Do you ever wonder, “Are Schools Killing Creativity?” As a mom, I often ponder this very question as I send of my two ultra creative, problem solving daughters into environments that don’t often applaud their gifts. In fact, on multiple occasions, their gifts and strengths are often seen as flaws – as weaknesses.
I like to call these intelligences, our Super Powers. And as parents, it’s our job to help unleash these super powers in our kids to help them live up to their full potential. And this happens to be the topic of my forthcoming book to be released May 1, 2016.
Using Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (AKA Super Powers) we see many kids are mistakenly led to believe that they aren’t smart or have some sort of deficit based on test scores.
Labeling our kids is one of the many challenges faced in schools these days. Rather than being seen for the amazingly gifted and talented kids that they are, they are often segregated into different levels of learning based on standardized test scores.
To make matters worse, labeling often doesn’t stop there. Have you noticed that the diagnosis of ADD and ADHD has skyrocketed? I’m certainly not an authority on either of these labels, it seems to me that it’s become convenient to adhere these labels to our kids in an effort to understanding why s/he is not excelling in school. The sad part is that they’re being given this label if they aren’t able to sit still in school for 6 hours per day! Who is??? So what’s the solution to all this fidgeting? Medication and sometimes lots of it. To make matters worse, we as parents, are giving kids more distractions like phones and tablets and we wonder why they aren’t able to focus.
Thought leader in educational reform, Sir Ken Robinson, a shared a story on Ted Talks about a young girl whose parents were contacted by the school stating she had a learning disorder – she was constantly fidgeting and couldn’t sit still in class. The parents took her to a specialist to discuss her problem. When the specialist requested to speak to the mother alone he left the little girl in the room by herself with music playing. The specialist instructed the mother to watch the girl who was by then moving to the music. The specialist said to her mother, your child doesn’t have a learning disorder, she’s a dancer – take her to ballet class! Watch the full episode of TED Talks below – the story begins at [15:35].
If only dance and other arts classes were prescribed to kids to channel and focus their energy and learning instead of medicating them, what a wonderful we would have! Arts truly are the great equalizer!
In his talk, Sir Robinson said that education should be focused on creativity and producing multiple ways of thinking (divergent thinking) and that the arts are as important as literacy and should be treated so.
I’m not sure who was made boss and got to decide the one way our kids are taught for every subject. There’s a good chance that someone with an advanced degree (not that there’s anything wrong with advanced degrees) in curriculum design who doesn’t even have or like kids is the one deciding the way our kids learn.
Why buck the system? After all, isn’t this the way schools have always been run? That’s the whole point here that we need to stop looking the other way and hope that education in schools gets better. We need to be at the forefront of making choices regarding the learning outcome for our kids.
Overhauling the educational system is a rough road but if we want our kids to learn and make mistakes along the way, it’s something we need to consider. Isn’t it a bit disconcerting that our kids are learning that it’s not okay to make mistakes and mistakes are bad? I remember when my oldest daughter was in kindergarten and she made a comment that she would be awarded a sticker if the sheet had no eraser marks!
Prima ballerinas aren’t born overnight. To reach her full potential, a dancer usually spends the greater part of her life making mistakes that are corrected along the way. Picasso said it best by saying, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Do you consider your self an artist or was that a title you held only as a child? So many of us have learned through going to school that our ideas to solve problems in many subjects just don’t matter. That there’s only one way to solve the problem.
Are schools to blame for squandering the creativity we had as kids? Or do we as a society have a hand in turning out individuals who don’t think they’re smart or talented or that their original ideas aren’t worth much?
I say all of the above. And there’s certainly no easy solution. All we can do as parents is foster our kids desires to be creative. Here are some tips you can use today to ignite your kids’ creativity:
- Encourage her to move to the music on the radio or even to the sounds of nature like rain hitting the windows.
- Let him create works of art with his food at dinner time.
- Give your kids access to recyclables and a few art supplies them dream up some wonderful creations.
- Rather than reading a story to your kids at bedtime, why not create your very own stories together?
Giving your kids free reign to express their creativity may initially take planning and multiple attempts, but in no time, your kids will thrive on the opportunity to put their minds to great use.
As parents, we don’t need to go creative journey alone. Surround yourself with creative individuals and seek out experts in your local communities help you raise a confident creative kid!
A bit of warning…Letting your kids freely express their creativity has a magical way of allowing you to be creative too!
Today is the best time to start fostering your child’s journey to creativity than today! Don’t sit back and let our schools squander all that is most precious about our children – their creativity!