Throughout their educational journey, most students have at least been involved in one after school activity that they’re passionate about. Whether it be sports, clubs or the performing arts, students express themselves in different ways. Unfortunately, schools often place more emphasis on core classes, and getting the best grades. Although there is a good reason for this, being that education is important, the question of whether schools are obstructing students from participating in creative activities by overwhelming them with work remains.
School is a place for learning, but also a place for students to discover what they’re passionate about, and maybe what career they want to pursue in the future. When teachers put more emphasis on getting passing grades, and assign excessive amounts of homework, they are impeding students from having any time left to explore other interests. In fact, the New York Times put out a questionnaire in 2014 asking students 13 or older to comment about the amount of homework they received. The majority of those students said that teachers do not take into consideration how much homework other teachers give as well, and thus they are stuck spending hours doing homework. If there was more communication between teachers, the amount of homework given could be reduced to a manageable size for students to have time for both education and leisure.
Moreover, schools are not just obstructing creativity through homework, it seems that they are cutting it out of the curriculum entirely. According to a TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson titled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”, he states that students are growing out of creativity as their school years continue. According to Robinson, “During this process, students are taught that making a mistake is a sin. We have planted in our students’ minds a picture of a perfectly, carefully drawn life”. Apparently, this perfectly drawn out life has no room for creativity, as it is burdened with preparation for standardized tests, and other benchmark assessments that are not always accurate at determining a student’s true capabilities. Instead of focusing so much time on teaching students to be perfect and creating a rigid system with little to no room for variation, there should be more leeway for students to have time to discover what subject they love, and what they want to do in their lives.
However, the cutting of creativity cannot solely be blamed on teachers, they are simply following orders of the school board and of the governments, with all the ridiculous budget cuts and rules they have to follow. According to the Huffington Post, 81% of teachers say their school has been affected by budget cuts, and 35% say that the curriculum changes are a concern. School boards have placed intense pressure on teachers to meet unrealistic academic goals. These changes also affect students, since they are assigned more work, thus leaving them with little to no time to explore any extra-curricular options.
One way that this issue of schools preventing students from following their passions or being creative can be solved, is starting with implementing some creativity in the classroom. According to InformED, assigning students open ended projects, meaning that they can do the project on whatever subject interested them, was a great way to introduce creativity into the classroom. This suggestion is a compromise between teachers and students, since the teachers are meeting the requirements of the school board by having students complete projects about certain topics, and the students can research what they are passionate about, allowing them to pursue their passion, and learn at the same time.
Overall, students are still walking the journey of life and are still deciding how they can express themselves creatively, and what their true passions are. If schools have the chance to aid them in their journey towards this self-actualization, then they should take it. Instead of drowning students in work preparing for standardized tests, schools should create an intellectually stimulating environment that can benefit both students and teachers alike.