Monday, March 19, 2012

Another reason to homeschool - Because teachers don't like creative students

Creativity: Asset or Burden in the Classrom? reports:

One of the most consistent findings in educational studies of creativity has been that teachers dislike personality traits associated with creativity. Research has indicated that teachers prefer traits that seem to run counter to creativity, such as conformity and unquestioning acceptance of authority (e.g., Bachtold, 1974; Cropley, 1992; Dettmer, 1981; Getzels & Jackson, 1962; Torrance, 1963). The reason for teachers’ preferences is quite clear creative people tend to have traits that some have referred to as obnoxious (Torrance, 1963). Torrance (1963) described creative people as not having the time to be courteous, as refusing to take no for an answer, and as being negativistic and critical of others. Other characteristics, although not deserving the label obnoxious, nonetheless may not be those most highly valued in the classroom.

You might find the full report worth reading.

In many ways the conclusions are not surprising.  Most teachers see their classes as a job.  They are trying to make something of a difference with dozens of students in a fixed amount of time.  A child who questions authority or wants to understand a topic in greater detail is disrupting the flow.  The teacher doesn't have a lot of options.  They can make the class wait while they address the one student or they can move the class along to the next point to be taught leaving the creative student frustrated.  I'm sure that many students who are ignored and told to just conform will become more frustrated each time their unusual questions are ignored.

Homeschooling allows creative students to flower and grow.  They can chase their dreams and dive into problems they want to learn more about. 

I do want my children to be polite, but there are times when refusing to take no for an answer is the right response.
In comments on Marginal Revolution someone pointed out that this is exactly the message Sir Ken Robinson gave in his TED Talk "Do schools kill creativity?"

If you haven't seen the video before it is worth watching.


Dual Role Grandma said...

YES!!!! I have found over the past 32 years of bringing children to adulthood that when in school, creativity is not usually appreciated. Some teachers will tolerate some, but really creative gets squashed, and gets squashed early. They certainly wouldn't have liked our research papers we did this year, on any topic in the 1960s or 1970s. One kid did a paper on the effect of Saturday Night Fever around the world, and the other did a paper on Ron Popeil's empire.

Jenny said...

Not all "creativity" is productive though. Some students might go off on tangents, using class time as their opportunity to preach their views on a subject to a captivated audience. And even though many students' discussion show a deeper interest in the subject, there are plenty that never study and grasp the basics knowledge or skills that the class they're taking is supposed to instill in them. I.e., only about 1 out of 4 talkers in class is an A student!

Henry Cate said...

Jenny you make a good point. In the context of this discussion I think there are those who are truly creative and can think outside the box and then there are those who are merely disruptive.

Barbara Frank said...

Creativity is one of the primary skills our kids will need in the economy of the 21st century. Schools are NOT the place where students can develop their creativity. Viva homeschooling!

Roma said...

Most of the curriculum mandated that teachers use is designed for one personality type. So it reaches about 45% of the children, and fails to meet the needs of the rest.

Teachers are now the biggest influx into the home school venue, because they don't like it either.
Videos: Understanding The Different Learning Styles

My Smart Child Failing?

Henry Cate said...

Barbara - you are right. Now more than ever creativity is an important skill to have.

Roma - good point. This is one of the reasons government schools fail so many students, because of the factory approach to teaching children.