The Sunday papers are great for lighting the fire. There’s plenty of it, although the magazines aren’t that flammable with their shiny perspectives and shiny paper; they’re better for lining the dustbins.
It’s rare we buy them as I generally don’t read them; far too much ego stroking claptrap to make the good bits worthwhile. But The Sunday Times found its way into the house this last weekend and I had a flick through it.
I stopped at the Editor’s letter in one of the shiny bits, not sure why. It must have been the word ‘creative’ on the first line. Her piece was a good little take on being creative which, as anyone who visits here regularly knows, is one of my mini obsessions in education: that it is not education without it!
Tiffanie asks what we do to be creative?
And there’s a lovely bit where she even describes shopping as creative; it’s a ‘way of curating your life’ she says. Fabulous phrase – I’m sure my eldest will be glad to read that!
But she also goes on to quote Richard Wurman of TED fame who says that most of us don’t know how to question and that the foundation of the word question is quest and so few have a quest in life. He says that creativity comes from a quest.
I would add that creativity also comes from questioning. And that questioning is not only the foundation of creativity, it is the foundation of scientific progress and discovery and the foundation of education.
Education is surely a creative and scientific quest to fulfil our innate curiosity and thirst to know about life and create the best lives we can.
I also believe that school is increasingly disabling youngsters from doing that.
I’m backed up in thinking that by the artist Bob and Roberta Smith. An old friend who popped up on The Culture show like a blast from disconnected pasts. Our connections are linked to childhoods, and although not well maintained, do sometimes cross the tangle of life and ignite shared values. And I rediscovered his fantastic piece of work directed at Michael Gove, a man who understands children’s educational needs as much as I understand infant heart surgery. Bob explains why creativity is important and says that it is beaten out of children by the stagnant system, even by taking away their control of their own art.
Their insatiable curiosity, inherent from being born, also disappears along with their desire to question and discover. It takes away control of their own life too and their own quests. Without a quest they have no motivation, or direction when finally spewed out of institutionalisation with little understanding of the world outside.
This is what results from lack of creativity, lack of questioning, lack of life-lust. No education should result in that.
So we should perhaps all be writing our own letters to papers, to ministers, online, to try and get them to see there is another approach to life and education through creative, questioning thinking. The approach most home educators tend to use.
One that creates ideas that do more than just line dustbins.