littlemavis

Little_Mavis' rants and musings


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Things I Don’t Understand #4

There are a couple of huge leaps of logic in the type of education espoused by those who label themselves “Trads”.  If these are actually explained anywhere, I have missed them.

Firstly “In order to be creative, you must first have a thorough knowledge of a subject”

Why? I can see that if you don’t know that someone has already done something you might unknowingly reinvent it. I once accidentally “composed” the opening bars of the Blue Danube, though, in all honesty, I may have done that precisely because I had heard it before. I suppose this is kind of my point. If you have knowledge of a subject, and I don’t mean scientific or mathematical facts here but things like Art or Literature, aren’t you more likely to, maybe subconsciously, reproduce that rather than produce something original?

Please understand. This isn’t an argument against knowledge itself. I’m a big fan. I’ve devoured “knowledge” for as long as I can remember, starting with Arthur Mee’s encyclopediaChildren’s Encyclopaedia when I was very young. I’m just not convinced by the assertion that knowledge must precede creativity.

Secondly, in what way does following rigid instructions to the letter produce self-disciplined young adults?  I was reminded of this after reading this which I found through a tweet from @doxtdatorb. It’s a long read, but worth it.

The part that really struck me was this

Capture

Somehow, the children are expected to transition from complete obedience and habituation to a particular regime to self discipline and questioning at some, unspecified, point. When does this happen? How does this happen. I confess, I’ve always taken exactly the opposite approach when bringing up my own children. They have behaved well because I have explained the need to behave well. I’ve been open to negotiation about rules, though I have always had a few non-negotiables, which means that we understand each other and they understand how to be reasonable and how to check their own behaviour.

There are other things I dislike about this approach, but these two really stand out, mainly because of the logic gap. They assert both of these as facts.

Knowledge must precede creativity

Complete obedience will produce freedom/self-discipline

Without any explanation or logic.

Am I missing something? Am I giving up on reading the articles and blogs too soon? Or are they just committing a sleight of hand and hoping we won’t notice.

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