1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Have we destroyed creativity in our schools?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    One headteacher laments the loss of teachers’ autonomy and the erosion of trust in the profession, so much so that he believes it is having a detrimental effect on fostering an environment for individuality and creativity to flourish:

    ‘When are we going to realise that teachers do not improve by having targets imposed on them? Teachers need freedom and time to both develop their skills and support their pupils' needs, and yet this is denied them.

    In better education systems, it is the job of a head to create an "ethos" in which this is allowed to happen. But sadly heads are battered from so many directions that this is a rarity in the UK. Inevitably, this leads to the stifling of creativity as each school becomes a "clone school" creating similar children up and down the country. Exam robots, often.

    Aged 4 and 5, children still arrive at schools buzzing with excitement: they have so many ideas. But quickly, oh so quickly, our education system starts to drive out pupils' creativity and individuality. And our children quickly stop demonstrating their individuality for fear of rejection or humiliation – even, dare we say it, bullying – because they are different.’

    Colin Harris has led a school in a deprived area of Portsmouth for more than two decades. His last two Ofsted reports were "outstanding" across all categories.

    What are your views on this issue? Has the ever-growing need for accountability crushed the creative potential of children in our schools? Have you worked overseas? What do you think we could learn from education systems abroad that encourage and celebrate individuality and creativity? Should we scrap all forms of accountability in the education system?

  2. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    Yes, we have destroyed creativity.

    Get rid of OFSTED, league tables and all forms of predicted grades.
  3. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Perhaps if Ofsted were to include the creativity of pupils in their assessments then we might start to see it in schools. While everything is results and league table driven, creativity doesn't have a chance.
  4. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    It's what happens when you teach nothing but 'core academic subjects', and have high stakes testing so that teachers just teach to the test from the moment the kids walk through the school door.
    BetterNow likes this.
  5. Jamvic

    Jamvic Senior commenter

    Yes. Utterly. The creativity and individuality of both teachers and their pupils.

    But everything in education is cyclical. It will all come back in vogue again eventually.

    The early shoots of the backlash against excessive consistency, accountability, rigid curriculum, data, targets and the stifling of creativity are just peeping through now. That’s why this question is being asked. In another 5-10 years there will be a full swing in the other direction, probably too far as that’s the usual pattern.

    Some future minister will feel the need to change all the systems, then in place, to make his or her short term mark on education.

    Future advisors, consultants and education experts will need to sell books with ‘new’ teaching & learning theories and methods to peddle.

    And so, the merry-go-round will grind to a halt and start up again in reverse.

    What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun
  6. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    To my mind, Sir Ken Robinson said it all. Over 15 Million views for this video says something.

    His talk on paradigm shift is also worth a look.

    What the OP describes is why I left my job earlier than planned. The DfE issued folders finally caught up with me after years of ducking and weaving in peripheral subjects, and that was it - game over.
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I am never quite sure what people mean when they talk about the absence of 'creativity' in schools. Not enough glitter & glue, perhaps.
    border_walker likes this.
  8. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    By the absence of creativity, I take it to mean very little time spent on teaching things that can't be measured. As a music teacher, I have had difficulty explaining to SLT that it is not always possible to know what the students are learning from a particular creative activity - probably different things for different students - and I won't necessarily be able to 'know what they've learned' after a single lesson. It's not like teaching the 7x table where you would expect them to learn the 7x table and afterwards you can find out what they learned by testing them on the 7x table....
    chelsea2 and hammie like this.
  9. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    too much "coaching" forcing teachers to instruct in the prescribed manner. Too many workplaces forcing the myth that there is only one correct method.
    and it has removed creativity by making risk taking a bad thing.
    I can't believe how far teaching has been de-professionalized in the time I have been in the "job"
    its now become a tick box job in far too many schools.

    If all forms of photocopying and electronic device was removed for a term, perhaps teachers would actually be allowed to go back to teaching.
  10. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    spot on, and don't assume that the teaching of such as Maths should always tick a "new skill" box every lesson.
    BetterNow likes this.
  11. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Even in English (a core academic subject) creativity has been stifled in primary - hence the 'teaching by numbers' approach to writing:
    - use adjectives in groups of 3;
    - make sure you begin 2 sentences with fronted adverbials;
    - use at least 1 adverb in every sentence;
    - include at least 3 sentences with subordinate clauses.

    That kind of thing!
    You can get marks for ticking all these technical bits, even if what you write is pants.
  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I would be interested in learning how a person is supposed to be creative if they do not understand how to apply the elements of their medium.
    JosieWhitehead and border_walker like this.
  13. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    With creative arts like music / literature etc you need both technical understanding (punctuation, spelling, grammar; music theory etc) - and also the creative freedom to be expressive. The problems arise in an education system which puts too much emphasis on one aspect without the other.

    As Jamvic explains above, what inevitably happens in the British education system is that we veer towards one extreme - then an education secretary comes along who tries to solve the problem by lurching in the opposite direction. It would be interesting to work out the typical length of these cycles (between 10 and 20 years I would guess) and how it affects the children going through the system at different points.

    It makes a very good case for removing education policy from the direct control (whims) of an MP with no teaching background....
    chelsea2 likes this.
  14. RuthTom

    RuthTom Occasional commenter

    There may not be much creativity in schools at the moment, but there is plenty of creativity in children. Creativity can’t be completely stamped out by a rigid regime. It can flourish as a reaction.
    JosieWhitehead and CheeseMongler like this.
  15. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    That's the point - in writing, children too often don't understand how - or, perhaps more appropriately when - to apply the technical knowledge they have been taught in order to create a good piece of writing. And writing mark schemes specifically reward the use of technical aspects, too often at the expense of the creativity.

    I have posted before of a y6 child who did a piece of writing where every sentence began with a 'connective' (as they were then called): however; subsequently; therefore; on the other hand; as a result....... They weren't necessarily used appropriately, but even if they had been, the resulting writing clearly was not well written. Yet she knew that if she used lots of 'connectives' she would get extra marks. So she did.

    Children can be taught the elements which make up writing, but using those elements does not necessarily make a creative piece of writing. But it's easier to quantify - and therefore measure - if children have used the technical aspects expected; it's much less easy to measure the creativity.

    It's not a case of either / or; both are needed.
  16. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    It's not just what we teach though, it's how we're expected to teach it.
    LOs on the board. Starter main and plenary. Group/pair work regardless of whether it's suitable or not. And not even teaching to the test - we'reteaching and assessing purely to generate data. There may be a better way to teach this topic, but SMT need to see my evidence and data so I'll have to do it their way.
    MarieAnn18, JL48 and BetterNow like this.
  17. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Senior commenter

    Is it also a factor that children express their creativity differently now. Whether it's through Minecraft and other games, social media etc., children are still creative. We just don't see this creativeness because it's not in a medium we value.
  18. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    How do you grade creativity?
  19. RuthTom

    RuthTom Occasional commenter

    Youtube can be a fantastic source of creativity. So many young people creating music, sewing, comedy, art, recipes to share and inspire. Very underrated by more mature adults.
    MarieAnn18 and CheeseMongler like this.
  20. install

    install Star commenter

    Some headteachers and some Ceos have allowed this to happen. If only they had got together and argued effectively against it in the first place?

Share This Page