Does School Kill The Creativity Of Children?

by | Mar 12, 2022

We are all born with immense talent and creativity. However, in our school system, we don’t give enough value to either. By the time we complete our formal education, many of us think that we are not capable. We do what our parents and teachers tell us to do. But is that what we want. If our imagination and creativity was valued, we could do things that we have always wanted to do. Maybe we need to ask if it’s us who are not capable enough or is it the system who makes us believe so.

Nowadays, we see school as a place where one gets the certificate/degree which helps one get a job and a better lifestyle. As a child, I was told by my parents that school is a place where you receive knowledge and learning. It was true to some extent but there was hardly any place tweaking and customising it. It was funny that the teachers would impart knowledge without asking students whether they want it. Many a times, I was not interested in the information they were trying to give me.

I won’t blame the teachers for their actions. They were doing their best to get me qualified. It’s not their fault that I always wanted to go out and play. So I either got scolded or punished for my mischievous behaviour. Now do we see it as my interest in sports or indiscipline?

I have been going to a primary school for the last four months. Forty-two children study here. They know a bit of Hindi and a few letters of English. Initially, I found it difficult to engage with them because they were all talking in their local language Dhruva. When I asked the teacher: “Can they speak in hindi?”, she replied, “No, only a few of them understand Hindi but the others are dumb“. Is it fair to call them dumb?

Later that day, when the same teacher and I were talking, I asked her the reason of calling the students dumb. She justified it by saying that the students don’t study and have low attendance in class. I tried to find out a reason for this and came to a conclusion that the students don’t get an inclusive environment for their learning. They were doing what they were told to do but they didn’t have any idea as to why they were doing it. They were simply following the teacher’s instructions. School became boring for them and they started losing interest because they were being taught a new language (Hindi) by sitting in a classroom for a whole day.

We all got through an education system where we are bound by books and information. We don’t have any clue why we are learning it, and how it will benefit us.

In school, students never get the chance to decide what they should learn because their parents and teachers never gave them the chance to explore and decide for themselves. You have to put your faith in your child that they will do what they want to do and not what you want them to do. Otherwise education becomes a burden for them. Students start disliking everything including the things in which they are good. They get diverted from their interests and end up dropping out of school.

Do you ever think why we start schooling with a large group of students but only a few get into a college? Is it because they are more intelligent and will get a high paying job in future while others will have to rely on low paying jobs because they are not smart enough? They are many people who don’t survive in our education system, and they get associated with employment, class and financial security.

Our education system is the first place that divides us into class system because. Our degree and certificate decides what kind of job we get and hence, the social status. A more qualified person gets a higher position. In this system there is limited space for talent and creativity.

According to my understanding, a child should be the one who should decide what they need to learn and how they will learn it. Every child has talent but what they don’t get is a platform where they get appreciated or motivated.

Give a child exposure to multiple things. The more you give, the more they think, and the more they learn. A teacher should respect the inquisitiveness of a child, encourage them to ask more questions and let them think why they are doing what they are doing. What I feel most of the times is that teachers have a good intention and they want to do good for their students, but they never try to find out what a child wants. What makes a good teacher a great teacher is that the latter thinks like a kid and acts like an adult.

Children have their own language and they want a teacher to understand them. They want us to see the world inside them. They want us to be calm, keep them protected and safe. Children have their own way of communicating to everyone. As an adult we can listen to them and try to understand them.

Piyush with children at his school in Sukma, Chhattisgarh

A great teacher helps a student if they find them struggling. They don’t make assumptions about what a child is going through. When we learn to ride a bicycle, nobody tells us the mechanics of a bicycle. They gave it to us to ride. We find it hard because we don’t know how to ride while maintaining a balance. Someone holds the bicycle and runs behind us to pull us out of the struggle, making it easy for you. That’s an example of a great teacher.

School is not only a place for students to learn but it’s also a place where teachers can learn along with the students. They see a teacher as a person who knows everything but if they can see how teachers are also figuring it out, it can motivate the students to learn better. They will understand that sometimes a teacher gets stuck too.

We, as adults, must show the children how to find the solution for themselves and once we do that, they’ll find their way to learn. We should create a holistic environment for them, respect their creativity, give them the space for curiosity and open yourself to listen to them deeply. Our classrooms are the future, capable of transforming school and education.

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