How Our Education System Destroys Intelligence

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Ben Cohen
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From an early age, I had the sneaking suspicion that there was something very, very wrong with the education I was receiving. I went to an old fashioned all boys private school (pictured to the right) in the UK from the age of 11-16, and could literally feel the creativity and curiosity being beaten out of me. We had to wear strict uniform, speak a certain way, abide by an insane amount of rules and regulations (stand whenever a teacher came in the room, keep our feet under our desks, tuck our shirts in even during break time etc), go through rigorous academic testing every term and be streamed according to our supposed ability. As a result, I hated every minute of school and developed quite a serious aversion to authority. My behavioural track record at high school was pretty bad (disruptive behavior, answering back to teachers etc), and I left as soon as I passed my national exams aged 16 to go to another far less authoritarian international high school in the States.

My school told me that I was the problem - I was a bad kid with an attitude who did not want to work hard. While there may be certain truths to that, as I get older, I'm more inclined to believe my hostility towards my high school was a direct consequence of the factory like mentality of the education system. It turns out, at least according to creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, that I'm not necessarily wrong: