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Study Reveals Education System is Stifling Creativity

By Carletta
June 26th, 2013

Parents and Educators Call for a Transformative Change to the Current Curriculum, Voicing a Need for More Creativity
Testing and government mandates are stifling creativity in the classroom, according to parents and educators surveyed in new research released today by Adobe. The international study, “Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System,” indicates there is a growing concern that the education system itself is a barrier to developing the creativity that drives innovation. Further, parents and educators are strongly aligned in their concerns that today’s education system places too much emphasis on testing and not enough investment in teaching creativity, pointing to a need for transformative change in standard curricula.
A total of 4,000 adults, including 2,000 educators and 2,000 parents of students in K-12 and higher education, across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia, an internationally representative sample, were surveyed. The study reveals that a strong majority of teachers and parents believe fostering creativity in education requires a transformation in the way schools work:
• US: 87 percent parents and 86 percent educators
• UK: 87 percent parents and 68 percent educators
• Germany: 84 percent parents and 70 percent educators
• Australia: 85 percent parents and 69 percent educators

“Currently, as students move from K-5 to grades 6-12 and on to higher education, creativity is increasingly treated as a specialized skill,” said Tacy Trowbridge, worldwide manager of education programs at Adobe. ”Educators and parents see that the demand for creativity and creative thinking is growing – to solve complex problems and to drive future economies – yet students are less prepared to lead the innovation of tomorrow.”
Across the board, educators agree that they can do more to foster creativity (87 percent U.S., 65 percent U.K., 71 percent Germany and 70 percent Australia), but they need more tools and training to help integrate creativity in the classroom. U.S. respondents cite a lack of resources (56 percent) and belief that the current education system doesn’t value creativity (54 percent) as the top two reasons educators struggle to incorporate creativity into the classroom. In comparison, respondents from international markets believe it’s the role of other educators, meaning it’s not necessarily their responsibility (45 percent U.K., 47 percent Germany and 51 percent Australia) and a lack of resources (37 percent U.K., 36 percent Germany and 44 percent Australia).
When asked about the most important step to promote and foster creativity in education, U.S. respondents cited the need to:
• Provide tools and training to teach creativity (31 percent parents, 28 percent educators)
• Make creativity integral to the curriculum (22 percent parents, 26 percent educators)
• Reduce mandates that hinder creativity (16 percent parents, 20 percent educators)

The top reasons from international respondents include:
• Improve the curriculum (U.K.: 18 percent parents, 25 percent educators; Germany: 22 percent parents, 25 percent educators; Australia: 21 percent parents, 23 percent educators)
• Provide tools and training to teach creativity more effectively (U.K.: 22 percent parents, 21 percent educators; Germany: 20 percent parents, 25 percent educators; Australia: 23 percent parents, 21 percent educators)
• Make creativity integral to the curriculum (U.K.: 19 percent parents, 21 percent educators; Germany: 25 percent parents, 16 percent educators; Australia: 19 percent parents, 20 percent educators)

About the “Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System” Study
The data points referenced above come from a study commissioned by Adobe, produced by research firm Edelman Berland and conducted as an online survey among a of total of 4,000 adults, including 2,000 educators of students in K through higher education and 2,000 parents of children in K through higher education, including 1,000 each in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. The survey was fielded between Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 and Friday, March 8, 2013. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percent.

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Carletta