Education is not a topic I think about very regularly, but when I do … I feel compelled to talk about it and the problems behind the current system. Luckily for me, Sir Ken Robinson does an excellent job at that in the following videos. Mainly, he speaks about education and the various adverse effects it has on creativity, the sense of self-worth and the understanding of intelligence.
These are two of his TED talks, the first one is from 2007:
And the second is from 2010:
After watching both videos I realize I’m quite lucky. I liked mathematics since I was very little and so the heavy focus on mathematical thinking didn’t hurt me in any way. I didn’t feel suffocated. What I did find boring, unsatisfying and a complete waste of time was the history classes. Mostly because the teaching methods and the subjects involved were so boring, uninvolving and downright depressing that I just couldn’t bear the thought of studying this garbage at home. Or paying attention in class for that matter. Decorating the chair with a faulty liquid paper was a more involving and interesting experience.
In retrospect, my main problem was that I really suck at memorizing things literally. I have to decompose them, I have to understand what they mean and link everything within the web of knowledge that’s inside my brain. I have no use for dates if I don’t have a context for them. I can remember them for an exam but they won’t stay with me after a few days.
1945, the end WWII? Yeah, I didn’t memorize that number until I learned all the context surrounding it. And you know what’s the worst part? I actually learned more about WWII from Wikipedia, National Geographic and the History Channel than from school.
Let me repeat that: I learned more in a few hours of television than years of history classes.
Oh, and that whole thing about making children afraid of being wrong? And that every question has only one answer? That’s absolutely true. I was terrified every single time the English teacher assigned us students with creating a short story. A STORY? About what? How should I start? What if it’s wrong? I can’t come up with anything… Why do I have only have an hour to pour my creative juices onto the page? but what if I’m not finished by then? Should I just end it and be done with it?
They spent years and years kicking the creativity out of our skulls and NOW they want us to engage in something creative?
Frankly, I didn’t find my creative side until I left school.
I didn’t even know I had a creative side before then.