Grades K through 12: Obviously, most people have gone through them. However, what happened to your creativity and curiosity? Maybe you still have it, maybe you still view the world with wide eyes and a dozen questions ready on your tongue, music and books to write or dance moves to invent. If you do, that’s great. Embrace it.
If you don’t, maybe it’s because you went through school.
Sounds weird, doesn’t it? The very schooling we have to go through in order to be successful in life is one of the largest reasons why creativity and curiosity are zapped. How does that work?
First of all, our current school system requires us to learn a certain set of core classes before graduation. Most students have to take algebra, geometry, biology and certain English courses before you were allowed to graduate.
All of these courses are important and should be taught. However, the current system does not accommodate for the overflow of curiosity or creativity.
Schools are more focused on pulling in the best overall test scores than they are with allowing students to grow, be curious, and let their minds flourish.
Most tests throughout school ask for simple, yes or no answers: in which only one answer is correct. The curriculum is often taught the same way: through repetition and strict, single-answer responses.
Students may not get the chance to explore further or think for themselves; if one asks a question during class it (with the intention of gaining knowledge, not just being the annoying kid that likes to hold up class) the student may have to go home and look it up online, because the teacher may not stop the lecture to answer all of your questions..
The slow death of music, art, and workshop classes only taps out more talent. If a student’s true talent lies within one of these categories, they’ll never get to realize it in school.
The musical prodigy will be labeled as a poor student because he or she can’t understand math or history, and don’t have music classes to prove their worth. The artist’s creative mind is forced to fit into the cookie-cutter mold of “true or false, 2 times 6x equals x, and Mesopotamia is the first human civilization.”
Why is this bad? Our schools are snuffing out the next generation of great thinkers.
If students don’t foster their individuality and their own abilities, then that means that we’re all the same. There aren’t any deviant thinkers, and deviant thinkers are the ones that build and improve nations.
Curiosity and creativity are important. They’re the things that drive a 20-year-old to drop out of college in order to start their business in their garage. Creativity and curiosity are the things that create the books that change the minds of many.
Curiosity is the urge to think more, learn more, be more: to see why and what happens next.
Creativity is what helps someone come up with the next big invention of the century and, sometimes, curiosity and creativity work hand-in-hand.
Reclaim your creativity. Reclaim your desire to ask why. And if you’re planning on becoming a teacher, or already are one, keep this in mind and encourage the big thinkers and the kids that can’t seem to stop asking why.
The system might not change, but you never know what a single teacher could do for a child by simply pausing to explain why or allowing discussions and free thought. Let’s not let the world go stagnant with the loss of curiosity or creativity.