Creativity in Education…

On strong reccomendation from our US counterpart, Ms Miranda Gerzon…

Bloody hell, what an incredible guy. I don’t think I’m the only one lauging out loud and beating my hand on the table in agreement…


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  1. I can’t believe the sense this man speaks. Here’s something good:

    “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”

    Well said.

    Thanks you Al and Miranda for bringing this to the attention of the Bakery!

    • There’s something so Tommy Cooper about his humour and timing. I really enjoyed the way he described the evolution of the University system…and just how hillariously true it is that “Proffessors see their bodies as vehicle to carry their head”.

  2. He’s certainly watched a few stand-ups in his time, because his style of delivery is less like your average conference speaker. I suspect by comparing him to Tommy Cooper you are picking up on the fact that he chuckles to himself, which Cooper used to do.

    Of course his argument isn’t flawless. Teaching Maths SHOULD be more important on any curriculum than Dance. Maths is surely more applicable to life and developing reasoning than Dance (though I am not denying the importance of creative expression; which is truly undervalued by the education system).

    My school did not do Drama (or Dance) lessons. I did a COMPULSORY Textiles GCSE. I also had to study TWICE for my Maths GCSE . I got a “C” and they made me study it all over again, for a whole year, and I got another bloody “C” – what a complete waste of time that was.

    As for the body being a vehicle to carry the head . . . that IS funny, but . . . it’s also true, surely. Our body is the Soft Machine to carry our mind (or soul, if you like).

    Reminds me of that Tim Minchin song “Not Perfect” :-

    This is my body
    And I live in it
    It’s 31
    And 6 months old
    It’s changed a lot since it was new
    It’s done stuff it wasn’t built to do
    I often try to fill it up with wine
    And the weirdest thing about it is
    I spend so much time hating it
    But it never says a bad word about me

    This is my brain
    And it’s fine
    It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time
    It’s not perfect
    But it’s mine

    • Alaric King

      Not just the manner in which he chuckles to himself, but also the way he delivers the lines reminds me of Mr Cooper, somehow.

      I personally disagree with what you say about Math being more integral in developing reasoning. If i look at the social evidence that i’ve personally encountered, Accountants and scientists are very un-reasonable people – whereas people with creative physical outputs are a hell of a lot more reasonable. You are right in theory, Math = Reason. However, adding a human into it generally distorts the equation (as with most things).

      Also, is reason something you can truly teach? Or is it one of those experiential lessons?

      The body IS a machine, just as our minds are. However, an imbalance of what is more important is in my opinon a little un-healthy….and casts me to think where the person spends most of their time dwelling….i’m thinking teenage boys and intellectuals, as the opposite ends of the spectrum here! Although you could see both as Ego or Penis.

  3. Richard Dadd *

    Ooh, intellectual debate on the Bakery Blog. Makes a change from our usual espresso-sipping and knob gags.

    Maths develops Rational processing because it utilises patterns and Logic. Such problem solving leads not just to technology but also to Rational Philosophy and thus a greater understanding of our world and ourselves. This is why Objective classes like Maths are so important.

    Subjective classes like Art, Dance and Drama (or purely physical classes like PE) are useful in many ways, but are NOT useful in devloping vital rational processing, because they don’t deal with rational concepts.

    That’s not to say Reason should be championed without the Arts or Sport. You wouldn’t want a society composed of fat Philosophers any more than you’d want a society of meat-headed and thuggish sportsmen.

    I propose you are confusing Reason (i.e. Rational problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, Maths, Logic, Rational Philosophy) with Social Reasonableness (i.e. whether or not someone makes fair social decisions, whether they empathise with others, whether they are selfish or lacking in common sense).

    You can be a highly intelligent Accountant or Scientist, and have crap social skills and be socially useless and unreasonable. This is not a contadiction.

    A good education would need to encourage the exercising of ALL skills. It’s all very well getting in touch with your emotions and your self-expression, but you need Science and Maths and Reason in there as well. Regarding my earlier comment “teaching Maths SHOULD be more important on any curriculum than Dance” I think this is justified by the obvious fact that everyone’s life neccessarily involves and benefits from Maths, but not everybody’s life neccessarily involves and benefits from Dance!

