>The ways that Jordan’s schooling kills creativity are insidious. Mind you, I have the Beans at a school that is miles ahead of most. ButterBean has learned to express herself through drama and art. She’s created plays in the classroom to illustrate their science chapter on recycling. In short, they’ve found lots of ways to ensure creativity is in the classroom. And yet, in preparing for the exam session we’ve just finished (finally!), I saw the death of creativity, at least a small one, for her in the Arabic language. It honestly made me want to cry – for her and for Jordan…
In studying for her Arabic exam, one of last chapters had a story about “My trip to the Queen Alia International Airport.” Mind you, they didn’t actually TAKE them to the airport, they just read about it. But on the exam, they had to write a paragraph about it. ButterBean was in tears because she knew there was a right answer, but wasn’t sure what it is. I tried to get her to make up a story using her imagination. She was adamant that it wouldn’t do. She knows there’s a right answer.
But, how could there be a right answer? Why should there be a right answer? If ever there was a place to ensure creativity is in the curriculum, isn’t it when writing a story? Shouldn’t the book be a guide, a jumping off point, a way to spur thought? Apparently not, and my heart cries for ButterBean’s loss. And for our loss as a nation, where we believe that in the most creative of subjects there could ever be a “right” answer. In English, ButterBean still has unlimited creativity and unbridled story-telling skills. But, in Arabic… well, I expect she won’t be another Najib Mahfouz or Khalil Gibran. I only hope that somewhere out there someone will.