Do we teach originality?

Interesting to see a comment about creativity by Cynthia Hall, Headmistress of Wycombe Abbey Girls’ School, in a piece in the Daily Telegraph yesterday (“A-levels crush creativity, says top head”).

Her point is that the Internet means that it is now all too easy to find out how to pass exams. Models answers are readily available, so students simply follow the rules to achieve top grades. However, creativity and originality may be declining as a result.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend who teachers building and construction in Sydney. He said that it’s now possible for students to ask for “marking criteria” and they follow these to get top grades. However, the criteria are also used by teachers marking papers, with the result that there is now no room to mark up someone that answers a question in an original manner. These days an original answer simply gets a fail.

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