Creativity is Essential
“I’m not one of those creative types,” said the Google analyst sitting next to me in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport waiting for our flight to San Francisco—delayed for an hour.
“I wish you wouldn’t say that about yourself,” I said. (In an airport you can talk that way to someone you will never see again.)
“It’s okay. I just never was one of those kids who made art all day long. I’m just not one of those creative people.”
“Don’t say that.”
“Because you are human. Human beings are creative maniacs.”
“Not me. I never did well in art class,” she came back a little defensively.
“Look, I am not saying all people are artists; I am saying that just because you label yourself a math person doesn’t mean you’re not creative. You can’t do your job at Google properly if you can’t think creatively.”
“Well, you are right about that.”
New Best Friend is not the only one who comes out of school feeling uncreative. Most schooling misteaches creativity–if it’s taught at all. “Schooling” teaches that creativity is the province of the arts, while the rest of the subjects, which require organization, routine, systematic thinking and the ability to handle boredom, can leave creativity out.
So, children go to school creative and most come out alienated from their own creativity, while the truth is that mastery of anything from Science to Technology to Engineering to Mathematics requires creativity.
Yes, let’s make sure that all the creative arts are taught in school, but let’s also make sure school teaches that there is an art to every discipline. Creativity is essential for all aspects of brain development, and isn’t that what education is all about?
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