Sir Ken Robinson is right. And Brynne Currie has the evidence to prove it. Schools are killing creativity. Brynne’s grade 7 project Change Won’t Wait: Will Students Have the Creativity to Keep Up? won first place prize in her school’s science fair. Brynne is a 12 year old student at Mountainview Elementary in Collingwood, Ontario. She was inspired by Sir Ken’s TED talk on how schools kill creativity. She decided to find out if this was true.
Brynne’s resulting research and experiment on creativity revealed two things. First, according to a new Forum report The Future of Jobs, creativity is now rated the # 3 most valued skill for future success. Second, that creativity is the least preferred type of thinking for most students.
So, how did she come to that conclusion?
Brynne researched the thinking style preferences from 38 of her fellow students and gathered student data from 7 other Canadian schools and colleges, using our OneSmartWorld 4D-i database.
The 4D-i maps out people’s preferences for 21 different thinking strategies – 6 strategies in creativity (green), 6 strategies in analytical thinking and compassion (yellow), 6 strategies in decision making – 4 strategies in how to do critical thinking and 2 in emotion based decision-making (red) and 3 in building personal spirit/grit (white). Using creativity was consistently the lowest preferred set of strategies in all schools.
I asked Brynne about what her project really means. She said ”Schools are teaching the right information but not in the right form. When teachers try to teach creativity, they aren’t really being creative in how they do it.” She went on to say,
“Kids need to know these skills. I found out that creativity is the lowest used skill. So, it’s all about how we can change our brains by using some creativity skill builders.”
She loves Sir Ken Robinson’s video on YouTube because “…he talks about serious stuff in funny ways with lots of stories.” Brynne said she wants to teach these skills to other students. Her big creative idea was to do a TED talk with Brynne, Sir Ken and me.
Sir Ken and Brynne are both right. Choosing to do creative thinking is a low preference for most students, likely because it’s not taught properly, rewarded or measured effectively. Teachers know how to teach subjects. They need help learning how to teach higher order skills like creativity.
But change won’t wait. Do you think students will have the creativity to keep up? What can teachers do to help? Let Brynne and me know and we will share your ideas.