This is a piece I wrote for a Story generation, I researched the topic of the lack of creativity within schooling systems, finding references and real faces to give my story idea authenticity, and wrote a proposing piece on my idea for this as a Story.
The combust of Creativity.
Exhausted minds and ruined passions.
Mathematics, sciences, English and social; these are the four main subjects that make up our schooling system; these are the classes that determine our future success. Or do they?
It seems to be a trend that the average high school overlooks the prominence of its creative courses. Music, drama art and creative writing classes are left underrated or just plain ignored. Should these talents not hold as much value as the core subjects? For some people these talents are much more natural than maths or science will ever be, shouldn’t there be focused attention on these topics for such students? With the current curriculum however many students are left to inadequate or less important because hteir brain doesn’t function in the way that society is telling them is ‘right’.
There are many ways to approach this topic, each with different outcomes. The subsection issue that I’m addressing on this topic is not so much the necessity although it is apparent through my proposal, however it is about how the lack of creative options in high school hinders student’s options (either physically and/or mentally) when pursuing post-secondary education.
It seems to be a recurring statistic that people tend to shy away from following through with their creative talents because they’ve been told that they must be academically smart to succeed in today’s society.
As per research collected from both the university of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College that shows the low number of students pursuing creative majors:
University of Lethbridge: (Information provided by Erin Kennet) There are currently 700 students enrolled in the fine arts program; out of a total 8300 (students attending U of L overall). This sums up to about 8.4% of students currently enrolled in programs which would classify as ‘creative.’
Lethbridge College: (Information provided by Vicki Hegedus) student enrollment in the communication arts program (which includes advertising and journalism) and also the fashion/design stand as:
*Communication arts see about 90-120 students (combining both 1st and 2nd year students) *fashion/design program they see about 30-45 students (combined 1st and 2nd years.)
out of around 4200 students these numbers add up to an astonishingly low total of only 3.9% of the schools overall population.
This information shows very low numbers on the creative program side of the academic scale.
I then narrowed my research to talk to a now psychology student attending her third year at the university of Lethbridge to see if she felt high school may be the reason for these numbers and her own personal experience:
Jessica Molnar (age 21): “I always loved drama and I took drama classes in high school and participated in all the plays. I had always known that it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I was told from several people (including my family and teachers) that it’s hard to have a career and not something I should put my mind on pursuing. So by the time graduation rolled around I was scrambling find other options, I ended up entering into Bachelor of Science in psychology and I’m now in my third year. I feel like this happens a lot to students, as I know it did to many of my friends who also took drama and art classes. I also noticed there were no creative writing classes available. It seems unfair but it’s all part of the system”
When asked how she felt about her major she responded with “I like it, I think I learned to like it because there’s nothing else that interests me (university wise.) But I still hope one day to somehow pursue my passions with drama”
The conclusive result from this interview seemed to clarify the accusations held against the focus of the high school curriculum, where children are told to follow the mainstream flow of academics because that’s where all the ‘good’ and ‘respectable’ jobs are.
I then furthered my research to get a teachers perspective on the High school curriculum. When this article was found about a previous teacher who voices her opinion: “Unfortunately, government attempts to improve education are stripping the joy out of teaching and doing nothing to help children,” Natale writes. “…Until this year, I was a highly regarded certified teacher. Now, I must prove myself with data that holds little meaning to me. I no longer have the luxury of teaching literature, with all of its life lessons, or teaching writing to students who long to be creative. … Instead of fostering love of reading and writing, I am killing children’s passions” this clip was taken from a newspaper article wrote by Kaitlin Glanzer and Ted Glanzer.
This seems to further the proof coming from both a students and teachers perspective, all with the same collective outcome.
To push the issue to a more global audience there was also a study *State of Create global benchmark study* conducted by adobe, that shows on a larger scale the negative effects of high school curriculums.
It states: “New research reveals a global creativity gap in five of the world’s largest economies, according to the Adobe® State of Create global benchmark study. The research shows 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society, yet a striking minority – only 1 in 4 people – believe they are living up to their own creative potential.”
The root of these problems seem to all stem from the individuals core education which in almost certain circumstances is an individuals high school career. There is so much focus placed on the ‘academic’ portions of the ciriculum that students are forced to learn what isn’t of an intellectual advantage or interest to them.
This brings about the question of: Is it right to tell a student that they must forget about their passions and their creative drive, forget about what they think they know and want, and push them to do what everyone else is doing? Does the world not need creativity to function?
Maybe high schools need to reconsider their straight arrow curriculum and listen to the needs of the student, because not everybody is going to become a doctor, or scientist or accountant, the world needs individuality, it needs art and music and passion not the repression of so.
Maybe High schools and school boards need to open their minds and broaden their horizons to cater for all students and not just the ‘academically’ talents, as there are many more talents in this world that deserve to be explored.
Jessica Molnar, (403) 795 9279
Admissions & Portfolio Advisor
Faculty of Fine Arts, W670
University of Lethbridge
(403) 380 1864
Chair, School of Media and Design
403-320-3202 x 5362
News article (adobe study): http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/schools-are-still-killing-creativity/