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Changing the Education Paradigm for the Sake of Creativity

posted Jun 9, 2012, 11:26 PM by Golden Knight   [ updated Jun 10, 2012, 6:34 PM ]
By David Yoo


There is a major crisis occurring in this world, and it involves the most vulnerable people on the planet.
 The people I’m speaking about are children, and the urgent matter I’m speaking about is our education system in most Western developed countries, but specifically the United States. This is no laughing matter and we are the cause of this problem: the problem of actively minimizing creativity from our schools and from our society, the problem with believing that small-scale adjustments can fix our broken education system, and the problem of strangling creativity at its inception. 

The problem is that some people’s full potential are being strangled because their interests and priorities are being downsized. Schools nationwide have prioritized subjects which they deemed are most important for our children to learn. Consequently we now have a pyramid of the subjects, an education pyramid that resembles our food pyramid. The wheats and grains that fill the bottom tier of the food pyramid are subjects such as the humanities, sciences, and mathematics. On the other hand, the fruits and vegetables categories whose importance are not emphasized enough are the subjects that deal with creativity. Subjects such as theater, acting, art, music, dance, and so on.

In all the grains and wheats subjects there is always going to be a right and wrong answer. We make our students and children sensitive to being wrong and stigmatize them when they are. In fact, our entire grading system is based on how many right answers our students can give us. But when students are afraid of being wrong and of interpreting something differently, we essentially negate their desire to be imaginative and creative; we destroy their abilities and desires to think on the spot, to envision, and conceptualize when we downsize the subjects that exercise those very abilities.

We need to consider the thousands of students who do not find joy in being forced to take upon the pyramid subjects with limited access to the creative subjects. These students are sitting in classrooms and every minute feels like an hour, but education ought to make every hour feel like a minute. 

In our society we have fast-food restaurants and restaurants that tailor their food according to our tastes, whether we seek certain types of foods or are into the kosher, vegetarian, or raw diet. We would like to have our education system to be like the latter, but unfortunately we have a system that resembles the fast-food restaurants’. We group kids by batches, by what year they were born and try to deliver them into a university as fast as we can. I advance the assertion that education is supposed to be organic and animate. It’s supposed to capture, shape, tailor and mold our students, not create robotic, mechanical, or automated ones, but unfortunately that’s what our current system is doing. 

Therefore, what we need to do is not continually reinforce the beaten idea that the four pyramid subjects are important, but to enforce the same mentality for the subjects that are currently being ignored or not given the equal attention it deserves. We absolutely need creativity, innovation, and inventiveness in every single field and we are denying the possibility of those for millions when we deny those subjects at the threshold. So let us work towards an education system that can hold all of the subjects in an equal playing field and perhaps advocate for creative subjects to be required courses for all four years of high school, or seek more opportunities for our students to explore this arena which is yet to be tapped into. And just as we need to change our diet that depends on the fast food restaurants, so too should we change the way we give our students education; let us give them education not on a cafeteria tray but on a silver platter.