“Schools Kill Creativity” – a TED talk

Have you heard of TED talks yet…?
Being that this is one about education, creativity, and what is considered to be intelligent &/or valuable, you know it’s pretty much one of my favorites.

On this subject I have to share that while I went through the “traditional” academic experience, earning my B.A. and going on to law school (though I did not continue on with law), my husband is my polar brain opposite. While I began my academic career at community college and thought, “This is awesome!,” my husband started community college and thought, “This is dumb. I don’t care about any of this… Why am I here?”

He went on to attend the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute where he flourished, with perfect attendance, and perfect grades, at the top of his class.

His brain can understand, compute, and work with numbers, math, technology, and mechanics in ways that mine just can’t. Not to mention, he is the one that (in the midst of my college career, no less- in 2008) explained the economic meltdown to me, in terms that I could actually understand. Moreover, if I’m being perfectly honest, I had to learn critical thinking (to a certain extent) in college. As presented in the following video, my educational upbringing did not foster creativity, nor was I encouraged to think critically. I was raised, like many of us (especially being that my first 7 years of schooling were in Catholic school), to accept the information that was being given to me, at face value, and to not really think critically or analyze anything, but rather, to just memorize. I mean, really, isn’t that a lot of what education in this country is these days? It’s not critical thinking and analysis— it’s the banking concept of education.

I questioned things, to be sure, and my stepfather is really the only person throughout my upbringing that fostered this. [He was born in a small Louisiana town in 1930, a huge fan of the Romantics (think: Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson), preferring spirituality to religion, and always willing to talk to me about art, religion, music, books, and movies, any time of day. He had me reading Voltaire at age 8. I’ll never forget him pulling a book from the shelf and saying, “You know I think you’ll really like this one. It’s called “Candide.” Read it, enjoy!”]

But save for that, like I said, my educational upbringing was lackluster at best. I later went on to skip class constantly while in high school just to be in the music room, where I would sit and write songs, play my guitar, and hang/jam with other musicians like myself.

Contrastingly, my husband was inculcated in the world of critical thought by his parents and and all the other parents that taught at his co-op school throughout his childhood. His ability to just naturally think outside of the box never ceases to amaze me. For example, recently we were watching TV when this cereal commercial comes on, the voiceover stating, “People who choose _____ tend to be healthier than those who choose other cereals!” (or some such nonsense) and my man just remarked, “Yeah, and I’m sure that’s because those people are probably making a whole lot of other healthy decisions regarding lifestyle and diet, too.”

So there ya go. In spite of my learned intellect, I’m not always above seeing past everything the way he is. He is, without a doubt, the smartest person I know. And higher learning had nothing to do with it. With all of that said….

Please watch, and enjoy.




  1. I couldn’t agree more!!! The system is nothing more than a means to create good little pogs that can do as they are told. And I’ll have you know my favorite hours and memories of high school pretty much entirely revolve around music class and lunch break LOL

    You’re Brian sounds like my Chris 🙂 That’s why I love him so much.. he was the one who helped to enlighten me to everything. Up until that point, I had been a very good sheep. He pretty much taught himself everything outside of school, lived in the woods for 6 months and learned electronics through Google and is now building microphones, amps and fixing ATM machines..when we first met, he gave me “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins and I fell in love. 🙂 lol

    1. I learned way more from music class (i.e. learning how to play guitar, sing, record, etc.), and from music itself (choir included!), than I did in any of my other high school classes- That is for SURE! (except for maybe a couple of English classes)
      It’s no wonder many of my UC Berkeley classes involved listening to and thinking about music…

      And you know I am a huge advocate of education, but that’s coming from the background of a university in which we critiqued the very institution from which our education came, too. I was lucky enough to have professors that engendered an atmosphere in which we all learned from each other (one of my professors at the end of every semester—I took 3 classes with her—would thank all of us students for what we taught her), and in which it was recognized that no discipline was mutually exclusive from any other- meaning, economics DID have something to do with women’s studies, and architecture DID have something to do with ethnic studies, etc. All disciplines were recognized as interconnected and therefore my education was not as compartmentalized as demonstrated in this TED talk. (but once again, I think I lucked out:)

      And on the other hand, our partners are exemplary of an intelligence that has nothing to do with academic higher learning. Kudos to them and whoever raised them! Education doesn’t always mean schooling…
      And thanks for reading, Miss Jess! 🙂

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