This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

making things: a rant

"The Association of Teachers and Lecturers [yes, them again]warned that pupils risked being failed by a...curriculum that will emphasize core knowledge. It claimed that the move would 'kill children's creativity.' "

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm afraid that the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is a British affair. I expect (actually, I'm not sure I do expect this, but I'm pretending I do to be polite) that other countries have much more sensible teachers' associations.

Because, look, please don't come at me with the learning-facts-kills-creativity thing.

It's nonsense. Really it is. So you're saying that spending years  learning lists means you'll never be able to come up with anything even mildly original, are you?

Take that JRR Tolkien. Knowing loads and loads of old words went with his job (Merton Professor of English Language and Literature). So he couldn't have had an ounce of  creativity in his body. Could he.

Saying that learning things inhibits creativity is like saying that eating cabbage every day stops you liking chocolate. Well, it just might do, but it's more likely to make you enjoy chocolate even more.

Did reading hundreds of pages about Neanderthals hinder me in the writing of my Ice-Age book? (It's not out yet, thank you for asking. But, no, it didn't.)

Anyway, is there a fifteen-year-old boy anywhere who's ever thought to himself I'd like to have a fantasy about Angela, but since they made me learn about the Battle of Bunker Hill I just don't have the imagination?

Finally, do you remember what Sir Isaac Newton said about standing on the shoulders of giants?* What he meant was that he  couldn't have discovered anything very much without the help of the people who'd discovered things before him. 

Yes, that's right: all his new ideas had depended on knowing stuff.

And, let's face it, you don't get more creative than Sir Isaac.

Do you.

Thing To Do Today: create something. This word comes from the Latin word creāre, to produce or make.

*Bernard of Chartres seems to have said it first.

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