Is our education system stifling innovation?

Why do the BIG innovations start in someone’s garage, basement or down the pub, why not in the classroom?

A one-size fits all education system based on restrictive curriculums, standardised tests and an emphasis on succeeding in core subjects over the arts ultimately leaves little room for nourishing creativity and individuality. Passion can quickly seep away as children enter the assembly line of our education system and their focus shifts from creating and exploring ideas and games to memorising and regurgitating facts. This new focus ultimately leads critical pathways in the brain to strengthen around reward-based factual learning, whilst closing the doors on imagination and creativity.

How can we as teachers and parents help?

  • Build an open and accepting environment. Creating a space where children can take a risk, go out on a limb and speak openly about their thoughts and ideas is truly important to help children foster their creativity and fear less about making mistakes in front of others.
  • Be present in conversations. Ask children to elaborate on their ideas, ask them ‘what, why, how, where, who, when’ questions to motivate them to explore ideas and concepts with you more regularly whilst you show genuine interest. 
  • Reconsider phrasing for tasks and activities. Use words such as ‘invent’, ‘create’, ‘build’, ‘design’ and ‘imagine’ rather than ‘write’, ‘detail’, or ‘draw’ to emphasise the ‘thinking’ rather than ‘doing’ element.
  • Experiment with your own creativity. Many children aspire to be like their teachers and parents. Watching you actively involve yourself in creative tasks will help them prevent categorising creative activities like doodling, colouring and dancing as ‘childish’. 
  • Understand that some misbehaviours can be prevented through creative release. For some children who often create disturbances in lessons, you may notice creativity in their behaviour that could be rechannelled. Explore different avenues with children to establish creative outlets for them that both you and them can take pride in.

Ultimately, when creativity flows free, the potential for future entrepreneurship soars. So let’s be sure to nourish it.