Nowadays, when technology has reached to a high level, some parents may worry that their children are relying too much on electronic devices and internet websites and not thinking out of the box when it comes to solving problems. So does education help children grow their creativities as their parents’ expectations, or does it affects us in an opposite way? When the question “Is creativity suppressed by education and knowledge?” is given, the result is 75% of the people who answered showed their point of view as education is a helpful tool for all generations to be a critical thinker(Anonymous, n.d.). So education doesn’t stifle creativity, instead, it actually increases it because it helps us to improve our knowledge, helps our brains to be active and develops our skills to let us become critical thinkers.
Firstly, learning can help us increase our knowledge, which is the basis for us to be more creative. Let’s imagine; if our creativity is a single kite that cannot fly, cannot grow and develop, so the knowledge that education gives us throughout years and months of learning is the wind, the wind that pushes the kite to fly higher and higher, to get yourself out of what you were before. This shows that education is the basefor people to growcreativity. According to scientists, intelligence certainly plays apart in creative thinking (Christensen, 2013). We all know that education provides us knowledge and intelligence. As long as you learn, you can get wisdom and experience, which are needed for creativity to grow. In mathematics and basic sciences, IQ is important, because it gives youan ability to solve similar problems (Christensen, 2013). Once you’ve got a level of knowledge gathering and utilization that’s about average, you’re able to have the creative potential as Albert Einstein and Bill Gates (Christensen, 2013). These people are examples of how education has helped humans be creative in thinking and solving world’s problems (Editors B. , n.d.). Bill Gates had created a website that can solve the problem of lacking knowledge.Besides, Mark Zuckerberg had spent his time in Havard University for years and he came out with creative ideas. It shows that high- educated people are very likely to become a critical thinker. In the past, living in the natural environment and learning from it, Cistercians had increased their knowledge; think more creatively about better ways to live. As they tried different ways to kill a prey or to make a stand-stilled shelter, get warm, they had learnt something and gotten their imaginations to a higher level, means that they were being creative in solving life problems. The above example shows that without knowledge and creativity, they couldn’t evolve as fast as they did. So, knowledge really helps us to be more creative in life.
Secondly, learning helps our brains to be active, which makes us to think more creatively. MaryAnn Kohl, an arts educator and author of numerous books about children’s art education had showed her point of view: “If they are exploring and thinking and experimenting and trying new ideas, then creativity has a chance to blossom” (Lynch, n.d.). Professor Elliot Eisner, a professor of education at Stanford University, had given his ideas: “The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution.” (Robertson, n.d.). What Professor Eisner had said points to the idea of art helping children’s brains to be more active. According to studies, the best way to promote creativity in the classroom is unclear, but one piece published by the Collaboration for Nondestructive Testing had told us: “Teachers that want to encourage creativity in the classroom should make sure they are giving their students a lot of choices and different options when it comes to assignments and projects” (Luzer, 2013). Today, in many schools, the faculties are trying to apply this kind of teaching for students. For instance, my teacher, Ms. Laura Murphy at Wellspring International School always gives her students a chance to choose their topics for essays. In that way of studying, we feel like we have been given opportunities to express ourselves more. Besides, in Vietnam nowadays, there are lots of competitions for students to take part in and show the judges how creative they can be in presenting their works, showing their ideas. For instance, in October, 2015, Hanoi just organized a history competition for all students in grade 8 and 9 called: “I love history”. With three questions given, students were able to choose how they are going to present: they can video themselves talking about the topic, draw pictures, make a photo collections with descriptions or a hand-write ancient book, etc. Taking part in this competition, I feel like my work had shown a part of me and my creativeness. As you can see on the Internet, there are many different kinds of works in different schools that show students’ creativities. So, this example points to the idea of education helping students to become critical thinkers. Research showed that some writers in the America had come up with the opposite idea of how education affects our creativities. More than 120 American writers sent an open letter to the White House warning President Obama that the increasing use of standardized tests in American schools are destroying creativity and undermining “children’s love of reading” (Luzer, 2013). But they also concluded that books fire children’s imaginations (Luzer, 2013). So while studying Literature, children had a great opportunity to curl up with books. People should have thought again, carefully about what education had brought us, about its advantages and what it has been improving to our imaginations.Also, the standardized tests are needed because students are more willing to review what they have been taught when there is a test coming soon. And by reviewing like that, their brains can be practiced to be more active. Neurologist and educator Judy Willis said that when people repeatedly practice an activity or access a memory, their neural networks — groups of neurons that fire together, creating electrochemical pathways — shape themselves according to that activity or memory(Bernard, 2010). When people stop practicing new things, the brain will eventually eliminate, or “prune,” the connecting cells that formed the pathways(Bernard, 2010). So preparing for standardized tests also helps us to remember what we have learnt, improve our memories and knowledge. To sum up, people who said that education stifles creativity in some ways are wrong. Overall, education really helps our brains practice to be active, which excite the hidden creativity in you.
Lastly, learning helps us to develop our skills so we can be able to do creative work. Ms. Laura Murphy had said that by learning, practicing to do something, students will remember how it was done and then they will be able repeat that action as a skill (Murphy, 2015). So, after hours and hours, days and days of being educated, students can improve the skills that are needed to do creative work. According to studies, through experiences in theater and dance education, children learn to breakdown the mechanics of body language (Strauss, 2013). They experience different ways of moving and how those movements communicate different emotions (Strauss, 2013). They also learn how to focus by keeping a balance between listening and contributing in ensemble work and to be flexible when it comes to problem solving by doing art work (Strauss, 2013). Research shows that by studying Literature, students have developed thinking skills: analyze and response creatively (Roe, 2010). Those above subjects provide students skills to do their creative works. For example, Nancy, a parent of three elementary-aged children, pulls out the “scrap box”, which is a container filled with simple materials like paper towel tubes, rubber bands, scraps of paper, cotton balls, etc. when her kids say that they are bored(Robertson, n.d.). Nancy challenges her children to create sculptures that solve a problem: “Using only the materials in the box, build the tallest, most interesting or most beautiful structure that is also able to stand securely on its own.” (Robertson, n.d.). Nancy says, “My children love these kinds of challenges, and each of them creates a very different solution to the same problem” (Robertson, n.d.). The above example shows that art had provided Nancy’s children the problem-solving skill to build creative models. Research also shows that as we use fingers to finger paint, we are improving control of the small muscles in their hands(Art – An Opportunity to Develop Children’s Skills, 2014). At the age of 14, da Vinci began apprenticing with the artist Verrocchio(Editors T. B., n.d.). By practicing drawing eggs over and over again, learning how to draw them properly, Leonardo da Vinci had improved his skills to draw in details. Then, he was able to bring out some well-known masterpieces like “The last supper” and “Mona Lisa”. Keeping in mind the ideas of creating a creative work but without the skills to do it, then the work will never be done. So, we should all agree that, as education improves our skills, it also help us grow our creativity.
To sum up, education helps creativity grow. Edward de Bono had said: “Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt.”(Marmol, 2015). So, education is the one that provides us knowledge, an active brain and skills to let us become critical thinkers. From now on, all of us, let spend more time for studying to become more creative and believe that learning is not a waste of time.
Tran Phuong Linh – 8A4
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