Creative Teaching and Education Institutions

This is an addendum to my previous post, Creative Teaching. I wrote:

I’m realizing that if students don’t respond positively to a certain plan, system or method, then the system and the teacher are at fault, not the student.  All students have the capacity to learn, but it’s the teacher’s responsibility to figure out how they learn, and how they learn best.  And they all learn differently!

I remember being in grade 12, sitting down in the office of my high school guidance counselor and telling him that I didn’t want to do another year of high school.  I didn’t want to do grade 13.  I explained to him that I was eligible to audition for the music program at the University of Toronto.  That’s what I really wanted to do.

So I asked if he could advise me in regards to the research, the application and the whole process.  Instead he told me that not finishing high school was a bad idea, and would harm my education. I should stay and finish grade 13.  In the end, he offered no help.

It’s a good thing I didn’t listen to him.  Not graduating from high school was one of the best things I’ve done for my education and musical career.  It makes me wonder about guidance counselors and other authorities who teach from a set of rules rather than focus on the needs of students.  It also makes me wonder about students who listen to them and miss crucial opportunities.

Here’s the issue: Anytime an education institution (music or otherwise) makes decisions administratively rather than based on the needs of individual students, it’s time to reexamine that institution.  Systematic, formulaic, linear, rigid and uncreative conventions can be detrimental to a student’s education.

Questions for future consideration:

To what extent does institutionalized education hinder a student’s ability?

To what extent does it hinder a teacher’s creativity?

If it hinders a teacher’s creativity, won’t it hinder a student’s creativity too?

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