Anyone can tell you there is nothing worse than being crushed, creatively. Very few people have told me that it is okay to be creatively selfish. People of all ages, young or old, have felt shunned because people have told them that their creative interests don’t matter in our society. More importantly, that their loves don’t matter. Generally, if someone loves something in school, such as a subject or activity, then they are creative in that area. Yet it seems that our education system stifles that creativity.
Why is it that I deemed myself a more creative person outside of the education system? I’ve often thought about this and it brings up important questions, and they align directly with LaPlante’s TED Talk and Bud Hunt’s blog post. After I graduated from college I read books, pursued creative interests, met people, and asked life questions; all of these on a more frequent basis than at any level of education. It can be argued that outside of education I had more money and more time to do these things. I look at it a different way. I had the freedom of mind to do what I love, unrestrained. Bud Hunt might say that I was “playing.” I was working a full-time job but within that day-to-day scope I was still playing, and discovering what I wished I could’ve discovered in my formal education. Out of school I recognized the importance of the subjects that LaPlante expands on: nature, recreation, community, etc. I understand that an education system can never be as free as doing what you want without obligations; that would be chaotic. However, schools can make an effort to grasp what makes people bloom. So there aren’t students with no sense of life direction coming out of our schools.
Schools strive to teach the importance of the group; they expect students to understand that the world is an economic center that they will one day be involved in. And they do their best to try to equip students with the right tools to “make a living,” as LaPlante and many others put it. Educators in school districts and government curriculum create a system that tries to tackle this problem by going directly at it. The schools forget that the greater importance of society and “making a living” is lost on the students because it is not fun, it’s downright boring. To prepare students to make a living they have to recognize that students have to feel personally inspired to pursue what they love. They don’t have to convince students that they must know exactly what they want to do, but they need to have the ability to recognize what their students’ passions are. Once that is accomplished through expansion of subjects (some LaPlante talked about), community involvement, hands on learning, enthusiastic teaching, and genuine concern for the students, then the teachers can give students the tools they need to best utilize those passions. If the tools (language, math, science, etc.) are given before the teacher has any idea what the student loves, then the tools will be irrelevant.