Are Schools Killing Creativity?


Sir Ken Robinson during his TED Talk about How Schools Are Killing Creativity

By Emily Polanowski, Co-Editor-in-Chief

You are walking down the hallway to get to class. You are feeling amazing about today because you are wearing your favorite t-shirt. As you walk, you  hear comments about the shirt, “why are they wearing that?” and “that shirt is so dumb” etc. By the end of the day, you have heard countless comments about your shirt and decide to never wear it again. It’s still your favorite shirt, but because everyone else didn’t like it, you will never wear it again in public.

2018 could be considered a year of self-expression and creativity, but it seems many students in our schools have found  they can’t truly be free to express their true selves whether through art, writing, music or even something as simple as a t-shirt.

In his TED talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” Sir Ken Robinson hinted that school experiences may be to blame.

“I believe this passionately,” said Robinson. “That we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it, or rather we get educated out of it.”

He goes on speaking about how it stems from schools, lightly hinting to their students  how failure isn’t an option and that is the beginning of the destruction of creativity for children and teenagers.

Thankfully for us, on our first day assembly, Dr. Molin had encouraged our student body to not fear failure, but encouraged it and to see it as a time to learn.

Robinson’s point may relate to Susky more so in relation to dress code issues and creativity concerns.

In Melissa Willet’s article, “New High School Dress Code Emphasizes Self-Expression Over Silly Violations,”  the issue was addressed in a new light.

It’s about time we focused on learning over skirt length,” wrote Willets in relation to students feeling clothing restrictions are more controversial. 

She discusses a new policy that a school had made in order to make students feel more free to express themselves.

“The new policy states that it will not “reinforce stereotypes” or “increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size,” said Willet.

This policy included many inclusive rules. Here are some below:

  • Students should be able to manage their own distractions while still being able to express themselves with how they dress.
  • All students should be able to dress comfortably without fear of being disciplined or body-shamed.
  • Students are encouraged to wear clothes that align with their self-identified gender.

After asking 40 students around the cafeteria during 8 lunch how they feel about their self expression in our school,  75% of students claimed they did not feel comfortable or able to express their own individuality in our school.

Within this same group of people- when asked if they felt that everyone altogether were free to show their personal creativity- fifty percent said they think everyone has their own ability to express themselves, while the other 50 percent disagreed.

Our students recommended ideas such as  gathering a few people from each class to sit down and speak with Dr. Molin and Mrs. Bell to discuss a new dress code, so  our student body can feel more comfortable with themselves and their creativity.

The administration altogether seems flexible and willing to work with the student body. Susquehannock is at an advantage regarding increasing student creativity in any realm.

To Find Out More:  

Ken Robinson’s TED Talk

New High School Dress Code

How Schools Are Killing Creativity