Sunday, January 15, 2012

Schools Kill Creativity

I watched this video a few years ago, but I forgot just how good it is:

Two points stick with me. First, our entire school system is trying to teach people it is not alright to make mistakes. This is a huge mistake. Acquiring any skill requires mistake after mistake. Sure you need to fix them, but I really have seen a lot of people petrified by the thought of taking on a difficult task for the fear of mistakes.

The second is that we really know nothing at all about what kids will need to know. My daughter will retire in about 2069. What skills will she need during those years? It just might be that I should focus on teaching her to shoot, forage for wild plants, and garden. Or perhaps the skills she learns playing video games will be the most important. Maybe computers will do all real work and all that matters will be basic social skills. Maybe a fascist state will arise and the most important skill she could have is keeping her mouth shut.

Much of what is taught is almost certainly useless. Math? probably meaningless except for standardized tests. Computers that can do math are just too common and their language skills are improving fast enough that soon we are likely to be able to ask them any word problems we face. The other day she was learning to read an analog clock. I can't imagine she will see many of those. Still, ruling out the useless is a whole lot easier than guessing what will be important.

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