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Creativity may be defined as the innate ability of every individual to create or innovate. It can also be called a phenomenon by means of which an individual is able to create something new and previously not thought of. Creativity may also be explained as the process of finding new ways to revamp old approaches. There is a common saying that human resource management beings are creative by birth; in other words, creativity and innovation is the inherent capability of every individual. However, education or the conventional and outdated modes of education in schools and colleges have ruined the creative capacity of individuals. The following essay is a critical stance on this statement, exploring arguments both for and against it.
A study conducted by NASA showed that at least 98 per cent of children were born with exceptional creative capacities. Yet, that number dwindles as these children grow older. By the time children reach adulthood, their creative capability has been reduced to a negligible amount. Thus the question arises as to the factors responsible for this (Starko, 2013). It is deemed that the mainstream educational systems kill creativity. Studies show that every child is fond of writing stories, devising their own scenario, painting, role playing activities and so on. Children do have a fantastic imagination, which can be called a natural gift. Yet, the education system in most schools and universities fail to adopt curriculums that encourage the nourishment of such imaginative powers. Indeed, as Castro Fajardo et al. (2014) claims, it is the duty of every teacher and educator to ensure that the creative talents or gifts of children are not only encouraged but nourished, so as to pave the way for enhanced cognitive development in the long run. However, teachers and educators continue to employ outdated teaching techniques that are without meaning and purpose, and fail to foster the growth of creative minds.
However, as Davis et al. (2013) argue, education too can promote creativity. Around the world, this is known as creative education. Creative education, which has been implemented in a number of schools around the world, promotes a learning culture of critical thinking, analytical skills and problem solving skills. In such healthy and nourishing academic environments, students are encouraged to use their inborn imaginative skills to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to problems. They are encouraged to take risks, instead of conforming to traditional means of learning. Teachers in such educational institutions encourage students to ask questions, challenge existing ideas and be independent (Newton, 2013). They are also encouraged to be open minded. Such students do not simply reiterate what they have learnt in class. Instead, they absorb the lesson and employ their knowledge in other situations. This is known as divergent thinking, which is inculcated in students as part of creative education.
A few years ago, at TED talks, Ken Robinson’s speech completely altered the way education is perceived. According to Robinson, creativity is based on knowledge, which is then related to literacy (Robinson, 2018). One must agree with Robinson, because schools are not allowing children to grow into innovation and creativity. On the contrary, schools are killing creativity by inhibiting the growth of creative capabilities of young children. In other words, children are being educated out of creativity. Creativity is linked to self expression, imagination and also divergent thinking. In other words, a creative person would always seek to express himself through his work and would come up with innovative new means. Creativity may be called something that comes naturally to human beings, something that people are born with. In fact, creativity is often demonstrated in individuals who have struggled academically. Robinson is also of the opinion that creative thinking cannot be taught in schools, because to categorize it as a skill would be understating its importance. However, it is the responsibility of the teachers and educational institutions to nourish creative thinking and expand its horizons for students by increasing the depth of knowledge provided to them.
On the contrary, Caniëls, De Stobbeleir and De Clippeleer (2014) argue that creativity is not necessarily an inborn gift. It may also be called a learning process. It can easily be claimed that creativity is an acquired skill. It must be remembered that creativity is not some charismatic quality of individuals. It is not some elusive quality – something that some people have while others do not. Yet, creativity can easily be taught or even acquired. Csikszentmihalyi and Wolfe (2014) are of the opinion that creativity can be conditioned into the minds of the individuals. Through the use of scientific principles and logic, knowledge that already exists can be marshaled in order to create brand new, innovative solutions to specific problems. In fact, some individuals like Veale, Feyaerts and Forceville (2013) have even claimed that creativity is not an inborn talent. At the time of birth, the human mind is tabula rasa or like a blank slate. Creativity and innovation can be learned on the basis of secondary knowledge acquired later on in life. In other words, creativity may be explained as a cognitive competence. Such cognitive competence gets shape and substance from within the knowledge domains which an educated person would have access to. In schools and other educational institutions, a person would come across a variety of knowledge and experiences which would shape their minds and mould their brains. Children in schools have young, impressionable minds which resemble sponges. They pick up whatever they are exposed to. Supportive teachers can indeed be integral in shaping the young creative minds of children (Pikala, 2013).
Children by nature are curious, inquisitive and possess tremendous talents. Yet, the education system squanders these talents ruthlessly. A child enters school as an individual who is fascinated by the world around. Yet, in school, they are exposed to traditional means of healthcare education which restrict them within boundaries (Sharma, 2016). For instance, children are expected to behave in a certain way, they have to study courses and topics in their syllabi and mistakes are severely punished (Dalal & Rani, 2013). The concept of perfection is imposed on them and they are forced to abide by a set of norms and conventions; failure to do so could result in penalties. As a result, children are constantly living in fear of punishment and forego the curiosity and imaginative capacities of their childhood. Children, thus from a young age, are conditioned to stick to their curriculums and avoid mistakes. By the time they grow up, they are no longer curious, they no longer question and no longer exercise their creative minds. In other words, mainstream education would instill a sense of mediocrity amongst young, impressionable minds.
However, such a view is opposed by Sucio (2014). It must be asserted that the claim that education kills creativity is largely based on hypothetical evidence and is not backed up by scientific evidence. There is no definite scientific proof that shows that education can be detrimental to creativity. It has been found that although creative individuals often struggle in their academic lives, their eventual achievement in creativity is seldom affected by it. In fact, there is research to prove people who work in creative fields are more likely to have college degrees than others (Susnea et al., 2014). Similarly, it is also assumed that people with an in depth knowledge field would be more capable of exercising their creativity. Research has also shown that the ability to come up with creative ideas would vary depending on the knowledge of a person, knowledge breadth, cognitive development and flexibility. These factors vary over a period of time, as an individual matures from childhood to adulthood and as such, the extent of his creativity also varies. There are essentially two kinds of knowledge in a person – specialized knowledge and diverse knowledge. As a child, a person has more diverse knowledge than specialized knowledge. However, as he grows up, he begins to develop preferences and begins to focus on one area of knowledge. With higher education, the person begins to gain more and more knowledge about a specific subject (Cerne et al., 2014). Such knowledge would better equip him to come up with specialized, specific and innovative solutions to problems. Thus, while it can be said that creativity is inherent, it can also be said that creativity can be enhanced as a result of knowledge acquisition.
To conclude, it can be said that there is enough argument to suggest that education can be stifling as far as creativity is concerned. Education around the world has remained constricted to certain boundaries. It abides by a set of norms and regulations, which inhibit the cognitive development of young, creative minds. Students are always expected to abide by codes of perfection, where taking risks is frowned upon. Such modes of education can be potentially damaging to the creative development of students. However, as of now, most schools have implemented a system of creative education. Such creative education promotes a degree of critical thinking and encourages students to employ their creative thinking abilities.
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