Now I’ll admit, I’ve not really been keeping up to date with the news in England lately. News here tends to have a Finnish focus, funnily enough. And yes I could read on the websites, and I do from time to time, but sometimes I’m busy…
Reading my friend’s article and learning about the changes that are to take place really made me think, and I quickly did a search to find out some more information.
Apparently there is going to be a restructuring of sorts. English literature will no longer be a compulsory subject. The compulsory study of English will be more or less reduced to grammar and rules. There will be no criticising or analysing, just the final rigidity of right and wrong.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that absolutely appalling. Or at the very least a huge step in the wrong direction.
In an article I read on the subject Gove is quoted as saying that “We’ve rewarded schools that teach traditional subjects” and a fellow minister goes on to say that “We are rebalancing the curriculum towards high-value subjects – in maths, sciences, DT, computing, English and languages.”
Allow me to reiterate that – high value subjects.
Presumably then the other subjects are low value.
Where is the art? The literature? The drama? The music?
Where do we encourage the young to be creative, to use their imaginations?
Therein lies the problem – we don’t. Creativity is discouraged. It is looked down on. Anyone who has studied one of the arts at university has no doubt been faced with the question – “why didn’t you choose something more useful to study?”
I admit that I am a bit biased but I think creativity is useful. In fact I would argue it is vital.
The so-called traditional (and therefore ‘useful’) subjects share a common theme. They have rules. They have right and wrong. Take maths for example – you learn the techniques, and following them perfectly will get you the right answer. With chemistry it is the same – combine the right chemicals to make the reaction you want, and if you don’t follow it perfectly then it will be wrong.
These subjects are rigid and inflexible.
All children are born with an innate creative. They are artists, musicians, actors and story tellers at heart. If you leave a child to their own devices to play they will tell stories – whether they are playing with dolls or cars, dressing up or just playing make-believe. Give them an instrument and they will make music. Give them crayons and they will draw, and it doesn’t matter if the sky is purple, or if the cat is the same size as the tree. For children such boundaries and rules do not apply. They let there imaginations run wild. And it’s wonderful.
I’m not saying that learning rules and boundaries is a complete evil. I forget who said it (can anyone tell me?) but it is said that you have to learn the rules before you can break them. Yes, rules and boundaries are important. Used properly they can be used to guide creativity, to grow imagination.
I think sometimes people overlook the importance of creativity. But maybe those people are thinking too rigidly themselves. Invention and innovation requires imagination. Creativity and imagination are what give us the “what if..?” questions. “What if we could fly? How would we do that?” Without creativity and imagination we wouldn’t have many of the technologies that we have today.
Without innovation, prompted by creativity and imagination, how will we ever cure cancer? Or solve world hunger? Or create more efficient power sources? Or… well, I’m sure you get the idea.
A focus on the academic subjects – the rigidity of rules – teaches our youngsters how to think inside the box. The pooh-poohing of creative subjects, looking down our noses at those who chose to study them, discourages our children from thinking outside the box.
Because using your imagination is “wrong”.
There’s an absolutely wonderful TED talk about “How Schools Kill Creativity” which is extremely relevant to this topic! I would definitely recommend giving it a watch.
Do you think creativity is important? Do you think academic subjects should be prioritised?