Artificial intelligence: the creative edge

How should schools respond to the AI revolution in the workplace? Alex Soulsby calls for a greater focus on the arts to help students thrive by developing skills involving creativity, critical thinking, adaptability and emotional intelligence.

More than 20 years ago, the educational reformist Sir Ken Robinson shone a bright and powerful light on the importance of creativity in education with the publication of his book Out of our minds: learning to be creative. Robinson argued that creativity is as important as literacy and should be treated with the same status in education. He challenged the traditional system, suggesting that it was too focused on conformity and standardisation, and made a case for a more personalised approach to learning that encourages creativity and innovation.

A good 100 years before Robinson was calling for reform, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, a Swiss educator, was emphasising the importance of arts and creativity in education, rightly believing that they were crucial for developing children’s emotional and social wellbeing, as well as their cognitive abilities.

I am incredibly sympathetic to the positions of both Robinson and Pestalozzi, as a child who excelled in the arts in my schooling and yet struggled with the conformist and standardised nature of education. I’m still baffled as to why many schools fail to understand the value of an arts-rich curriculum and why most education systems insist on narrowing our understanding of intelligence to that of academic success.

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