The dark art of creativity

funny-creativity-comics

I was recently reminded of the ‘schools are killing creativity’ trope that was so prevalent a few years ago. Tempting as it may be to nod along with Ken Robinson and his cronies, it’s worth contemplating the creative power of constraints. Without clear knowledge of forms and ‘rules’, creativity is inevitably stifled. Ideas become a kitchen-sink soup with everything chucked into the pot with little regard for structure or purpose.

Children’s imaginations are already pretty vast and the younger the child, the greater the depth of their imagination. We don’t need to teach this, it just is. Sir Ken claims that children arrive at school with genius levels of divergent thinking; by the time they’ve got to 13 they appear to have had most of this surgically removed. But education is by its nature convergent:  we teach people that no, a 13 foot paperclip is just silly. Ken defines creativity as “the process of developing ideas that are original and of value”. This process is distinct from imagination. We can imagine loads of stuff without actually creating anything worthwhile. It’s not creative to come up with ridiculous, impractical nonsense; it’s creative to work within boundaries.

Read more on The Learning Spy

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