[Letters] Creative ideas on education

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[Letters] Creative ideas on education

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” , The strongly worded quote from best-selling children’s book author Beatrix Potter alleges that what is being taught in schools is, ironically, dumbing down students by taking away identity.

However, quite interestingly, Potter is one of many successful people who regard school as a place that strips away a person’s true identity.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

The world’s most brilliant and influential scientist, Albert Einstein was a struggling student in school. Unable to fit himself in a system of school which underestimates the importance of creativity by merely requesting facts, numbers and exact answers, he started studying at home. Outside of school, he learned creativity.

In our schools, people equate being creative with being wrong. Frightened of giving the incorrect answers, they lose their originality and conform to the answers that teachers teach them. In other words, in schools, students are educated out of creativity.

Teachers set certain standards of their own and convince students that theirs is the “correct” answer. They do not allow students to entertain other ideas about given material.

Literature, the wildest and most creative field of study, has become an unpleasant subject that requires people to memorize the symbols of words in poems. Quite sadly, literature has turned into a boring subject requiring critical reading and analysis that students mimic to suit the answers that teachers have established.

Teachers can inspire by example and by their own enthusiasm for a subject, but should not get into the learners’ space with the latest fad or impose their own values on children.

Students should learn basic knowledge and acquire further knowledge by themselves. Teachers should be there to help students, not force them to form their own ideas.

Korean education can be most accurately summed up as “cramming knowledge”.

It might look as if the teachers are enthusiastically teaching students, but when the students are taught solely facts and numbers, in other words, knowledge, this is no more than an act of cramming things that students do not want.

Knowledge about something is the sort of thing that does not persist. As time passes, people tend to easily forget that those facts and figures they once memorized are gradually lost.

“Do not study music, you are not going to be a musician,” is what my teacher said to me when I was almost absorbed in music. The teachers have always told me that what I should do as a student is to memorize the facts in textbooks.

When I could not conform to the “right” answers, and asked them if there could be any other plausible answers, they curtly answered “no”. I am sad to say that despite being a straight-A student, I cannot remember what I learned a year ago.

When people ask me how I get such good grades my answer is simple: “I memorized the whole textbook.”

Sadly, such memorization is the sole way of becoming a good student in our schools.

Education is not something that forces students to believe in conventional knowledge without asking questions; rather, it is creativity and continuous thinking.

This is the only way that education can be useful. This will be the only way that students can develop great minds. By encouraging creativity and non-conformity in education, human beings will be able to grasp the unseen and unpredictable future, which may be the true purpose of education.

Esther Hong, Gyeonggi Academy

of Foreign Language
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