Rhetorical Analysis of ‘How Schools Kill Creativity’
The members of this English class as well as the instructor will form part of the audience for this rhetorical analysis paper. The target audience is well conversant with the constituents of a rhetorical analysis of a piece of work. They are also familiar with the technique of presenting a rhetorical analysis of any work. Therefore, the target audience will understand many of the terms used in the presentation of the rhetorical analysis. They have also been exposed to the subject of the analysis as they have access to the video on their phones as well as on the school’s online library.
The presentation will be made at four o’clock, next Tuesday, during our afternoon extra-curricular English discussion sessions. The discussion will be held at the school’s auditorium, which is larger than our usual sitting at the school’s music room. The purpose of the session is to present a rhetorical analysis of one of the most controversial TED talks in the history of the global conference.
‘How Schools Kill Creativity’ is a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson during a TED conference on education and creativity on February 2006. The talk was filmed and posted to the TED website. The video has been one of the most watched videos on the website and has been downloaded more than 20 million times from a variety of online platforms in more than 150 countries. The talk raised a lot of debate as to the effect of schooling on the creativity of children and young adults. Millions of people viewed the talk as a platform to outlay their criticisms of the current educational system.
The implication of the talk was that school programs stifle rather than nurture creativity in the students, who are mostly young people. The talk starts with the speaker asserting that he has a tremendous interest in education. At the second minute of the talk, he makes a somewhat preposterous claim. “And my contention is all kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly.” (Robinson). From this statement, the audience now is eagerly anticipating to hear how children’s talents are being squandered and what relation it has with education.
Now that he has the attention of the audience, he begins breaking down the core elements of his lecture. He intends to give the audience insight into the relationship between education and creativity. From his viewpoint, creativity has been pushed to the background in the current school setting. He argues, “Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” (Robinson).
The speaker invokes a lot of laughter from the audience by making quirky statements such as ‘That was it, by the way. Thank you very much.” (Robinson). The funny thing about this particular statement is that the speaker is only three minutes into his fifteen-minute speech. The audience is fully attentive to what he is about to say next because he has made them feel at ease.
The speaker goes on to tell two different stories about children; one story is about a girl while the other is about his son. Storytelling in such settings is an excellent way of engaging with audiences because they begin to relate to the characters in the story. The stories also help the audience in understanding the theme of the entire lecture.
‘What these things have in common is that kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go.’ (Robinson). The statement is an extrapolation of the stories he told earlier. Even when in doubt, kids will always do what their gut tells them. ‘I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative.’ (Robinson). Here, he directs the audience at looking at mistakes from another angle.
Robinson summarizes and praises the ingenuity of children by stating, “if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.’ As profound as this statement may be, many of us still take mistakes for granted. We as a society admonish those who make mistakes and make them feel inferior. Robinson points out that ‘By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong.’
Mistakes are unacceptable at work, at school, at home, and in societal relations in general, as Robinson puts it ‘We run our companies like that. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are worst thing you can make.’ The result is a generation of people whose creative capacities have been severely eroded. Robinson claims that ‘The result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.’
The education system pushes creativity to the periphery of learning. According to Robinson, ‘We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.’ The speaker then gives a brief snapshot of all the educational systems across the world. The surprising thing is that all the systems have hierarchy of subjects. He explains by saying “At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and at the bottom are the arts.”
Our education systems completely ignore the importance of the arts in nurturing the creativity of human beings. He puts emphasis on this point by claiming, “There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance every day to children the way we teach them mathematics.” He further stipulates that “our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology, one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity.”
The author has successfully managed to convince the audience to see education as a bottleneck for creativity. He has also persuaded the audience to look into ways of restructuring the education system so that creativity can be nurtured extensively. He concludes his speech by challenging our education systems: “Our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this future.”
Robinson, Ken. “How Schools Kill Creativity.” TED. Feb. 2006. Lecture