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shadow-danceA lot of times the anti-patterns are used because adults have some unexamined beliefs about what is good for the children. This post is about the belief that “when you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more“.

This is the belief that justifies so many teaching strategies (as well as the anti-patterns) we see in schools today, hence it is worth the time to examine it. What do you think about this?

I shall start the ball rolling by sharing an excerpt from Sir Ken Robinson‘s “Out of Our Minds“, 2011 edition (pg 164, 165).

Creativity can be inhibited by the wrong medium. Some years ago, I worked with a very good literary editor on a book I had written. She was an excellent judge of style and added hugely to the quality of the book, as good literary editors should. She told me she had become a literary editor in her forties. Before that she was a concert pianist. I asked why she had changed professions. She said that she had been giving a concert in London with a distinguished conductor. After the concert they had dinner. Over the meal, he mentioned how good her performance had been and she thanked him. “But you didn’t enjoy it, did you?” he said. She was taken aback. This hadn’t occurred to her. She said she hadn’t enjoyed it particularly, but then she never did. He asked why she did it and she said, “Because I’m good at it.”

She explained that she had been born into a musical family. She had taken piano lessons and showed talent; she had gone on to take a music degree, then a doctorate of music and on to a concert career. Neither she nor anyone else had stopped to ask whether she wanted to do this or whether she enjoyed it. She did it because she was good at it. The conductor said, “Being good at something isn’t a good enough reason to spend your life doing it.” In the weeks that followed she wrestled with this idea and concluded that he was right. She finished the season of concerts, closed the piano lid and never opened it again. She turned instead to books, the art form she really loved.

When people find their medium, they discover their real creative strengths and come into their own. Helping people to connect with their personal creative capacities is the surest way to release the best they have to offer.

[photo credit: unknown source from the Internet]