What does it mean to be "educated"? What does it mean to be "intelligent"? Something I have learned to ask my students and other adults around me is, "What kind of intelligent are you?" I learned this from Ken Robinson, because, like Ken, I believe that everyone is intelligent, it just depends on how what you are measuring. If you measured my Math skills instead of my design skills, I would come out very average indeed.
This question, "What kind of intelligent are you?" Is often a surprise to my fine art students. They are not sure what I mean. Usually, it is phrased, "Are you intelligent?" or "How smart are you?" of "What was your ACT score?" Most people, when asked this, immediately think if they are good at Math or Science or English and then will rate themselves about a 6 or 7, or lower. Few will rate it higher.
But, how flawed is this system? How flawed is it to limit our measure of intelligence to these three subjects? What about the dancer, the painter, the photographer, the poet, the biochemist, the drummer, the singer, the interior designer?
This educational system in front of us does NOT help people find their passions, to find what they love to do, in fact, it fights against it most often, and pushes people into careers that are something they end up enduring instead of enjoying.
I am not this teacher.
I tell my intelligent actors (who are living and breathing with passion, but who get VERY little encouragement to actually work in the acting world from anyone close to them. It's always a hobby. Can you imagine if Marlon Brando just kept it as a hobby?) I tell them that if this is what they love to do, then they should do it. Drama is just as important as Math in my world. It was always more important. It's pushed aside, it's looked at as a "fun" class, a play class, an easy class--but not in my classroom. It is a study and it is challenging and it is inspiring. And I love it.
And I would say to you, just like I say to them:
Find what you love to do and do it. Find your element and do it. Most people have not. It is surprising how many people do not do what they love to do. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we were all living in our "intelligence"? It is essential to your well being and your success in life. It is essential to our well being as communities--that is my firm belief.
But for now, it would be fun to know more about you.
What is your intelligence?
(This is the first part in many musings in Creativity in Education!)