9/19/12

The Decline of Creativity in this Generation of School Children


“Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running—that's the way to live.”
-Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
I often tout creativity as a chief benefit of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. By nature, we ADHD’rs are nonconformists who spurn authority (or anyone who comes across as too heavy handed) and seek inspiration from expansive thinking and new activities. When I came across Dr. Peter Gray’s article “As Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity” in PsychologyToday.com, I couldn’t help but feel saddened by the apparent drop in creativity among this generation of school children. On creativity, Dr. Gray writes:
Creativity is nurtured by freedom and stifled by the continuous monitoring, evaluation, adult-direction, and pressure to conform that restrict children’s lives today. In the real world few questions have one right answer, few problems have one right solution; that’s why creativity is crucial to success in the real world. But more and more we are subjecting children to an educational system that assumes one right answer to every question and one correct solution to every problem, a system that punishes children (and their teachers too) for daring to try different routes. We are also, as I documented in a previous essay, increasingly depriving children of free time outside of school to play, explore, be bored, overcome boredom, fail, overcome failure—that is, to do all that they must do in order to develop their full creative potential.
Peter Gray, “As Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity.”
I find it interesting how the high demands of our modern lifestyle, in school, work, and at home, seek to glean the most from us, and yet, as exampled by this decline in creativity, ends up sucking us dry and depriving us of our full potential. I’m reminded of the visual presentation of Sir Kevin Robinson’s speech on changing academic paradigms, included in the post, “Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” which promotes an academic system based in creative thinking.

I wonder how the next generation of children would benefit from a little less monitoring and a little more trust in their inherent capabilities. What do you think?

Comment below or email me at WriteToJulianna.



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