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Are you Prepared to be Wrong?

As I wrote on this topic in my Human Heredity class, I realized how much I enjoyed this subject and how I agreed with what the speaker, Sir Ken Robinson had to say about education in 2006 when this TED talk came out. What I did not enjoy was seeing where education has come over the last 13 years… But I think there can be hope on the horizon if we continue to stoke the creative fire of both young learners and their guardians, parents, and teachers.


First, this post is based on a TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson in 2006 titled, "Do schools kill creativity?" Give it a watch as it is very interesting and full of amazing concepts and ideas surrounding educational theory.

Once you have watched it, come on back here and let's discuss! I am curious to know what you thought of his talk, let me know below in the comments if you watched it.

Done with that? Amazing! Let's move on to talk about what exactly schools are doing to creativity and what that might do to our future generations...

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original." - Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson has a valid point with his poignant statement. There is little tendency to persevere to achieve without the understanding that you will fail when trying to imagine new concepts, ideas, or solutions to problems. After all, that thing you are trying to trailblaze forward on has never been done before, there is no way to know what is right and what is wrong.

Sir Ken Robinson brings to light in his TED Talk the issues surrounding not taking risks or being curious for fear of being wrong. He brings this back to students learning in modern educational systems, they are taught not to ask questions but to memorize and learn by a set standard that is conducive to only a small range of learning styles. This learning setup breeds fear in many young students because they are shown that questions are an annoyance, and students who ask many questions are often labeled as difficult for wasting time or as having a learning disability. Labels such as these create obstacles for students who do not learn in the same way as the norm, even though these students are no less capable than their peers.

In his TED Talk, Sir Ken Robinson speaks about modern education and how it has stifled the minds of young children which has led to a massive effect on creativity. The modern educational system has an impact on children throughout their lives because it values or stigmatizes certain subjects over others, and it discourages individuality, questioning, and true problem-solving. This lack of creativity has dire consequences including a decreased sense of curiosity and joy. There is a large portion of brilliant minds being overlooked in schools due to years of molding curriculum to be a series of tests that determine a student’s abilities in classical academics.

These differences in cognition should be celebrated instead of forced into a specific standardized test because these differences lead to actual problem-solving. Sir Robinson brings up in his talk that creativity is the brain’s ability to adaptively learn and think about its environment. What is most fascinating to me about this concept is the multitude of ways different people experience the same thing. This creative outlook that each person has on life gives variety and progression to society. When students who learn creatively are told they are learning wrong it leads to them shutting off their creativity and could lead to shutting down prematurely later in life.

These brilliant minds who are discriminated against and labeled have the potential to develop into poorly behaved adults or to suffer seemingly impossible mental health issues. There are so many different ways for the brain to learn and experience environments that it seems silly to pigeonhole our vast cognitive abilities and give such importance to classical intelligence even though there are obvious and troublesome results to doing so. This focus on traditional academic achievement is dangerous and can bury the passion of people told their thinking was too different to be considered normal enough to succeed in a traditional arena.

The addition of standardized testing has been a particularly slippery slope leading to not only an issue with the overinflation of the value of a classical education but it also adds to the fear among those who are not traditionally considered to be academically intelligent. Standardized tests tell students if they are not performing normally there must be something wrong with them. Yet, they are intelligent in their own ways and can solve problems in a way no one else could think of. Because they do not follow typical patterns they are stereotyped and mistreated, so to cope with a suffocating learning system, these brilliant people are forced to dumb themselves down or worse, given medication to mellow them out. This fear of being wrong or being mistreated leads to younger students failing or being apathetic and uninterested in learning, which can progress to truly brilliant people feeling stifled and able to amount to very little. These changes alter the outcome of a person’s life making creativity a somewhat dangerous thing to possess when attending school in 2019...

I believe it is important that the education system shifts to instead accommodate more creativity and curiosity. This change could lead to more students succeeding and feeling successful in a whole curriculum that includes both math and sciences coupled with the arts and literature. To stoke creativity, I think it would be wise to begin incorporating more opportunities to question not only topics but curriculum; giving students an option to learn in alternative ways whether it is through dance or robotics; and also letting young students know that their brains are all unique and capable of achieving great things.

Without curious and answer-seeking citizens many things would not be what they are today. For one, science and advances in science would not be occurring if questions were not asked every moment of every day. Science can also give thanks to failing A LOT because an experiment is truly about proving a hypothesis wrong versus proving it right.

In the modern educational system, there should be room made for any kind of creative and expansive thinking. Without the opportunity to expand knowledge by being wrong and then asking questions to seek answers, there would be no way to progress in society!

This concept can be applied to many different topics.

I am curious to know from you: What are your thoughts on creativity in schools? Do you think it is important to balance classical academics with a more art-related curriculum? What about when it comes to being wrong? Are you willing to be wrong for the sake of progress? Let me know in the comments below!

Love & Light,

Cierra Urso


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