In the most-watched TED talk of all time, Sir Ken Robinson asks “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” The title is entirely rhetorical, as Robinson makes a rather compelling and obvious case that what we have prioritized in schools--a hyper-focus on reading and mathematics, reliance on standardized tests to assess performance and quality; no excuses compliance culture; the sacrifice of the fine arts, music, and theatre programs--certainly has zapped the opportunity for students to explore the world around them and to express themselves creatively.
The thing is most schools are this way. But Denver Lab School isn’t like most schools.
There’s the practical reason to foster and develop creativity in our students. For years the most powerful employers in the US have identified a persistent skills gap as the main factor in there being over 6.9 million unfilled, high paying jobs around the country. Next to digital literacy, the number one skill the research found lacking in the workforce was creativity.
More importantly, there’s the human reason. We all at some level want to be able to express unique and individual ideas and opinions. We all want to believe that we can make a difference and a lasting impact on the world around us.
“You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all,” Robin Williams as John Keating, in Dead Poets Society (1989)
There’s an amazing scene from the film Dead Poets Society, in which Robin William’s character challenges one of his students to truly say something new, to create a poem on the spot in front of the rest of the class. The poem starts messy but ends with a flourish that makes you see the potential teacher sees in him.
Many, many factors will make Denver Lab School a transformative place to learn. A focus on developing creativity in our students will be one of them. Students will learn to creatively take their learned knowledge and skills and apply them to real-world problems. They’ll create murals in the community, have the opportunity to design and make new prosthetics, and figure out how to tell beautiful stories through words and images.
We prioritize creativity because we know it will help Denver Lab School students be college and career-ready, but only because it also will help them grow as a whole person. The two go hand in hand.
To learn more about Denver Lab School and be part of our design process, schedule a time to talk: https://calendly.com/mhardimandls/30min