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How school kills creativity (a practical example)

Feb 14, 2017

Many years ago I posted a speech by Sir Ken Robinson called "Does school kill creativity?" (you can find it in the recommended posts below). Today I'd like to invite you to read this text, which I think it's a perfect practical example of what Sir Ken Robinson says in his speech.

The Little Boy by Helen E. Buckley

Once a little boy went to school.

One morning, when the little boy had been in school a while, his teacher said:

“Today we are going to make a picture.”

“Good!” thought the little boy. He liked to make pictures. He could make all kinds. Lions and tigers, Chickens and cows, trains and boats, and he took out his box of crayons and began to draw.

But the teacher said: “Wait! It is not time to begin!” And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher, “We are going to make flowers.”

“Good!” thought the little boy, he liked to make flowers, and he began to make beautiful ones with his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said “Wait! And I will show you how.” And it was red with a green stem. “There,” said the teacher, “Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s. Then he looked at this own flower.

He liked his flower better than the teacher’s. But he did not say this. He just turned his paper over. And made a flower like the teacher’s. It was red with a green stem.

On another day, when the little boy had opened the door from the outside all by himself, the teacher said: “Today we are going to make something with clay.”

“Good!” thought the little boy. Snakes and snowmen, elephants and mice, cars, and trucks, and he began to pull and pinch his ball of clay.

But the teacher said: “Wait!” It is not time to begin!” And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher, “We are going to make a dish.”

He liked to make dishes. And he began to make some that were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said, “Wait! And I will show you how.” And she showed everyone how to make a deep dish. “There,” said the teacher. “Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish, then he looked at his own. He liked his dish better than the teacher’s. But he did not say this. He just rolled his clay into a big ball again. And made a dish like the teacher’s. It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon the little boy learned to wait, and to watch and to make things just like the teacher. And pretty soon he didn’t make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened that the little boy and his family moved to another house, in another city, and the little boy had to go to another school.

And the very first day he was there the teacher said: “Today we are going to make a picture.” “Good!” Thought the little boy and he waited for the teacher to tell him what to do.But the teacher didn’t say anything. She just walked around the room.When she came to the little boy she said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?”

“Yes,” said the little boy. “What are we going to make?”

“I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher. “How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.

“Why, any way you like,” said the teacher.

“Any color?” asked the little boy.

“Any color,” said the teacher.

“If everyone made the same picture, and the used the same colors, how would I know who made what?”

“I don’t know,” said the little boy.

And he began to draw a flower. It was with a green stem.

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Mums, dads & kids
We don't know how to be parents, we learn it everyday as we go. This is my way of motherhood, the small victories and the bitter defeats, my inconvenient truths and the endless life lessons. And also all the baby products and toys we love the most.
How to leave the playground without power struggles
This is life
Audiobooks of real-life stories for kids
Let's not project our insecurities onto our kids
Question authorities
Parents need to be constructively selfish
One more step towards self-acceptance
When you think your marriage is over after kids.
Alex
We forgot our 10-year wedding anniversary!
Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Montessori express: change the sentences into positive
Montessori express: everything is NOT fine
My baby cries desperately in the car (15 months)
Take care of the mother behind the woman
Montessori express: ask instead of correcting
Montessori express: describe instead of criticising
An example of how I practice empathy with my kids
How I show empathy to my children
Happy 4th birthday, Emily
Montessori New Year's tradition
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Instagram

I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.