By Reem Abdalla (@Reem096)
For those of us fortunate enough to go to school, we were taught since pre-school how to do things in a certain way as part of our education and we were reprimanded if we steered off course. We were taught discipline, to think in a certain way, and follow the curriculum that was designed for us by the government.
What is Education? According to “Dictionary.com”, education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
What schools lack in teaching us are social skills, teamwork, leadership, political and interpersonal dynamics. Most of us do not know how to be part of a team or how to lead. We are frightened of being wrong and making a mistake. Our current educational system does not allow for mistakes. We have to follow the book when answering questions in an exam. If we do not and instead created our own answer, this is considered as a mistake and we may fail the class.
Being afraid of making mistakes became part of our livelihood; we grew afraid of making mistakes and failing in our own life. During our childhood, our imagination was placed in a box and we forgot to think out of it. After a while, we grew out of creativity and started to conform to our surroundings.
Conformity is one of the issues in the educational system. As Sir Ken Robinson said in his TED Talk (2010), “We have conformity. We have built our education systems on the model of fast food… One is fast food where everything is standardized”. Looking at the public education system worldwide everything is standardized in terms of academic subjects, topics taught and ways of how they are being taught.
We were taught at a young age not to do subjects we like because we will not find jobs in this field. Do not do music, dance or art. What will you be? A musician, a dancer or an artist; what future would you have in any of them? Parents tend to push their children to be engineers, doctors or into business/ finance fields since they will have a better career path in those fields; because in their beliefs, these fields are considered more respectable and will bring them more money.
Most of the Arab or Asian communities push their children in academic fields instead of the arts. As being a chef, hairdresser, or a musician is not very appealing to them. Therefore, many of these children are forced to enter university programs that they are unhappy with and end up leading unsatisfied lives. They enter these fields because their parents/society imposed it onto them.
For example, a friend of mine has studied journalism for four years in a reputable university and then worked for a newspaper for two years. After these two years, she found herself miserable in her career choice so she decided to quit and pursue her dream as a pastry chef. After months of studying at Le Cordon Bleu, she now owns her bakery. She broke away from all the norms and her family supported her decision fully.
Creativity is as important as literacy. The brain works in a dynamic way, creativity is required as part of intelligence. Creativity is interactive, dynamic and not structured while our current education system is structured. Every educational system around the world has the same hierarchy of subjects where academic subjects such as Math, Sciences, Languages, History, and Geography tops the list where Arts come at the bottom of that list. Looking at any kid’s schedule in school, the academic subjects have more hours allocated to them than any of the arts subject such as “Physical Education, Art, Music, etc.”
Nowadays, we have academic inflation where people get degrees and are not able to find jobs that support them. Educated people are unemployed and those who are employed are unhappy with what they do. So we should at least major in something we would love to do. It all revolves around passion and what we love. We have to find out what the kid love to do and nurture it in them rather than forcing them to do things they do not want to do. Our current education system might not be suppressing creativity but it sure fails in actively encouraging it. Kids should not be afraid of majoring in the Arts, as it is as important as any other academic field; and parents should not be afraid to support them in this journey.
Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start – Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur – Just Another Undergrad – Society of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words – To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings
Reem aims through her quarterly column to explore issues in society and discuss emerging new trends. Listen to other people’s thought and view their perspectives about the subject. Then raise questions and form unbiased conclusions about it.