do schools kill creativity? by Ken Robinson and what high school is by Theodore R. Sizer
Education System Kills Self-realization
To meet the needs of industries in the era industrial revolution, schools came up to educate individuals on the requirement of the industries (Robinson 11:02). The things taught were relevant to equip individuals with the knowledge needed for the operations of the machines used. Since then, education has been regarded as a key to success and is taught in schools. The schools set their goals that students are required to achieve in their school life. These goals keep the students on their heels as they struggle to meet the requirements necessary for the completion of their careers. Additionally, the society has valued schooling, and every parent wants their children to join the best schools across the world to get an education. The school structure is the same for all schools, where some units or rather courses are valued more than others. The value attached to a given course depends on the possibility of getting a job upon graduation, and this is viewed as a measure of success. Therefore, according to the society, the key goal of education is to get a job after completion. In their writings, Robinson and Sizer concede that education system discourages self-realization and kills creativity. These facts contradict the goals of the schools.
Across the world, there are distinct, but related structures of education systems. These structures have certain things in common like; unique school routine, curriculum, units for a given level of study and way of testing (Sizer 118). Therefore, a student is expected to follow the school routine, failure to which they will be punished. Robinson asserts that the students are advised to take the course that avails well-paying jobs, and, therefore, the most struggle for these courses. According to Robinson, students learn with an aim of getting employed. Therefore, students do not practice what they like because if they did so they might never get employed. For example if a student likes music and is told will never get a job, they quit and take some other course that they have less drive for, for the purpose of getting a job (Robinson 11:18). Sizer agrees with Robinson that students will join certain courses that they do not love so that they can get better jobs. The implication of the assertion is that education is all about learning to get a job. However, this does not help as such, because happiness is not found in doing what one does not like.
Education kills creativity. Robinson writes that the education system that is adopted across the world educates people out their creative capabilities. In reality, the top students are valued and respected as compared to the students at the bottom of the list. Moreover, what defines the top students and the bottom students is the number of right answers that one gets in a test, and, therefore, getting a wrong is viewed as a bad thing. Consequently, everyone fears to get a wrong. According to Robinson (5:21), nothing original can come from someone who fears to get a wrong, implying that for something original to come up one must keep on trying after failing several times. Therefore, the education system that discourages getting anything wrong discourages one from trying new things and, therefore, getting something original is difficult. Sizer implies the same idea when he puts across that passing exams is counted a success, and agrees that this kills self-realization (Sizer 121).
Education structures do not give students room to develop their talents. The school routine is fixed, with each time allocated a given activity. The students should adhere to the routine as per the rules of the school (Sizer 120). Therefore, a student will spend most of their time contemplating on what they have learned, and during their free time they are doing assignments and revising for exams. They have no time to develop their talents. According to Robinson, this is educating students out of their creative capabilities, as it denies them a chance to develop their talents, and as one gets old, their creative capabilities diminish (Robinson 6:05). Based on the argument by Robinson and Sizer, education systems do not give an individual time to develop their talents. Furthermore, one cannot think what they have been taught, and this discourages creativity.
Sizer approves of the goals of the California High School but has a problem with what is taught and the goals stipulated because the two do not relate. According to Sizer (119), the California High School goals are excellent in that the goals are; improve creativity, make responsible citizens, boost self-realization and make reliable people in the society. However, Sizer is disappointed in that the school does not work to achieve the goals; instead it mitigates the ability of students to realize their capabilities. Robinson does not consider the school goals, but views the whole school and concludes that education is a creativity killer. However, right education should grow the creativity (Robinson 18:33). It is undeniable that if the school goals are achievable by the procedures employed, then education would have been efficient and excellent. However, the relationship between the goals and what is practiced is questionable.
In conclusion, based on the views of the two authors, education system denies students a chance to realize their capabilities, does not boost their creativity and contradicts the goals of the school. Students are made to take courses, not because they like them, but for the purposes of getting employed. Most students end up practicing what they find no much drive. More time is spent in books because no one wants to fail because if they fail they will offend their teachers and guardians. The students lack time to develop their talents, and this culminates in killing their creative capabilities.
Robinson, K. “TedTalks, Do schools kill creativity.” (2012).
Sizer, Theodore R. Horace’s compromise: The dilemma of the American high school. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004.
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