• profile Priya Belliappa,
  • March 26, 2018 | 3:30 pm

Growing to be a wildflower and not a perfectly grafted hybrid

Drawing of face by 2 year old child, a blog about how education kills creativity

At the certainty of messing up all the walls of our house, I have given my 2-year-old paints, markers, crayons, sidewalk chalk and other mess making tools. My tolerance levels have dipped with the idea that she will be learning while messing up. Learning how different pens, paints etc react differently on different surfaces and learning by feeling, drawing, cleaning. It is way of letting her develop both sides of her brain through sensory learning.

This whole messy business has been a huge learning process for me. It is amazing to see how freely her hand moves and how effortlessly she draws. The forms essentially are not correct but they do have a shape and are recognizable in their own way. Her imagination is way better than mine ever was. She has many ways of drawing the same thing, the above drawing is her version of a fish on two different occasions. It’s fascinating that she can see the fish is multiple ways and draw it differently with conviction. She was around 18 months when she did this.A-blog-discussing-education-creativity-and-children-reiterationg-what-nasa-scientists-about-We-Are-Born-Creative-Geniuses-And-The-Education-System-Dumbs-Us-DownWatching her scribble I realise how much of ourselves we put into little cracks and seal for life. We are trained and taught never to make mistakes and in that training, we also let go of what might have come to us naturally. We are scared to draw a line that is not straight, we are nervous to draw a circle because it may not be perfectly round – we refuse to do anything we are unsure of. It strikes me that maybe all of us have a lot of creative abilities as human beings – but we narrow down our abilities to conform to the standard money-making abilities.

A couple of weeks ago, the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak visited India. In an interview with the Times of India Wozniak stated “Indians study, work hard, get an MBA, and will have a Mercedes but where is the creativity?” There was an uproar and India was offended. But, being an Indian I totally and completely agree with this statement. The Indian education system is steeped in archaic thinking, and it is imparted in an atmosphere of fear. We are not encouraged to understand a concept and apply the understanding. What matters is the grades and not the growth of an individual. Imagination is snuffed out. Creativity is not nurtured.

We are all groomed and sculpted into a very limited version of ourselves. Our grey matter is all the same shade. All of us have sharp corners and flat surfaces. We are all just another brick in the wall.

Many years ago Nasa did a test, rooted in the process of divergent thinking. This test was devised by Dr. George Land and Beth Jarman to effectively measure creative potential. Dr. Land then applied this test to a bunch 4-5 year old children, who were then subsequently tested 10 and 15 years of age. Other than the kids a lot of adults were also tested – here are the results! 

We Are Born Creative Geniuses And The Education System Dumbs Us Down, According To NASA ScientistsOne almost cannot believe how much is lost because of education.

Sir Ken Robinson in a talk says something poignant – “all kids have tremendous talents and we squander them ruthlessly!” And, amongst the many important and wonderful ideas he shares, he says that “creativity is as important in education as literacy”. How I wish that our these ideas and thoughts could be incorporated into our education system.

In India pre-school is almost mandatory to get into school at 6 years. My daughter is now 2 and a half and I am at crossroads. I have not many options and definitely no choices. I don’t have the ability to homeschool and I have to find an environment that is not based on the education system devised for the industrial revolution.

I want a school that will nurture her creativity and thought and let her blossom into a wildflower and not mould her into a perfectly grafted hybrid.

P.S: if anybody knows of any school in Bangalore that goes beyond the standard definition of education please do let me know  –  🙂 thank you!

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