Trading education systems with China

American creativity is declining according to a recent Newsweek article. The article says that America is embracing rote learning just as China is embracing creativity.

In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. … When faculty of a major Chinese university asked [Jonathan] Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” Plucker says. “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’ ”

Ken Robinson argues in his TED Talk that rather than encourage creativity, schools kill it.

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4 thoughts on “Trading education systems with China

  1. We have had to undermine our educational system in order to preserve a corrupt economy and polity. If China is really doing what you say they are doing, their political system will not survive.

  2. This is my all time favorite TED talk. The Newsweek article is excellent. It is clear that America is going in the wrong direction with respect to creativity in education. I am sure there are many reasons, including the ones mentioned here, that American creativity scores are dropping. As far as I know, we are the only developed country in the world that has uses multiple choice for high stakes standardized testing. Clearly we are sending the message to schools that only low cognitive, basic skills are important. Creativity is being increasingly left out of the curriculum and this kind of research is showing the inevitable result.

  3. Schools talk about creativity being important, but their actions contradict the talk.

    The most common reason I hear for standardized testing (and hence teaching to standardized tests) is that it scales well. (The unquestioned assumption is that we must educate and evaluate everyone exactly the same way. I think it’s time to question that assumption.) We say we value creativity, but it’s hard to measure, so we measure trivia recall instead.

    It’s like the old story of the drunk looking for his keys under the lamp post. Someone asks whether the lost his keys there. He replies no, but that’s where the light is.

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