances are the only ways we come up with new ideas. 

As an example, he used the honesty and fearlessness that’s usually evident in young children:

“Kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go. They’re not frightened of being wrong…What we do know is if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original. By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity…And we run companies like this…And now we’re running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is we’re educating people out of their creative capacity. Human communities depend upon the diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability.”

Robinson said there’s too much of an emphasis on “the one right answer” and this might not actually exist in the real world today.

Around the 19th century, the education system around the world was invented to centre around the needs of that time: Industrialism. But we’ve since gone through several cultural waves, and we’re now in a knowledge economy. The essential value of our time is entrepreneurialism, which requires us to use our brains in entirely different ways.

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