    Sir Ken complains that the education system is designed to send you to University to become a Professor. The solution would be to return University education to a more Elitist system, where only the top achievers go. Thus Degrees become valuable again. But the secondary education system would need to be reshaped to accommodate the millions of people who, though intelligent and creative, are not suited for University education, and certainly don’t want to be Professors (rather than sending them to University anyway, for them to study expensive and useless courses . . . then be unemployed and in debt). It’s nonsense that everyone should go to University. The education system would indeed serve us better if it increased its emphasis on creativity, self-expression, the Arts BUT ALSO vocational subjects, rather than just sending everyone to University.

    I suspect everyone in The Bakery (despite being University graduates) agrees with this summary.

    P.S. Tomorrow’s BBC feature illustrates how children who are not academic, and who are thus neglected by the education system can be helped by creative tasks: troublemaker pupils are well-behaved for Peat’s juggling classes. In fact Tony Cooper said as much last week regarding his storytelling: “I’ve seen kids who have had stabbings in the class become pussycats with storytelling.”

  4. “everyone’s life neccessarily involves and benefits from Maths, but not everybody’s life neccessarily involves and benefits from Dance!”

    Please explain the benifits of Math, over the benifits of dance. But don’t once bring money into it….

  5. Richard Dadd *

    Ha ha!

    Is Mr King taking the piss?

    I suspect so.

    Even if we (somehow, miraculously) lived in a moneyless society, I would challenge you to write to me using a computer powered by Dance, rather than Maths.

    Dance students would never invent the computer in a month of Sundays. But they could probably devise a very moving interpretive ballet about their attempt.

  6. No, in fact i wasn’t taking the piss at all Richard.

    I’m confused as to why you bring up my reliance on Math, as opposed to answer my simple request. Are you hiding behind a witty reply? I’m not for one minute stating that math isn’t important or integral, i’m saying that Dance is just as important and integral – in our youth, and thus the growth of our society. Surely the culture of a society is just as important as it’s functionality.

    Again, the label of ‘importance’ is a dangerous one to be swinging around here. Because it depends on whether the emphasis is based on success or something deeper; I for one can’t dance and am honestly shit scared of it. Fear is the only thing stopping me from enjoying it. And i know (from past experience) that overcoming my pathetic fear of a natural human desire, will inevitably liberate and cross over into another area of my life too. Fear is the only un-pleasantry here. Not the dancing itself.

    Would i have enjoyed dance at school? Well, it would have taken a very good teacher to persuade me so – the same as the lack of a good math teacher, prevented me from ever enjoying the faint blue grid paper of a Wednesday afternoon.

    Also is societal growth really worth it? And would our society really grow in the direction we want it to, if all people are given an emphasis of rational logic? And i even argue that math doesn’t produce people who have a grasp on rational philosophy. Of course, it uses patterns and logic, but for a human to make that cross over, to use these tools in their personal life and day to day encounters – this takes an entirely different approach to your subject matter. Living by it with integrity, perhaps. That would take a fucking good math teacher.

    I also feel that Creativity is an expression of a latent fundamental in all we do. It’s a flourish from a magic source from which we get a lot of our enjoyment and happiness. Everyone can access this, and it manifests in whatever we do, math, dance etc.

    Denying someone this possible outlet and expression, or hindering their journey to finding this, is in my honest opinion, very dangerous. The expression is obviously different and unique for every one. I appreciate that education cannot cater for all, but it can make a concerted effort not to bastardise and restrict the students path, like it is doing now.

    Though be rest assured Richard, i’d still draw penises on the mirror of the dance studio, and find it as funny as i would if it were my friends English book.

  7. I wasn’t hiding. I just honestly think it’s demonstrably the case that Maths is more important educationally speaking than Dance. I brought up our reliance on computers as an example of the evident useful impact that Maths has on our lives. I would struggle to come up with a Dance-based parallel.

