Creativity is at the heart of the most watched TED talk of all time

If you haven’t yet viewed Sir Ken Robinson’s compelling TED talk on the importance of creativity, log on now, along with the other 13 million (and counting) who already have…

It was Pablo Picasso who said “All children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” Yet, now that the government’s policy to emphasise STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) at school is in full swing – with creative subjects such as the arts being given the chop – the problem remains greater than ever.

Sir Ken argues that children will naturally take a chance. They’re not frightened of being wrong. But by going through a rigid STEM system, where core subjects feature learning methods whose answers are only right and wrong, kids will soon become frightened of being mistaken. The result? A national education system where mistakes are the worst thing you can make.

Which goes back to what Picasso was saying. Creativity gets educated out of us, which is only going to get worse. Surely, rather than pushing schools towards narrowing curricula, ministers should be encouraging them to restore the arts to their proper place?

Still, whilst we can all agree on the importance of STEM, it’s not particularly cool that they are being promoted at the expense of a wider education. Not everything worthy of analysis can be confined to a laboratory or be reduced to set-in-stone answers. There is room to be right and wrong. Art creates self-confidence, it pushes new ways of thinking and boosts mental health. Therefore, the arts, sciences and humanities shouldn’t be boxed-in areas, but instead be working together to create a more fun and fertile ground for better, more conducive learning.

In other words, the arts need to put the ‘A’ into ‘STEAM.’ This last idea, incidentally, was thought up by Keith Budge, the headmaster of Bedales schools, who are renowned for offering an arts-rich curriculum and challenging the government’s obsession with STEM. It’s pretty neat, I think. So, let’s go with STEAM instead of STEM, and be responsible for getting our kid’s creating.

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