How School Kills Creativity

Sir Ken

It is fitting that one of the talks by Sir Ken Robinson’s that inspired me to create BTT is the focus of my first blog.

The fact that Sir Ken’s legendary TED talk has over 20 million views cements that fact that people do care deeply about the state of education and what our kids are and are not learning in schools.


In the video below, Sir Ken begins by capturing how sensitive an issue education is, as everyone, young or old it seems, can relate to his or her own time in school.

He reminds us that children have tremendous capacity for innovation, but somehow this aptitude fades over time and is replaced by a distinct conformity in thoughts and actions in young adulthood.



He also talks about  how schools have created an effect in its student who too often developa “fear of being wrong” mindset.   He mentions how this same effect underpins how modern corporations are run, which stifles both authenticity and innovation; essentially educating people out of their creativity.

With his trademark humour and use of irony, Sir Ken reminds us the purpose that public education was set up initially and how education was predicated on a) academic ability and b) the needs of 19th century industrialism, and that the real clear winners in our present education system are indeed, college professors.

In his plea for the powers that be to revamp our current education system, Sir Ken implores us to treat “creativity the same way we would literacy” and also that we must “radically shift our view of intelligence” as we know that intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinct, far beyond the needs of the industrial revolution.

And while his view is somewhat simplified to raise his main point, which is if not careful, schools often do kill creativity, with respect to the solutions to confidence that BTT provides, there is much that I have experienced in schools, and agree with.

Just as Sir Ken talks about the interview he has with Gillian Lynne, the dancer, producer and arts catalyst – who as a kid, couldn’t sit still in the classroom – if we don’t teach our youth about how belief underpins their achievements then we are leaving a tremendous amount of potential on the table.

Like Sir Ken, at Belief Trumps Talent, we understand that a rethinking of fundamental educational principles is both vital and necessary in order to truly empower our youth to learn how to expect the best of themselves, and to discover the key elements of how belief always trumps talent.

Whereas Sir Ken centers his argument on the stifling of creativity in schools, Belief Trumps Talent champions the idea that unless we gain a deep understanding of our mind in terms of how it influences who we are and what we believe we can do, and how it is that our thoughts actually create who it is that we become, we blindly and fail to comprehend the basis of true potential and lack any roadmap to help our youth realize theirs.

Sir Ken and BTT share the view that unless educational decision makers – and our governments and colleges – open up to ideas that will allow creativity and self belief education to become learning objectives cemented in the curriculum in our schools, then we will continue to under deliver to our youth at the most important and habit forming period of their lives.

So not only do we need am emphasis on creativity in education to help promote innovative thinking to help prepare are youth for their futures, we similarly need a self belief roadmap for them to ensure that they fully understand where their true potential really lies.

Please comment