What would your students answer if you asked them what is the purpose of school?
Would they say “to get into college” “to get a job” “to be successful”?
Or would they say “to learn” “to explore new ideas” “to find and follow my intellectual passion”?
Okay maybe that last one is a bit idealistic, but still won’t we want them to say the latter and won’t most students say the former?
So what’s the disconnect? And how does it manifest in our classrooms?
Consider this study shared by Sir Ken Robinson in his “Changing Educational Paradigms” (summary shared here from an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine)
A longitudinal study of kindergarten children measured 98% of them at genius level in divergent thinking. Five years later, when they were aged 8 to 10 years, those at genius level had dropped to 50%. After another five years, the number of divergent thinking geniuses had fallen further still. Robinson argues that the main intervention that these children have had is education, a conveyor-belt education that tells them that there is one answer at the back of the book but don’t look and don’t copy.
The education system we created is stifling students ability to think divergently.
So what steps can we take today to shift students from searching for the right answer to thinking critically and creatively about different answers?
No easy solutions, but definitely a space to stretch own divergent thinking muscles.
Share your ideas!
The next question is, why is the system set up to stifle creative?