Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson makes a case for an education system that nurtures creativity in children in this Ted Talk. He says, “…kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go. Am I right? They’re not frightened of being wrong.”
By the time they get to be adults, though, he remarks, most kids have lost that capacity. “They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this. We stigmatise mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
He adds, “Picasso once said this, he said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it. So why is this?”
There’s a hierarchy of subjects, comments Robinson. He explains, “Every one. Doesn’t matter where you go. You’d think it would be otherwise, but it isn’t. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities. At the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on earth. And in pretty much every system, too, there’s a hierarchy within the arts. Art and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance. There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance every day to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think math is very important, but so is dance. Children dance all the time if they’re allowed to, we all do.”
He points out that as children grow up, “we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side.”
Watch his talk as he explains why creative expression is as important as academic ability.