Creativity in primary and secondary education is badly lacking. Reports have shown that current widespread standardized education models have been ineffective in instilling principles such as innovation across student bodies.
In fact, findings showed that ” the education system itself is a barrier to developing the creativity that drives innovation. Parents and educators agree that today’s education system places too much emphasis on testing and not enough investment in the training, tools and time needed to teach creativity”.
Given the growth of the creative economy, and the tendencies millennials have shown to direct their professional endeavors towards innovation-centered ventures, whether in business or the arts (with these two categories being less mutually exclusive than ever), there’s even more pressure on school systems to adapt.
Why The Problem Exists
Sir Ken Robinson produced what is likely one of the most central arguments as to the root cause of the stifling of creative thought by school systems around the world.
By contending that children are essentially “educated out” of their creative spirit, primarily due to the stigmatization of failure, Robinson argues that we need to once again embrace risk, and uniqueness of thought.
This tends to be the driving argument behind other thinkers espousing the same view. Students are scared out of taking chances that would mean actually harnessing their creative nature.
Turning The Tide
Entrepreneurship is the embodiment of that very nature. Whether in traditional business, or the rise of social entrepreneurs, self-started ventures allow their creators to put their ideas to work. As the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia noted in a recent article:
“We know that most entrepreneurs and innovators fail numerous times before they succeed, so why not teach our kids how to “fail fast, fail often” so that they learn not from what a teacher dictates, but rather from their own experimental failures and successes. Let’s encourage our children to be comfortable with their failed attempts, and the learning that is revealed in the process”.
Teaching entrepreneurship in school, including through controlled lab models, where the students themselves are tasked with running their own mock-startup would provide a real time, immediately applicable venue where pupils can effectively harness skills learned in other subjects, and merge them with their own developing ideas.
Such initiatives would also allow students to better understand their own personal interests, and gain an early insight into the career path they’d want to follow later in life. Standardized education models often wind up drowning out creative thought.
Making entrepreneurship a central aspect of any learning platform makes sense just based on the numbers. Youth today are more independent than ever, and the allure of entrepreneurship is spreading faster than at any time in recent history. Innovation, creativity, and workplace flexibility are all central demands of individuals breaking into the job market. For education systems to evolve as a result of this trend is for them to match reality.
For the wave of creative ventures to continue growing at the same pace, one can only hope that working to promote creativity in school will lack the political divisiveness of most other subjects related to education reform.