    Also, I don’t think it’s at all wrong (or “dangerous”) to consider the importance of a subject when planning a curriculum. That’s why I am so angry about my compulsory Textiles GCSE!

    Basically, on the Bakery Venn Diagram, I am a big circle maked “Rationalist Philosophy etc” and you are a big circle marked “Spirituality etc” but thankfully we overlap in an area marked “Appreciation and Pursuit of Creative Output.”

    The Bakery Venn Diagram also has a cock and balls doodled in the corner.

  8. Julian spilt espresso on the Venn Diagram. Sorry Rich.

  9. Alaric King

    Although this debate has come to an end, i am still curious as to how you believe that math can give birth to rational philosophy, within someone. I have never once encountered this in my life so far…

    • Alaric King

      I would like to add a new area for debate to develop. I would ask sir Ken how we would go about developing an education system whereby creativity is paramount? It sounds fantastic! But how would we do it? There is a lot of nitty gritty to work out.

  10. Ruski Blogg

    “never let your studies interfere with your education.” -unknown

    Now concentrate!

    There is a false assumption that education takes place in a classroom or institution, when in fact learning is simply the process of engaging with our own ignorance. To become too reliant upon what we already know cuts us off from the creative potential that arises out of the unknown.

    Our educational system teaches us to define our relationship with the unknown in every conceivable way we can think of but what it fails to teach us is how to dance with it.

    Unless we are omniscient we are ignorant, whether we study Maths, Dance or knob gags! I would suggest that creative education is about how well we apply the ability to accumulate and recall facts by specific deadlines, regardless of how reasonable these facts might appear.

    One of the greatest teachers, if not the greatest teacher is ‘experience’ – however it doesn’t fit well into the grade system.

    Our institutional educational system reflects mankinds relationship with its own ignorance and sadly trains us to too readily to accept our history without question, which is a reasonable assumption – otherwise what was the point of it?

    It is also goal driven, sponsoring us to learn through conformity rather than through spontenaity.

    A dancer does not aim to to move from point a on the dance floor to point b – rather he is moved by the music and the music moves him. This system of learning is sadly lacking in our educational system as it does not reasonably constitute “learning”, again it is harder to grade etc..

    An alternative approach might start with placing less importance on institutional education and goals in general?

  11. Ruski Blogg

    Unless we are omniscient we are ignorant, whether we study Maths, Dance or knob gags! I would suggest that creative education is NOT about how well we apply the ability to accumulate and recall facts by specific deadlines, regardless of how reasonable these facts might appear.

  12. very interesting someone talking some sense for a change. In the ideal world id love to be a profesional skateboarder, but you never know i still could and i also, like him, dont want to work but have to in order to gain money.

  13. Yes, working in order to gain money. It’s a bugger isn’t it?

    Then again, here at The Bakery we very often find ourselves working and NOT gaining money for it.

    I’m not sure which is the more annoying!

    • Alaric King

      I think getting paid to make shit things would be more annoying…that’s redundant annoyance that will inevitably errupt in an almighty mid-life crisis!

  14. Has Mr Dadd been inspired by Sir Ken Robinson’s motivational speech on education?

  15. I dunno, between Robert Bloody Kiyosaki and a dead mad Victorian painter, I’ll never come very high on Google searches!

    “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” my foot. It’s a greedy scam, based on sickening materialism. Sorry to sound like a big Hippie, but it is.

    I’d love to introduce Mr Kiyosaki to Will & Ed. It’d be like Matter meeting Anti-Matter.

    • Mr Kiyosaki is a wonderful human, who’s doing a lot of great work. Diane & Robert Goulding claim they’re “…still spinning, we can’t sleep with excitement”.

      I wish i had the ability to make someone spin with excitement.

  16. Alaric, – have you thought of getting a job operating the waltzer at the local funfair?

  17. Sorry to ask this, but what is a Waltzer? And who on earth lives by a green in the 21st Century?

    Excuse me, I’m just popping off to eat my boiled meats.


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