Does Education Kill Creativity?

Structured, organized education or homeschooled, creative learning? It’s a question that has plagued society since society itself became structured. While students in Asia and the surrounding countries have a very rigid education system and are commonly thought to be ahead of their American and European counterparts, new research has surfaced that suggests children who participate in unstructured activities tend to fare better in the classroom.

Is the current assessment-test-based education system simply pumping out cogs for the workforce assembly machine? As I work in advertising, I am constantly surrounded by out-of-the-box thinkers, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But why must that only apply to the creative fields? After just three and a half years in the “real world,” I have come to realize that creativity serves you well no matter the industry. And creativity is not taught. It’s practiced.

No matter how many grammar tests I took or how many late-night study sessions I blew through during journalism school, my breadth of knowledge would not have been complete without writing freelance articles for the local paper in my college town or attending student-run yoga classes (however unsuccessful they might have been…). This is not to say that I do not believe in structured education. In some ways, it proves immensely useful, especially with the outstanding teachers I was lucky enough to study under.

Perhaps, there is no answer. Or perhaps, it’s an intricate balance. Instead of coming home with hours upon hours of homework after already spending all day in the classroom, maybe kids should be instructed to start a neighborhood soccer game, take a risk, conquer a fear, or find a passion.

Whatever the solution, it can’t be found in a textbook, that’s for sure.

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso 

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” – Albert Einstein