Creative block

My somewhat ceaseless, somewhat disheartening quest for post-graduation employment prospects recently led me to a particular graduate scheme whose application probed my capacity for creativity. It was just one question. About 1/10th of the application, but it really stumped me for a while. Not because I couldn’t find an answer to the question. I could think of a few answers. But with each answer I gave, as soon as I finished the paragraph and went back to proof read a wave of uncertainty washed over me. Is this really creative? Why is this creative? What’s creativity again? I began to question everything, my whole intellectual capacity. In that moment my entire view of myself completely crumbled because of this one question. But why?

I started googling creativity. Did you know that American research has shown that since 1990 children’s creativity has been consistently decreasing year on year? This is a deeply chilling result given that future progression and innovation rests on these shoulders. I wondered whether it is the shackles of our (somewhat) dated system that is holding children back. Creativity, the use of imagination or original ideas, was something that was largely brushed aside at school, as far as I can remember, while its stronger brothers Facts and Logic took centre stage. We’re taught specific information from a curriculum that has been weighed and measured by the necessary bodies, for standardized exams. It’s as if at the age of around 4 or 5, children are positioned on the “formal education” assembly line. They move along this line continuously for the next 11-13 years and are periodically equipped with the exact skills, knowledge and competencies that will stand them in good stead at an imagined point in the future. Obviously there is little scope within this rigid framework for questioning or original thought, so how is that they’re, we’re, i’m supposed to jump off this assembly line a thoughtful creative person, brimming with innovated ideas?

The more i considered it the more i realized, this type of linear, closed system does nothing other than trivialize the goals of education, centring on only very simple, concrete objectives, such as 1. get into uni, 2. get a job. Surely that shouldn’t be the point of education, simply a means to an ends. It should be to cultivate richer, more considerate individuals who can more efficiently interact with their environment and understand the world in which they live. It should be the foundations of  an on-going, life-long learning process.

I came across this video, it explains what i want to say much more eloquently. Sir Ken Robinson is definitely onto something