Creativity (Part 2): Ken Robinson and “How Schools Kill Creativity”

So, some further thoughts about creativity. There are so many directions I could go…but I’m going with a couple of quickies about education. Why? Well, what seems like a million years ago I was a secondary school teacher. I taught art. Something I tried to promote when I was a teacher was ‘visual literacy’. We’re living in a visually orientated world and we should be educating our students to have a discerning dialogue with that visual world. Consider all the ‘things’ we create around us…from the chair you’re sitting on, the clothes you’re wearing, the hundreds of items in the room you’re in, the building you’re in, the street you’re in, the town, the city….billions of items…they’ve all been designed. Graphic artists, fashion designers, architects, painters, textile designers, sculptors, product designers, interior designers,….you get the idea.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is they’re all using a visual language. Shape, colour, proportion, light, space, texture, tone, composition, ¬†balance etc. We should be able to have a discerning understanding of this language, to be visually literate.
For example, when an advert uses a carefully chosen colour, it’s to appeal to a certain kind of person, a certain age, a certain amount of income…what the ad-man would describe as ‘the right demographic’. That colour communicates a lot. A simple and obvious example, sure… but how easily is that forgotten when we pick up products in a supermarket and the packaging is carefully working on us (like the shop itself is visually guiding us too).
I’m moving away from the subject…education. In particular, creativity. (Sir) Ken Robinson is a celebrated figure promoting creativity and education. He’s written books (“Out of Our Minds – learning to be creative”, “The Element – how finding your passion changes everything”), was a professor of education at Warwick University, was knighted in 2003 and has received numerous other awards for contributions to the arts.
When you glance at the titles of his well known TED talks, namely “How Schools Kill Creativity” or “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley”, it’s probably easy to think he’s having a pop at teachers. Not at all. He’s a fierce champion of the vital ¬†importance and value of our teachers. What he’s questioning is the system and all that affects. He’s promoting a system that promotes creativity rather than undermines it, suggesting our current system “..is geared towards uniformity and standardisation…”. He’s promoting the understanding that there are many different kinds of intelligence, suggesting we need to “..radically review our perception of intelligence” and “..should treat creativity with the same status as literacy”. So, follow these links below (about 20 mins each) for some further thoughts about creativity and see what you think:
“How Schools Kill Creativity”
“How to Escape Education’s Death Valley¬†

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About the author

Bob: Bob is a concept artist for the film, tv and game industries