A 12th grade student I have written papers for quite a few years now. Mostly uninteresting, dull pieces of white paper with words scribbled inside those tiny lines. I think I have a creative mind, my brain is always reeling with new things, new ideas, creations, etc. However, how the school system of America actually hopes to expand student’s creativity, or at the very least keep it intact, is beyond me. It makes my brain cramp up into tiny coils trying to think about it.
Most, not all, but most of the papers I have written have been nothing but rehashed garbage that is based on other popular novels, books, articles, what have you. I don’t want to write about these things, but I’m forced to. For, example: I recently was given a project to do that involved MaCbeth. The project was to find pictures off the internet and attach Macbeth quotes to them, detailing their facial expression. Some may say, “Cool!” an easy project. Indeed, but creative? No. Not in the slightest. Say I find a Macbeth quote that deals with surprise. Oh, gee, I go onto the internet, browse pictures with a mouth hung open and eyes bulging, click copy, paste it to MS word, print – viola. That took some serious creative muscle right there.
Reading a two page paragraph in science class, and being told to recite the words I just read, only this time I have to tell them following horrible, fifth grade-like questions. Not creative.
Giving a student step by step directions on how to build something, that is not creative. That’s simply giving them the easy way out, saying, “Here, build this. I’ll even give you an eleven step checklist with it.”
If schools really wanted to test our creativity – they’d tell us to build something that went hand in hand with what we were learning, to write about something we were learning, to think about why things were happening, not telling us why, not telling us how to do something all of the time. Yes, telling is great, that’s how we learn, but not allowing us to think beyond the scope of the work provided is not.
Knowledge? Yes, schools give that. Creativity? Students have to work hard to sustain it, even harder to broaden it.