Friday, June 04, 2010

Watching the Death of Creativity... Sigh

The ways that Jordan's schooling kills creativity are insidious. Mind you, I have the Beans at a school that is miles ahead of most. ButterBean has learned to express herself through drama and art. She's created plays in the classroom to illustrate their science chapter on recycling. In short, they've found lots of ways to ensure creativity is in the classroom. And yet, in preparing for the exam session we've just finished (finally!), I saw the death of creativity, at least a small one, for her in the Arabic language. It honestly made me want to cry - for her and for Jordan...

In studying for her Arabic exam, one of last chapters had a story about "My trip to the Queen Alia International Airport." Mind you, they didn't actually TAKE them to the airport, they just read about it. But on the exam, they had to write a paragraph about it. ButterBean was in tears because she knew there was a right answer, but wasn't sure what it is. I tried to get her to make up a story using her imagination. She was adamant that it wouldn't do. She knows there's a right answer.

But, how could there be a right answer? Why should there be a right answer? If ever there was a place to ensure creativity is in the curriculum, isn't it when writing a story? Shouldn't the book be a guide, a jumping off point, a way to spur thought? Apparently not, and my heart cries for ButterBean's loss. And for our loss as a nation, where we believe that in the most creative of subjects there could ever be a "right" answer. In English, ButterBean still has unlimited creativity and unbridled story-telling skills. But, in Arabic... well, I expect she won't be another Najib Mahfouz or Khalil Gibran. I only hope that somewhere out there someone will.

Happy creativity!


At 10:45 PM , Blogger Haitham Seelawi said...

I love Arabic, but I hate its classes! Story telling is a joke when compared to comprehension!!! You should write exactly the same answer that the teacher want or you are getting a big zero!

It is strange, specially when the text was initially written to be interpreted in many different ways!

At 1:21 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Haitham, indeed. And there is the challenge. Thanks for dropping in and giving your thoughts.

At 7:07 AM , Anonymous kinzi said...

Since Najib and Khalil were men, no, she may not be the next of that class.

BUT...reason being, she is a GIRL, and I believe she will bring such a cool angle on the future from her femininity that she just may excel them both in impact.

God has plans for that girl :)

(sad with you about that homework, though, I had similar talks with Project Boy, he would be sure there was no answer but the teacher-approved answer)

At 12:18 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Kinz, indeed. I just have a sense that her world will be an English-speaking world of creativity. But maybe, with continued focus on outside works it will come. She DID wrtie a super-cute story about loving to visit TetaBean.


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