SIR KEN ROBINSON, AND THE ROLE OF CREATIVITY IN SOCIETY

I am so inspired by this TED clip. Robinson’s idea is that education and the arts in society perform a vital function in facilitating creativity, and that we should use divergent thinking to restructure education, so that people have better tools to reconstruct their world as it changes ever faster.

It has always made sense to me that that creativity and the arts are key to a healthy society. So often, my current work is about enabling others, currently gay men, singers and their audiences, to grow into themselves, to be more alive, present and creative, through music. They connect with others, they grow into greater self-expression, they become more productive and passionate about what they do and they change the world in the process.

As a jazz educator in the UK for 15 years, I worked with piano teachers and classical pianists, helping them to unpick their linear habits, encouraging them to become aware of their own musical choices and of the process of choosing.

I find in both areas the same deep need in people to find new paths, to be more creative, to find fresh solutions to living life that make them more passionate about what they do because they own it more. That need is not being met by the formal education systems in the UK or the US.

In a world that is changing so fast, only a full transformation of the education system focused on creativity, personalised learning, lifelong learning and collaboration will serve our current crop of ‘students’, from 8 to 80.

So few of the ways I was taught to learn in school and at university are still of use now. Likewise, I use so little of the knowledge I gained. And the values that I inherited around class, around sexuality, around the arts, around education, no linger seem relevant now. However valid they were at the time, they are now too much about linearity, too ‘industrial’ in their approach, and too much around standardisation, tribalism and conformity to be useful in a world that is changing so fast. As Robinson says, we actively discourage creative thinking in education.

By contrast, the methodologies that I learnt as a jazz musician - to improvise, to collaborate, to think afresh around given frameworks in the moment, to come up with new solutions, to take risks, to be wrong sometimes, to learn when I am ready, to become super-aware of my own learning processes - all of these methodologies are the means by which all of us will remake the world.

Charles BealeComment