Does our education system kill creativity?


I wanted to share with you all a Ted talk I stumbled on while browsing Netflix.

(^ follow the link)


It’s by a guy named Ken Robinson, and he makes some pretty interesting points about the flaws in our education system, arguing that it kills creativity, only valuing one type of intelligence.

A quote that stuck with me was ‘all children are born artists’, and that it is our education system that eliminates it, by not allowing for mistakes, making mistakes an invaluable part of the creative process.


Subjects are valued in accordance to how useful they’ll be in terms of getting a job, leaving subjects such as music and art at the bottom of the pile. But should education purely be about preparing a child to fit in neatly to the job market?

I know my from my experience of school that I hated the way I was taught in lessons. I hated the way we would only learn things we needed to know for an exam or because it was on the curriculum. I’d sit there in science lessons and ask, ‘So how come some people have green eyes?’ or ‘What makes a yo-yo work?’ and be constantly told I didn’t need to know that, it wasn’t going to help me in my exam. But why should education be about what we ‘need’ to know? (although I’m still convinced I didn’t need to know about algebra) Why can’t education be more like a QI episode?


I have a friend who is one of the most astoundingly talented artists I have ever met, yet wants to be an accountant, because apparently you don’t make money as an artist; it’s not a serious profession. Personally I’d rather live in a shoe, but surrounded by paint and blank canvas, than live in a mansion and have to look at a spreadsheet everyday.


When I took my subjects for A level I didn’t even know if I was going to pass them, let alone care what looks good for university. I took them because I was interested in them, I wanted to learn about them for their own sake, I wasn’t so bothered about where they’d take me.

But hey, maybe that’s foolish…still I thought I’d leave you with a quote from Banksy

‘ You  don’t eat a hamburger to take a shit’


(The hamburger is a metaphor)


5 thoughts on “Does our education system kill creativity?

  1. I completely agree. It seems many people go university to get a job when, really, you go university to learn/master a topic. Also, if you don’t have a degree you’re made to feel inferior or “dumb”, even though, a lot of people have been successful without!

    I’m going to uni with the intention of learning how to code and make programs.

  2. It’s the nature of free market education, and of the league table philosophy so many institutions devote themselves too. It’s a poisonous system that is going to have long term implications in society, including a decrease in social mobility. Some believe that it’s already had that effect :

  3. I’ve spent many years arguing for a different approach to education – one that allows for individuality, different ways of learning and creativity at the heart of everything but feel like I’ve been fighting a loosing battle and no longer work in schools. Ken Robinson has a lot of insightful things to say about the education system and creativity and is a TED veteran. Worth checking out his other talks delivered over the years.

  4. I remember a talk I was given in the last few years of secondary school by my head teacher. It went along the lines of; ‘the harder you work the better job you’ll get, the more money you’ll earn and the happier you’ll be’ and he later went on to say ‘ Some people don’t need gcses, such as David Beckham, but David Beckham has a unique talent and none of you here have a unique talent’.

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