Creativity In Education
After reading the essay by Freire and the essay by Rodriquez, you might develop the opinion that Freire and Rodriquez have different views on the importance of creativity in education; however, you would be wrong. In all actuality, Freire and Rodriquez share a core understanding that creativity is a vital component of education, but they do differ in how they go about in declaring that creativity is important. Freire clearly states that creativity is important; Rodriquez is more subtle in disclosing to you that creativity is important. Without reading the Rodriquez essay meticulously, you might not pick up on the hints that he left behind.
In the essay “The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education” Paulo Freire clearly states that without creativity education isn’t worth much. The banking style of education is to submit to the will of your teacher without questioning what they are trying to impose upon you. Paulo Freire goes as far as comparing the banking style of education to captors programming slaves. Without creativity, you do not know why or how something works. You may know that the sun produces a lot of heat or that it takes eight minutes for light from the sun to reach Earth; however, you can’t say why it takes eight minutes for light from the sun to reach Earth. The only way to gain true knowledge of something is through the use of dialogue.
“Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with students-teachers. The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow.” This quote that Paulo Feire used in his essay is a perfect way of showing just how important Paulo Freire believed creativity to be. Dialogue is an exchange of ideas between the one being taught and the teacher. Through this form of communication, both the teacher and the student grows. By using dialogue, you are able to understand that it takes eight minutes for sunlight to reach us because when you factor in the speed of light and the distance we are from the sun you get eight minutes. Critical thinking is creativity, and creativity in turn leads to true understanding. With dialogue and creativity, even the most uneducated can be educated.
In his essay, Paulo Freire mentions a peasant in Chile who, upon being asked rather or not the world could exist without mankind, said that the world is only a world because mankind is here to call it a world. Even though Earth would still have trees, animals, water, air, and other components that make up the world, there would be no consciousness that would be able to call it a world. Without this same consciousness that leads us to calling the world a world, education without consciousness isn’t an education. This peasant (as Paulo Freire said about him in his essay) had no where near the education that some of his peers might have had, yet he was able to answer the question better than most could have. The banking style of education kills consciousness. Consciousness is the key that we must use when we open the door of education. Consciousness is the ability to critically think about what you are learning; consciousness is creativity, and creativity is the most important component of education. The peasant in this essay was conscious, and because of it, he was able to answer this question better than most.
Richard Rodriquez believes that creativity is an important component of education, yet doesn’t want to admit to you or to himself that creativity is important. There are however certain clues in his paper that would rightfully lead you to believing that education is important. Rodriquez makes it crystal clear that he was taught under the banking style of education, (keeping in mind that the banking style of education kills creative thinking) and, because of the way he was taught, Rodriquez admits to us that he was in fact a bad student. Rodriquez was a mimic of what his teachers imposed upon him. He had no opinions that he could call his own, all that he knew was what his teachers knew. Rodriquez stated that when he sat down to write a term paper, all that he could come up with was feeble sentences. Rodriquez was able to articulate that he was a bad student because he had no creative ideas of his own.
Education had completely changed the person that Richard Rodriquez once was. The banking-style of education was like a disease that Richard Rodriquez caught unwillingly, but once he caught it there was nothing he could do to cure it. Education started out as a way for Rodriquez to humiliate his parents for making him go to school; Rodriquez would rush home so he could correct his parent’s grammatical mistakes. Rodriquez soon grew away from that, and allowed himself to be slept away into the quite loneliness of reading.
Richard Rodriquez would ask his teachers for books to read. He would read the books then find out what his teacher had to say about the book, taking his teacher’s opinion as his own. As the years flew by, Rodriquez grew more and more distance from his past life. Rodriquez began to lose all traces of his Spanish heritage. He began to speak with an English accent among other changes. The lack of creativity in his education had made Rodriquez into nothing more than a mimic of what his teachers had instilled upon him.
In his essay, Rodriquez states that his brother and sister were just as successful as he, yet they weren’t into reading like he nor were they anywhere near as isolated from their parents. This is another clue that Rodriquez believes that creativity is an important part of education. Rodriquez grew to hate the fact that he had nothing in common with his parents; that he couldn’t simply talk to them, walk with them, or even find anything he had in common with them. In short, Rodriquez realized that education had taken away all traces of his past life, all forms of creativity that he might have had, and any chance of regaining the ability to walk in an Eden that he had never walked.
Near the end of his education, Rodriquez realized that education without creativity is a miseducation. Rodriquez begins to hate the cold silence that education brought upon him and upon others who were just like him. Rodriquez would sit across from the same people day in and day out, yet they wouldn’t be able to say a single word to one another. When Rodriquez would go to shop, all that he would be able to say was short simple sentences. Education without any creative thoughts had completely destroyed Rodriquez.
Paulo Feire and Richard Rodriquez have two completely different ways of showing that creativity is important. Paulo Feire is straight to the points and tells us that creativity is education. Richard Rodriquez lets us know that creativity is important through several clues. The biggest clue is the fact that Richard Rodriquez calls his own education a miseducation. If Rodriquez’s education was a miseducation, then the banking style he was taught under is wrong. Rodriquez’s education was a miseducation therefore the banking-style has to be wrong. If the banking-style is wrong, then the problem-posing style is right.
On the outside looking in, Paulo Freire and Richard Rodriquez may seem to have different views on the importance of creativity in education, but appearances are sometimes deceiving. Paulo Freire and Richard Rodriquez share the same belief that creativity is a vital component of education; however, Richard Rodriquez doesn’t want us to know that creativity is important. Paulo Freire is quick and straight to the point that education without creativity is not an education. By comparing the banking-style of education to slavery and using the peasant from Chile as examples, Paulo Freire makes a very convincing argument that problem-posing and dialogue is the path to true education. Richard Rodriquez is more subtle in his attempt at showing that creativity is important. Throughout the course of his education, Richard Rodriquez slowly comes to terms with the facts that his education was in fact a miseducation. By saying that his siblings were just as successful as he and saying that his own education was wrong, Richard Rodriquez unwillingly admits that creativity is important. Richard Rodriquez almost climbs the slope of his education, coming just close enough to regret being taught under the banking-style of education but doesn’t admit he regrets it; it’s almost like he’s ashamed to admit that creativity is important.