Ken Robinson in his talk, How Schools Kill Creativity (June 2006) argues that schools are the main hindrance to creativity. He believes that education systems in all countries aim at producing professors at the expense of other professions. Robinson also criticizes the hierarchical arrangement of subjects in schools.
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He sees this hierarchy as the main reason for preferring some professions to others. He further argues that schools always impose decisions on the learners, and do not allow them to make mistakes, yet making mistakes encourages creativity. Robinson insists that intelligence is interactive, distinct and diverse (K. Robinson, personal communication, June 2006).
This paper aims at informing all American citizens about the ineffectiveness of the American education system and the incompetence of American learners by Synthesizing Robinson’s ideas with the views of other writers. American schools are the main enemies of creativity because they do not allow their students to collaborate: they prefer giving them lectures and asking them to memorize the content they teach them.
Many people in America value a college education and consider it the only solution to their financial and economic problems. Such people never strive to create their ideas. A four-year college degree is important, but community college certificates and creativity are equally important (Billitteri, 2009).
American citizens, especially those working in the education sector, should know that their system of education is killing creativity and encouraging conformity and the mentality of learning for the purpose of getting employment in respected professions.
Many scholars have carried out research on the importance of a college degree in the advancement of an individual. Most of their findings indicate that college education is not the only solution to people’s problems. Success depends on the course a student takes and the ability of the graduates to use their creativity and skills. Robert Lerman and Harry Holzer (as cited in Billitteri, 2009) carried out a study that revealed that the demand for community college certificates is rising faster than the demand for college degrees.
The study also revealed that the salary scale for people with technical skills is rising faster than the one for degree holders (Billitteri, 2009). Therefore, American citizens should shun the popular belief that the four-year degree course is the only solution to their problems and look for other options, especially in fields that engage their creativity.
Robinson gave a lecture that asserted that American schools give more attention to mathematics, languages, and humanities compared to arts (personal communication, 2006). This observation is true because a large percentage of them put little energy and time in nurturing their students’ talents. Creativity among American students has been deteriorating since 1990. The Torrance test results indicate that American learners are conformists.
They fear to challenge existing notions and inventing new ideas. Schools and teacher training colleges are among the biggest contributors to the prevalence of conformity among American students. Teachers in many of the schools use rote learning and memorization in classes. On the other hand, teacher training colleges have failed to produce creative teachers because they only train them in specific subject areas. Such teachers eventually neglect their learners’ creativity.
Education systems in many countries encourage conformity (Livingstone, 2010). Primary and secondary schools send learners with conformist mentalities to the university (Segesten, 2013). As a result, it becomes the responsibility of the university to teach the students how to be creative.
Teachers can use various methods to improve creativity in the classroom. Among the methods are the use of technology, experimental approaches and collaborative methods of teaching (Segesten, 2013). These methods allow the learners to interact with the learning resources, which expose them to challenges that require solutions. Collaborative methods allow learners to test their creative instincts (Livingstone, 2010).
The university is an institution of higher learning and not higher teaching (Livingstone, 2010). Therefore, learning should be provocative and not receptive. Tutors at the university should teach their students problem-solving skills and expose them to many problems that require solutions.
Creativity is very crucial and universities should strive to instill it in their students (Segesten, 2013). Universities should work hard to produce graduates who have problem-solving skills. The education system and the university selection system send learners who cannot think to the university. Universities must work very hard to make such students creative.
American students have been losing their competitiveness over the years. For example, their performance in the Torrance test has been deteriorating since 1990. The results of the International Evaluation Association and the Program for International Students Assessment also indicate that they are very poor in both science and mathematics (Carnoy & Rothstein, 2013).
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The International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement ranked American students sixth in fourth-grade reading, ninth in mathematics, seventh in science, 12th in eighth-grade mathematics and 13th in eighth-grade science (Resmovitis, 2012). These results imply that American students are not ready to compete with students from other countries.
The extensive research that scholars have carried out shows that the American education system has failed to produce competitive graduates. This paper has analyzed various research findings that indicate that American graduates lack creativity because they only go to school with the purpose of getting money.
The various international tests that American students have taken indicate that they are not competitive. They perform very poorly compared to students from other countries. Most of the information this paper has analyzed indicates that America should change its systems of education.
Billitteri, T. (2009, Nov. 20). The value of a college education. CQ Researcher, 19(41) 993-998. Retrieved from: www.cqreseacher.com
Carnoy, M. & Rothstein, R. (2013, Jan 28). What do international tests really show about US student performance? Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from: www.epi.org/publication/us-student-performance-testing/
Livingstone, L. (2010). Teaching creativity in higher education. Arts Education Policy Review, 111(1), 59-62. DOI: 10.1080/10632910903455884
Resmovitis, J. (2012, Nov. 12). International tests show East Asians outperform world as U.S. Holds steadily. Huff post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/11/international-tests-show-_n_2273134.html
Robinson, K. (2006, Jun). Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity. [Video transcript file]. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity/transcript?langu age=en
Segesten, A. (2013). Creativity in Education. Retrieved from: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/university-venus/creativity-education