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  • Summer Sunnock

Brighter Days: The art of learning

Close to 70 years ago, there was a little girl named Gillian who really struggled in school. Because she was fidgety and unable to focus, her mother took her to a doctor to see what was wrong. The doctor turned a radio on and left the room. When he left the room, Gillian began to dance. The doctor turned to Gillian’s mother and said, “There’s nothing wrong with your daughter. She’s just a dancer.” Gillian’s mother enrolled her in a dance school where Gillian thrived. She is now a famous dancer who has choreographed many famous plays, including Phantom of the Opera.

What if school were structured differently? What if we didn’t have to sit for hours learning about something we hate learning about? Ken Robinson, international speaker and advisor on education, says, “We are educating people out of creativity.” We don’t grow into creativity but that we grow out of it.

Math and language are important. But what about the arts? What about the people who are naturally creative? What are they to do in classroom after classroom where math is drilled into them? Eventually, that creativity is going to die rather than flourish.

It’s like the plant my mom got me when I moved into my apartment. It was really beautiful and I felt like an adult because I now had my first plant. But I kept forgetting to water it....We can’t expect something to grow if we don’t put anything into it.

When I started college, I decided I was going to be a business major. Everyone told me, “Just go into business. You can do anything with it and you’ll always make money.” At the end of my sophomore year I was convinced that I could not finish college. I was so bored. I couldn’t ever imagine doing anything my professors were talking about. Until I switched my major to Journalism and Mass Communication.

There are a lot of students who flourish in math. But there are also a lot of students who flourish in the arts. I think our educational system needs to be revised. Why isn’t there more of a balance? Why are students who thrive at art being forced to take math class after math class? Wouldn’t they excel in a more balanced education?

Steve Jobs wasn’t a mathematician… he didn’t even finish college. He was an ideas man who thought of unconventional products. He allowed himself to be creative and while doing so, influenced the world.

In my great grandma’s lifetime, she has seen the Wright Brothers on their first flight, man land on the moon, black and white television, colored television, cordless phones, cellular phones and the list goes on. With all of that change in technology, think about how much the school system has changed. Not much.

Seth Goden, best selling business author, discusses the importance of creativity in his book, Purple Cow. The head of the design studio for Nissan was in a meeting with the marketing department. He was seen more as an observer, but proved he was much more. In this meeting, the marketing department realized that design is the foundation of marketing. This proves that the world needs creative people.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for the students passionate toward math to be able to focus on their passions and for the art students to focus on theirs. It’s time for creativity to grow with us, not for us to grow out of it.

“Math and language are important. But what

Senior and Author Summer Sunnock

about the arts?”

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