Does schooling lead away from creativity?

Schooling has been promoted as a road to success for quite some time now. However, as the perceived importance of formal education has grown, true creativity appears to be on the decline. But why?

For all of the education we are getting as a society ‒ in the United States specifically ‒ we seem to have lost sight of what it takes to be a modern‒day Edison, Wright, or Einstein.

It’s not a new idea, Sir Ken Robinson has given a tremendously popular talk on the topic of schools killing creativity. Talk with any creative thinker and they’ll tell you that the current formal education is designed to produce workers not thinkers.

And we have to give credit where credit is due.

When the current schooling system was designed it was done so in a way that would help promote the industrial revolution. Assembly factories were popping up across the world, and those factories needed workers.

At the time our current education system was being developed the world was racing for the moon, fighting cold wars, and worrying about the possibility of a missile‒ intense war.

Back then we needed people who could do one job, very well, repeatedly, day‒in and day‒out.

But schooling wasn’t designed to only produce workers, the US government needed to easily identify those geniuses amongst us who could help develop the next factory or nuclear weapon or rocket engine. So an emphasis was placed on mathematics and the sciences. Music, art, and many other important learning opportunities have been put on the sidelines and, in many areas around the world, have even been abolished from education entirely.

As a result, students are forced into a methodological way of thinking that deprives them of creativity.

Students cannot explore themselves or their creativity with the current schooling system. Rather than being given the opportunity to explore their interests, their talents, and the activities that make them feel happy, students are forced to learn topics and methods that ‒ while beneficial ‒ ultimately deprive them of being creative and finding who they are.

Are all schools bad? Not at all. In‒fact, there are countless art institutes and creative‒incubators around the world for students who want to explore topics outside of the generic “norm”. However, most creative schools come later in life, after the average student has already been taught that a creative lifestyle is an unproductive one ‒ or, at the very least, a poor one.