We hear a lot from politicians and education reformers about teaching kids to be creative. Learn to be innovative. Helping them develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Teaching them “how to fail”.

However, in the real world creative results come from experimentation. Innovators are those who do something different with familiar parts and processes. Failure results when trying something other than a prescribed recipe, then learning how to fix it.

And these are all things schools largely discourage in students, even punish them for on occasion.

If kids ask questions in class, we expect them to ask the right ones, or at least the ones we anticipated in the lesson plans.

In the world of school math there’s one “right” answer. Science classroom experiments have one established conclusion. The writings of Shakespeare, as presented in English texts, have a single set of interpretations. In music everyone sings from the same score.

Since the over-riding goal of most schools is the highest passing rate possible on the annual standardized tests, when are students allowed to be creative or innovative (something I think is a natural instinct, not learned)? How can they experiment in the learning process if everything is prescribed for them?

When do they learn “how to fail” when we have already decided on the “intervention” process if they do?