Creatives got a bum deal in school and it continues in the work part of life.

I have been reading Natives by Akala, where he describes the complete uselessness of the education system in the UK.  And I could not agree more.  He cites Ken Robinson who asserted that, “… our schools do indeed, for the most part, kill creativity.”

This fascinated me, so I headed over to YouTube to look for the clip and it was, as expected, delightfully funny and insightful.  And when he came to his Gillian Lynn story I knew I had heard it somewhere else and remembered his voice.  So, the time I first heard it, I wasn’t listening well enough.

Now I am listening and this TED made so much sense to me.  I remember in primary school doing drawings, writing etc.  And I also remember the horrendous feedback I would get about such things.  I also remember being reasonably accomplished in school and has good (ish) reports with the standard, “Could do better if she applied herself”.  And yet, I still remember that negative feedback more vividly.  

Then in secondary school it really did slide.  Not too far and into detentions or exclusion, I think I just knew how to do the minimum to get through.  Then I was surprised, and quite upset as I recall (tears and stuff), I had achieved average grades at GCSE.  I got all 9 of them but was disappointed there were only 2 B’s and 7Cs.  Yeah I know, pretty good right?  Yet that voice in my head continued to pester me with its “could have done better” mantra.  Mind you, I got over it pretty quick because I had a part-time job and was just waiting for the summer break to kick in and my hours could go up.  More money for funnzies.

This particular TED from Sir Ken is dated 2006.  14 years ago.  14!!! Years ago!

So is it any wonder that creative people who learn and figure things out differently are experiencing the same brand of institutionalism in their work places.  We have all been subject to an education system designed for compliance, and some of us just don’t roll that way.

It is only now, 24 years later on from my own education, that I am finding my creativity once again and daring to fail and make mistakes.  I can only imagine what I could have become, had that huge blockade not been placed in my way for so long.

Ken said about a child in school at that time will retire in 2065 and we have no idea what that world will look like, so how can we possibly prepare them for that world when we continue to use largely outdated approaches?  Only last year, I repeated a similar revelation I heard on a recent podcast to a friend.  So, that conversation has not changed.

The fear I have is, it’s looking like the problem is not going away.  And it’s amazing that we are still stuck in this same cycle and nothing has changed, when in other areas we have become so innovative and future focused.

So now I am left wondering whether it is our inherent need to figure EVERYTHING out, might also be what is holding us back.  How might we trust a process and yet not fully understand it?  

You wouldn’t ask Mozart, “How did you come up with that piece of music?”  It is doubtful he ever really knew, because when it came to music, he could just play.

And yet, we do it to our creative employees every day, “why do you do it like that?  Is it not better this way?  Explain how you came up with that.”  And worst of all, valuing success – no matter what.  And fiercely berating anyone who dare make a mistake or fail.

Why can’t we allow people to just play?

Now it’s your turn to tell me… here

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