Gove levels – give me strength!

Spot on, Jenny! Children over here in North America (I live in Central Ontario, Canada) burden under the same wrong-headed political system).
Sadly, though happily for me, you can (and I do) “teach creativity” — not because it is something that you can nail to a wall — but because these methods have drummed it out of people from the time they entered those hallowed halls at age 4 (it’s called Junior Kindergarten). Ludicrous as this all sounds to those of us rebels and mavericks who have rode the waves and survived — only because of our grasp on the necessity of thinking, acting, being CREATIVE!
Here I am in my mid-sixties and I still work full time trying to fix what these waffling buffoons in our political system have done to public (free) schooling. I have 6 children and have seen so many experiments totted out and rammed down our throats as “the best way” to run schools and to teach our little darlings.
New math, open concept, whole reading and the list goes on as long as your arm (or rather a orangutan’s long arm).
I say stop using our children as guinea pigs Politicians and get out of the way of the people who love and know them, parents, teachers, educational assistants and social scientists.
Let’s truly consult and let’s allow these wee minds to grow as nature intended.
Let’s take them out to look at the night sky and see stars (which would allow “dark” bylaws so that the stars would actually be visible).
Let’s take them out in the summer to lay down in meadows, pick wildflowers and write poetry akin to that of Emily Dickinson.
Let’s listen as they tell their stories and let’s tell them ours.
Let’s let them record their stories, make little movies, enact little plays.
Let’s take away their TVs, computer games, iPads and iPhones (for a spell) and allow them to experience time in the quiet with nothing to do but pay attention; give them crayons, paint, brushes, and lots and lots of paper, old cardboard, small (sanded) slabs of wood and let them experiment with mixing colours and seeing what happens when you splatter, brush, scribble and doodle.
And while we’re at it let’s do it with them…and see what great ideas sprout as we connect with our minds high on art!

Jenny Alexander's blog: Writing in the House of Dreams

So here we are, facing yet another shake-up of the English education system, with the emphasis still on core academic subjects and rigorous testing. Ahem and excuse me, but what about that non-transferable and non-testable vital ingredient of a successful life – creativity?

When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing knowledge ~ Albert Einstein

Little children learn to be adults through imaginative role-play, pretending to be mummies and daddies, doctors, teachers, engine-drivers, soldiers, window-cleaners, cafe-owners…

Older children and adults make important decisions by imagining different outcomes – ‘If I did that course, I might become a chemist… then I’d work in a laboratory… or I might be a teacher… I could do that anywhere, in a city centre or a remote island… I could work overseas… or be an independent tutor…’

We make…

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4 thoughts on “Gove levels – give me strength!

  1. Yes! Parents and adults can do all these wonderful things to show their children how highly they value creativity. As children grow older, though, school exerts more influence, and that’s why I feel we need far greater recognition for the social and individual value of creative pursuits within the education system.

  2. I think there needs to be a balance, though, between creativity and (we’ll call it) logic. Too much logic leads to sterile hearts, whereas too much creativity leads to madness. Some people are definitely creative leaning, but I do feel that our society pushes that aside, so much more value is placed on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and less so on the creative fields. In our society it seems the ultimate measure of success is wealth, right? We are taught/shown that the easiest way to accrue wealth is through STEM (Engineering majors make more than English majors, generally, though I have no statistics to back that up). Some artists can make fantastic amounts of money, but rarely by being true to their art.

    I don’t really know where I’m going with this, it’s late. I like many of your points, but I am disheartened and discouraged by the daunting shadow of THE SYSTEM. I fear I grow tired of the fight, and maybe I’m just waiting for the day when man’s inhumanity grows to the breaking point, and all our structures bend and break and come toppling down. I feel that we are a train headed too fast towards the wall, and that our brakes are broken.

    • Definitely, Dan, there needs to be a balance.

      I don’t think though, that our society is any danger of overlooking STEM. You for instance don’t remember living in a home without a computer and are extremely comfortable using a cell phone (Android, likely) and much modern technology. However, I believe that your parents exposed you to nature and shared their love of the natural world with you. Your extended family probably encouraged your expressive / artistic tendencies. You were able to find a balance because you were able to test out each and see which was best suited for different times and situations.

      I’ll give a wild example. I broke both of my wrists once. When I arrived at the hospital, I didn’t want people to recite poetry to me, or ask me to draw with my toes…I wanted x-rays and medical professionals who knew their trade and the technologies it relies on.

      However, when people come to me, they aren’t expecting technology. They want an expressive arts therapist and a good listener. Those are my trade and the technologies I use are much more nebulous.

      Both approaches — or if you will — modalities work and they work well when used in the right circumstance by people who know their trade and have ethics and integrity.

      I am really glad that you brought this up. It is definitely an important part of the argument. We need to use both sides of our brain ALL the time. If we consider the brain a “muscle” it must be conditioned so that it can be called upon as needed. Well, that’s maybe not a great analogy, but I think you know where I’m going with this.

      The danger us old folks see is that young children are over-exposed to technology and under-exposed to creative pursuits, like gazing at clouds or getting messy in the kitchen, or listening to stories read or told, or having access to lots and lots of art materials (and parents who tolerate the ensuing clean-ups required). Because, you see, parents today are so busy providing the technologies (like TVs, computers, electronic games etc.) (which all cost infinitely more than paint, brushes, paper and books — there is always the public library) that they may not have the time to join their child in play. And there is the rub! Children need guidance to experience the wide variety of opportunities to look at the world in different ways — from the left brain AND the right brain.

      Schools should be encouraged to keep music, art, and literature within their programs as well as the STEM subjects. And parents need not only to provide the technological goodies, but the good old fashioned time playing.

      But I’m preaching to the choir here and I know it. Thanks for the opportunity to expand my arguments though. Please visit again; I enjoy your insights.

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