Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why what worked then won't work for much longer...

I've been published again! Below, check out my latest contribution to artistew, where I write under the name Imagination, Unstifled.

by Imagination, Unstifled

I’ve recently shuffled back through two of my favorite books on the topics of creative education; The Element by Sir Ken Robinson, and A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, and I’m struck by the blatantly obvious the need to evolve our antediluvian education system to meet the needs of a changing world. And simultaneously, I’m struck by how outrageous the claims that we don’t need to educate students creatively are.  When you consider the eerie resemblance of the industrial workplace and the public education system(created around the same time), it’s easy to see where our factory-mentality regarding school has come from.

“Public schools were not only created in the interests of industrialism—they were created in the imageof industrialism… This is especially true in high schools, where school systems base education on the principles of the assembly line and the efficient division of labor. Schools divide the curriculum into specialist segments: some teachers install math in the students, and others install history. They arrange the day into standard units of time, marked out by the ringing of bells, much like a factory announcing the beginning of the workday and the end of breaks. Students are educated in batches, according to age, as if the most important thing they have in common is their date of manufacture. They are given standardized tests at set points and compared with each other before being sent out onto the market.”
-excerpted from The Element by Sir Ken Robinson

The truth is, this sort of education has been sufficient for a while. In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink discusses our progression from the agricultural era to the industrial era and the information era, the needs of which were adequately met with this approach to education. We’re now moving into the conceptual era, as Pink describes it, and our previous approaches to education will no longer suffice.  The jobs that rely solely on logical and linear capacities are being outsourced, and we must continue to push the innovative boundaries of our collective conscious to stay current and relevant. Needless to say, education that focuses exclusively on the indoctrination of already discovered truths does not encourage the development or creation of anything new. Studying only facts inherently excludes creativity and interpretation and discourages brains that connect more readily with concepts and theories. Left-brained education is still important, but we can no longer afford to promote it at the expense of right-brained development.