Thursday, October 9th, 2008...11:36 am

Where Does Creativity Go?

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Dave Boliek
CEO, The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning

Several years ago at the National School Boards Association’s Technology and Learning conference in Denver, I heard a talk by Sir Ken Robinson, a British ex-patriot now living in California.  Sir Ken’s philosophy is that creativity should be as important a priority in schools as literacy.

One of the most powerful bits of information he shared is that essentially children lose their creativity when they “become educated.”  He cites a study in divergent thinking… which is an element of creativity - the ability to find different answers to questions, to adapt, to be flexible, to come up with new ideas.  When 1,600 youngsters age 3-5 are tested, 98% achieve a score that makes them a genius in divergent thinking.  Five years later, same kids, same test, 32% achieve a score that is considered genius level in divergent thinking.  Give exactly the same test to the same kids another 5 years later, when they are 13-15 and the number drops to 10%.  The control group is 200,000 adults… age 25 or older… where the “genius” level is found in only 2%.

Where has all the capacity of young people gone?  Sir Ken suggests it’s the education system that teaches “right answers” and not taking risks.  Here’s the speech.

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