TED Conversations

Josh Walter

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Should creativity be encouraged or discouraged?

In many households and schools, children who "act up" are the ones who receive the harshest, most frequent punishment. Many of these children demonstrate innate abilities in one or more areas, such as music or math or painting. Unfortunately, very infrequently do parents or teachers take the time to delve into the psyches of their more rambunctious children to discover their talents. The education system is designed to produce functioning members of society and, primarily due to the benign influence a conformist society has on a child, there are undoubtedly fewer individualists than there are conformists. I implore you to debate the issue of whether or not it is right for parents, teachers, and other authority figures to discourage individuality, creativity, and curiosity instead of work towards discovering and nurturing hidden talents.

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    Jun 24 2011: Is this a trick question? =)

    Of course it should be encouraged...
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      Jun 24 2011: How dare you!
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        Jun 24 2011: It's not a trick question, and it should definitely be encouraged, but why isn't it? Contrary to claims made by people working within the school system, individuality, creativity, and curiosity are rarely encouraged in schools because children possessing these traits are "harder to handle" and make a teacher's job more challenging. I wrote this conversation to get you to think a little bit deeper about an otherwise simple topic of conversation, to have you respond with intelligent, well thought-out answers, and to bring you to ask, "why?" of things we have been taught to assume are correct!

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