A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a great RSA Animated film about incentives and the surprising truth about what really motivates us. Today I saw an interview with Sir Ken Robinson where he talked about how the educational system is killing creativity and creating an “ADHD epidemic”. Turns out the people from RSA did another great animate featuring Ken Robinson that is also absolutely worth watching.
The current educational system was designed during the industrial revolution and is basically organized as a factory, where the students are treated like products. They are grouped in batches by age (manufacturing year) as if the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are. This factory setup might be a great way to accomplish uniformity, but is it the best way to nurture creativity and individual thinking?
Regarding ADHD. It seems almost every day you hear about celebrities or people around you that are diagnosed or suspected of having ADHD. It feels almost like an epidemic. We live in the most information and stimulus intense period in the history of the earth. At the same time, when kids are distracted by all these things and not being able to focus, we feel they need to be treated. The educational system is designed like a factory line and then penalising children for not being able to focus on things they are not actually interested in. Ken Robinson claims that instead of encouraging and fertilizing their individual talent, we conform them and kill their natural creativity. So perhaps ADHD is less of a discese and more a personal trait that is regarded as a discese because people are expected to behave in a certain way?
Of course, kids need to be taught the fundamentals or reading, writing, math etc. Education must also expose them to a wide range of fields that stimulate interest and curiosity, not only letting them do what they think is fun. But Ken Robinson has a very good point about changing the educational paradigm from a factory that tries to produce identical products with the lowest margin of “error” into something that better stimulates creativity, diversity and divergent thinking.
This is also true for employers by the way. The constant information and email overflow and the mandation of strong and strict corporate culture could probably have the same effect on creativity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.