An independent school in Oxford, the Dragon School, has been in the news recently after it came to light that the school had produced three of the lead actors in a popular BBC adaptation of John le Carre’s The Night Manager. This revelation has caused many people to question whether state schools are doing enough to nurture creativity in children, or whether they compromise these aspects of learning in order to meet the heavy demands of Ofsted reviews and exam statistics.
These types of debates are by no means new. In fact, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson has been asking these questions for a decade and his famous TED talks on the subject have been seen by an estimated 250 million people all over the world.
In his talk, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’, Ken asks whether the traditional school curriculum educates us all 'out of' the creative capacities we are all born with; ‘Picasso once said this, he said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain as an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.’
It’s certainly not just speculation that our younger selves tend to be more creative than our elder. There is a challenge, the Marshmallow Challenge, (also on TED – it’s a great resource!) where teams of four have a set time to build the tallest possible structure they can out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and a marshmallow, which has to sit on top.
The group of people that always do best at this challenge are kindergarten students. They build the tallest, and also the most impressive structures – rather than wasting time talking strategy, they get stuck in and start building, developing and learning from their mistakes.
None of this means that we should abandon maths and science in favour of drama and art, but it hopefully makes people aware that a diverse curriculum that engages children and develops their curiosity will produce better results than a rigid structure that causes students to switch off.
As Ken acknowledges, ‘We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinaesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement.’ Indeed, creativity isn’t reserved for the arts – it can be used across the spectrum to enable children to learn in ways that suit them best.
Here at INICIO, we know that not all young minds think alike, so our approach is different to typical tutoring. We inspire a new attitude to learning in a positive, stimulating and unique learning environment. Get in touch to find out more about how our private tuition can help you and your child.
Watch Sir Ken Robinson’s full TED talk here!