Stifling Creativity

3252444In the movie Detachment (2011), the character of Meredith is one of the troubled students featured in the film. She is portrayed as a tremendously talented student, with few friends and clearly suffering from depression. We get a glimpse into her life at home, hearing her argue with her father who would rather she focus on topics that will “get her places” or “make her money.” Her artwork and photography was seen by her father as more of a distraction than a talent. These characters exist in some form at any given time in the classroom. What interests me upon reflection of the events that transpired in the film is how a student can reach a point of such desperation, and if as teachers we can intervene and prevent such tragic events from happening.

Brown, . P. U. (2005), 7. The Shadow Curriculum. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 104: 119–139. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7984.2005.00008.x

This article describes the shadow curriculum that represents all that is taught to students that may be hidden or taught without purposeful intention and that isn’t in the approved curriculum. These ideas could be teaching about one population and excluding another in the process. The main focus of this article brings forth the idea of advertising in the classroom. Are we as teachers unintentionally selling a product to students while teaching? While trying to think of ways we are being advertised to in our school, the one product that comes to mind is Google. Even mentioning it in this article is a mild form of advertising. Expanding their brand recognition. Their services are provided free of charge and permeate every format of online use within the school. Using e-mail, doing research, collaborating on projects. The brand is being continuously advertised. And how they make their money? Through advertising.

There are so many other forms of marketing in our schools, and are often intertwined with more direct financial matters. Using a specific brand that will help fund school activities for example seems necessary to keep a school functional, but what is lost when there is financial gain? I believe it stifles creativity. We are eager to jump to more financially viable solutions rather than thinking outside the box, which is exactly what we are supposed to be teaching our students. This balance must always be considered and including students in the discussion to open their eyes to the shadow curriculum.

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