Teachers don’t like creative students, who tend to be stubborn, critical non-conformists, writes Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution. He cites Creativity: Asset or Burden in the Classroom? (pdf), a 1995 review of the research.
. . . although teachers say that they like creative students, teachers also say creative students are “sincere, responsible, good-natured and reliable.” In other words, the teachers don’t know what creative students are actually like. (FYI, the research design would have been stronger if the researchers had actually tested the students for creativity.) As a result, schooling has a negative effect on creativity.
Creative students are hard to handle in a classroom with 20 to 30 kids, Tabarrok writes. They tend to be rule breakers with little regard for social conventions.
Would you really want a little Picasso in your class? asks Jonah Lehrer.
How about a baby Gertrude Stein? Or a teenage Eminem? The point is that the classroom isn’t designed for impulsive expression – that’s called talking out of turn. Instead, it’s all about obeying group dynamics and exerting focused attention. Those are important life skills, of course, but decades of psychological research suggest that such skills have little to do with creativity.
Tabarrok hopes creative kids will thrive — without disrupting others — through personalized learning, such as the Khan Academy.