Schools stifle creativity, education expert tells principals
WORLD / Brisbane, Australia – Internationally renowned scholar and education expert Dr Yong Zhao told principals at the Queensland Association of State School Principals Conference on Thursday many in the world are unemployed yet there still is global skill shortages in many industries.
Sausage-making school model
The Courier Mail reports Zhao stated there was a global mismatch between skill shortages and unemployment and schools need to shift from “a sausage-making model” – a conventional education model where students run through the same courses, sit for the same tests, get graded for the same knowledge test and end up with similar skills – to an enterprising curriculum that encourages creativity.
Dr. Yong Zhao is an internationally known scholar, author, and speaker. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has designed schools that cultivate global competence, developed computer games for language learning, and founded research and development institutions to explore innovative education models. He was the keynote speaker at this year’s conference.
Creativity means job security
“Creativity is job security,” he said of the modern economy in which technology has changed the employment landscape. “But our traditional model doesn’t like creative kids. “We want people to become homogeneous; we produce a lot of people with similar skills, with similar knowledge.
“Schools were designed to stifle creativity.”
Zhao has always been an advocate of a more flexible education system that assess students on their strengths instead of standardized examinations. At the ISTE 2012. he was applauded and well-received for his keynote speech. “We are all born with the capacity to create and to enterprise. I don’t think American schools have been able to teach creativity better than other schools. Creativity cannot be taught, but it can be killed. American schools don’t teach creativity but they kill it less successfully,” Zhao said.
Still a radical idea
One of his books, The World Class Learner, sums his stand succinctly. “In the new global economy, the jobs that exist now might not exist by the time today’s students enter the workplace. To succeed in this ever-changing world, students need to be able to think like entrepreneurs: resourceful, flexible, creative, and global.”
Strength-based education is still considered a radical idea for states to implement, as there is currently no proven structure or methodology for it to be implemented effectively utilizing the same resources. This is one of the main reasons why many education enrichment business are growing – more are realizing the importance of creativity and innovation in children, and sending them to after-school programmes they hope will play on their children’s strengths and develop them.
Watch Dr Yong Zhao’s video as he debates on education here: