Posted by: crudbasher | August 18, 2011

Study Shows Kids Getting Less Creative

“If you aren’t prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original” – Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson isn’t going to be happy about this. I agree with him that the most important thing we can encourage from children these days is their creativity. Just knowing a bunch of facts doesn’t do you any good unless you can then create new things from them.

This article talks about a study that indicates that children have gotten less creative in the last 40 years. In a way this is probably true. Studies like this are always tricky because they deal with generalizations. I have come across some very creative young people in my time. On average though, most children I see are just information consumers, not creators.

(cc) cogdogblog

In my mind school is largely to blame for this. The focus on standardized tests is producing standardized people. There is no time in school for wrong answers even though being wrong in the creative process is very important. When Thomas Edison was asked about the 1000 failed lightbulbs he made before he found the right one he simply said he now knows 1000 ways not to make a lightbulb.

So here’s the real question. If you accept my premise that schools are dampening the creativity of children, is this a feature or a bug? In other words, if this intentional?

If I put on my tin foil hat for a moment, I can see that in order to keep a society and economy running smoothly you have to have a docile population. People without creativity tend to be more accepting of what they are told, and tend to follow people more blindly. I can see that business leaders and politicians would think this is a good thing.

So what can be done about this? I think the answer is personalized learning where the child gets a unique curriculum that adapts to their aptitudes. Whatever countries figure this out will dominate the rest of this century.

Any thoughts?

  • Study on kids getting less creative.

    tags: education creativity study nell

    • It sounds like the opinion of an adult with rose-tinted glasses: Kids are not as creative as they used to be.

      But researchers say they are finding exactly that.

    • In a 2010 study of 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years.
    • Experts say creativity is innate, so it cannot really be lost. But it needs to be nurtured.
    • The current focus on testing in schools, and the idea that there is only  one right answer to a question, may be hampering development of  creativity among kids, Prof Beghetto said.
    • In her study, Dr Kim analysed results from the Torrance test, an exam that measures an aspect of creativity called divergent thinking. In this test, kids might be shown two circles and asked to draw something out of these shapes.

      Interestingly, scores on the Torrance test have been decreasing while SAT scores are increasing. However, better test scores do not necessarily translate to improved creativity, Dr Kim said.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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