Roser Atmetlla thinks about Creativity and Education due to the article published in this magazine "Helsinki's Musiikkitalo welcomes Ala Voronkova". As an artist herself and also as a Philosophy teacher she explains to us how the ongoing boredom at the reach of adolescence kills slowly the creativity from childhood.
It is been a long time already since the TV programmes where children from four to six years old are asked about their opinion have become famous. These children's witticisms make us laugh and surprise us. They are original, naïve, funny and wise. They have their own ideas and the ability to project a different glance over the world. They are four, five, six years old.
But then, they grow up. And it appears to be normal that this, let's say peculiarity, gets lost with time. After all, we can think that these children are funny to us thanks to their tenderness and lack of experience. So, when the programme ends, we switch off the TV smiling, and we go to sleep because the next day we have to get up early to go to work. What a drag! How annoying!
Obviously, those children who have amused us with their eccentric ideas and their outlandish opinions are unaware of the existence in this world of a lot of boring jobs and unsatisfied people, because this is life as it is and they will discover it as they grow up...
The ability of seeing the world in another way and admire it is usual in philosophers. And this is what I, a Philosophy teacher who often doesn't want to go to high school, try to make understand year after year to these impossible teenagers that I have as students.
They are sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old, and also year after year since they have been schooled for the first time, we have achieved to keep them seated and -more or less- quite. However, for them to listen is already another story: all I see when I talk to them about astonishment and admiration is that faded and unambiguous tone that boredom gives to their look...
You will tell me that, after all, Philosophy it is not a discipline that predisposes to joy and amusement... Maybe do you remember your sleepy state as a teenager while the teacher was speaking? And probably you are right. But it is also true that for these teenagers there isn't any -or nearly any- subject which predisposes them to it. No joy, no amusement, no interest. This situation is not very different from my experience as student. And I also recognise myself in their idea of high school, which is considered as the first stage of a race that will end when they get a well paid job. A job where they will be able to fulfil themselves and also compensate all the boredom that we have made them to endure.
And I sometimes ask myself if they will be still on time. On time to compensate themselves, on time to have fun as they are amazed by something, on time to look at things in another way and turn problems into challenges, into chances to invent original and maybe a little bit eccentric solutions, but, above all, effective and satisfactory. Because this is what they are going to need to get up every day and go to work, to face specific problems at work and in life, in a society as ours which turns -and changes- increasingly faster.
I ask myself about it. And actually I am asking myself if they will we able to recover the creativity that they had when they were four, five and six years old. And I also ask myself, as a teacher, which one is the degree of my responsibility in this loss.
School, as I knew it as a child and as a teenager, it hasn't changed so much. It is true that we have embellished it with the computing in classrooms and with a scandalous reduction of what we demand from the students. But the rest, the standardization, the obedience and the stuffing of knowledge, they stay the three basic pillars of what is understood as education. This way, I understand that the successive bad grades which we get at the PISA report can not astonish anyone. But when you have among 30 and 38 students in the classroom, you hardly can consider anything else than the masterful class and to get them seated and quite.
However, it is also true that when I have to talk to these teenagers -who are very often so tiresome and frustrating!- about the philosophical attitude and I tell them that the philosopher has known how to preserve the same child's look when he contemplates the world – everything is new, everything amazes him -, they understand it. Maybe they don't identify it with anything that school can give to them – which is the reason of their boredom look-, but they understand it because they have just leave the nest and in a lot of aspects childhood is still closer to them than the adult's world.
And to me this is hope. This really cheers me up. And I think that, although as a society we have made a lot of efforts, maybe we have not achieved to kill completely their creativity.
Writer and publisher of Promoartyou