I have been reading the book, “The Element How Finding your Passion Changes Everything” by Sir Ken Robinson. I have always loved listening to and reading Robinson’s podcasts and books, specifically those related to how schools kill creativity. “The Element” showcases a variety of famous and not-so-famous people and how finding their passion changed their lives. I have written about passion before, this idea that somewhere-out there each of us has a passion and we should be leading our lives in the direction and alongside the values of that passion. However, I often struggle to identify what my true passion is, I am not sure if it is my need to communicate/be social, connect with others, be creative, or…. So rather than get bummed out about how I haven’t identified my passion, I have been reading “The Element” as a fuel to my curiosity about creativity.
Robinson suggests that schools kill creativity, that our educational insitutions focus curriculum on the subjects, on the rules, on the box that we are all supposed to fit ourselves into, and so many of our students and ourselves do not fix in that box. Often when we do not fit in that box, that tidy wrapping where we sit in our desks politely, read what we are supposed to read, and write in beautiful cursive handwriting (who writes like that anymore?!), people classify the student who does not follow the above, as someone with ADHD. Of course I am sure that many people do suffer from ADHD, but I also believe that perhaps the teaching style that is offered to that one person is not appropriate for them.
Creativity is not just about thinking outside of the box and I am not suggesting that students who are attentive and do as they are told are not creative (I was one of those kids that LOVED following the rules and I consider myself creative). Making room for creativity is so important in play and work.
My fondest and scariest moments as a child revolve around creativity. Fondest: playing “pretend” house or restaurant at home with friends, creating elaborate second worlds in my own bedroom or in the hallway upstairs, making radio shows with friends using a tape recorder, writing stories, drawing, and having the art room. On the flip side I remember art class in elementary school as awful. I am not sure if it was just me, correct me CW peeps, but the art teacher, Mr. Hurt, was not a nice man. I distinctly remember him laughing, and not a nice laugh, when I made a dog out of clay (granted it was not that great) and just a very abrupt and not terrible “Elementary-style” of teaching. Art class made me uncomfortable, like I was constantly doing something wrong and yet when I was home in my own art world I was fine- I would spend time colouring, drawing, painting, and not worrying that Mr. Hurt was going to laugh at my creation. I guess my point is that, as Ken Robinson, points out- creativity is about giving that space for a person to express themselves in the way that feels most natural to themselves.