Go to contents

Creativity and Personality Education

Posted May. 20, 2010 03:03,   


If the 20th century was the age of information, the 21st century is that of creativity. Society needs creative talents with original ideas and excellent problem-solving abilities like Apple founder Steve Jobs. Multiple-choice tests and rote learning based on memorization seem to gauge the ability not to give the wrong answers rather than testing depth of knowledge, and are an anachronistic method of education. At a time when all kinds of information are just a click of the computer mouse away and the life expectancy of data is getting shorter, rote learning has no place to stand.

In ancient times, creativity was viewed as a gift from the gods or an innate talent one was born with. The Greek philosopher Plato said a poet could write only from a muse’s dictation. Plenty of research, however, shows that creativity can be developed through the proper education and training. A remarkable prodigy, the young Mozart`s genius might not come out without the early music education provided by his father.

Creativity does not happen one day or is created in an environment without competition. American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, known for his studies on happiness, interviewed 91 creative people. They gained knowledge in their respective fields and produced a new system of knowledge. The study suggests that accidental discovery and extraordinary intuition is possible only by those who understand the meaning of the discovery and the intuition. A solid base of knowledge is the very best way to creativity.

The Education, Science and Technology Ministry has announced a plan to strengthen creativity and personality education by raising the proportion of essays in overall test scores to 30 percent from the second semester of this year and reducing the amount of study 20 percent from 2014. The ministry cut the amount of study about 30 percent in 2000, however, so the additional cut is causing fears over deterioration of scholastic achievement. Japan had cut the study amount at its schools 30 percent. Japanese students have performed poorly in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) since the cut, however, prompting Tokyo to restore the amount of study to its original level. A reduced amount of study is most likely not directly linked to helping creativity and personality education. In addition, Korea should not mimic Japan’s failure. Greater discretionary power in student evaluations could also lead to more influence from parents.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)