Tag Archives: Education System

Creativity?

Starting at some early point in my life – approximately the time of middle school – I began to believe, as many other people did, that I simply “wasn’t creative.”  I was really good at math, which contributed to me being “pushed” towards it and related subjects by teachers and mentors.  Eventually, I began to believe all the people saying that’s what “I was”: good at math.  I began college as a physics major that had a concentration in astronomy, but I changed majors to liberal arts by the beginning of the next school year.

Right around this time, in part because of my super-creative and talented boyfriend, I started getting in to painting, as well as photography.  I ended up taking courses in both, as well as two different writing courses over the span of the next school year.  I received A’s in all of those classes and got a lot out of all of them. 

Since then, I’ve painted more than a few paintings that I am proud of, became a pretty decent photographer, started a blog, and gotten in to drawing, crocheting, re-designing old clothes, rapping, composing music, and more!  I am by no means an expert at any of these things; in fact, I’m still quite the beginner in most of them.  But I tell you all this to say: you can’t let what society tells you about yourself get to you.  We live in a pretty left-brained world where, often, the varied number of skills we refer to as “the arts” are seen as silly, unimportant, somehow “lesser” than other subjects, and only suited for a select group of people.  It is misguided, and often teaches kids, just like myself, that there are “creative people,” – the ones who are “naturally” good at creative endeavors and will go far if they pursue them – and there are “non-creative” people – people who are only good for science and math and other rigid, left-brained work and shouldn’t even attempt things like painting, even for leisure. 

It’s a completely false dichotomy.  Just like Macklemore says in his song 10,000 Hours, “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint; the greats were great because they paint a lot.”

If I had simply listened to what society was telling me was true about myself, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this today.  And if I exist, others like me exist with powerful capabilities to positively impact the world who are just looking in all the wrong places.  If you’re reading this right now, there’s a pretty good chance you’re a part of the WordPress community and have tapped into your unique creative potential.  However, there are many more people out there who have not.  Regardless of which group you fall into, this is for you – because the complete reverse can be true of society, too, where many people think they simply aren’t good at highly “logical” subjects like math or science.  It still comes back to the point that “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint…” or as Eminem puts it, “you can do anything you set your mind to!”

Much Love.

“The World Becomes What You Teach.”

I recently came across this TEDtalk by Zoe Weil discussing a very important institution that has, in my opinion, grown rather outdated in a modernized society – education.  Zoe Weil advocates an education system where “the basics” – math, language, history, etc – are only there to support the bigger goal of giving our kids the skills and knowledge necessary to solve – yes, solve – the myriad of problems that we face in the world today.

Our current education system was thought up roughly around the time of the industrial revolution.  It was designed during a time when factory work was the norm and people needed to be educated to perform well in those types of jobs.  Fast-forward to now, and our country has next to no manufacturing jobs left.  With the information and technology revolution, things like the internet and 3-D printers are already rendering once-considered “staple” jobs obsolete.  We can only expect to see this trend continue in the years to come.

The main point of the presentation by Weil is this: our current education system is far too focused on simply “getting kids jobs,” and not nearly focused enough on preparing kids to operate in our inter-connected and ever-changing 21st century world – a world where simple employment is not likely to be the biggest obstacle society faces.  Put more simply: our schools aren’t preparing kids for life, they are preparing them to be “good workers,” code for good order-takers.  The general mentality seems to be that you should always just do as you’re told, and without asking questions – especially about why things are the way they are.

What Weil recommends as an alternative to all the madness is devoting entire courses – starting at a young age – to systems and institutions like transportation, health, education, and food.  Then, within said courses, analyzing the systems we currently have in place and identifying any and all harm, as well as good, that is done by that system – socially, environmentally, economically, etc.  Lastly – and this is the awesome part – come up with realistic but non-traditional alternatives to the current systems that might produce a higher number of “desirable” results while working to eliminate un-desirable results like child labor, destruction of environments, extreme poverty, and harm done to animals.

I wholeheartedly agree with this entire premise of education that Weil presents.  As is mentioned in the talk, we could have 100% employment in this country and yet still be perpetuating many of the harmful systems that have given rise to the problems we see in the world today.  Our main focus in education can not just be on getting people jobs – we need to have a bigger vision than that.  Because of my passionate support for this idea, I wanted to publicly add my name to the ever-growing list of people who believe that serious educational reform is needed both in this country, and abroad – and of course, I just had to share this video with you!  (;

Love & Light