Old ways of teaching must change

All the talk about "daring to fail" and "thinking out of the box" leaves me wondering who is going to teach it all to our young ("How creativity gets schooled out of us"; May 24).

Teachers are, after all, cut from the same old cloth. At best, many replicate the teaching styles they observed when they were children.

Back then, teachers were revered, if not feared. They ruled by the cane and imparted the way of rote. A "good" student was one who toed the line.

What about those who stepped out of line? They were the "troublemakers", with their hair, shoes, gutter pants and ankle socks.

Was it possible to be creative in a highly regimented environment where daring to be different gets snubbed out quickly? It was safer to play it safe.

The system was, perhaps, designed to celebrate mediocrity.

Statistically, we build things around the mean and cater to the 60 per cent who gather around the mean.

Outliers at the tail ends of the distribution are too difficult to reach, if not too few, to be worth our bother. In a way, they, too, have stepped out of line.

It takes great determination to be creative in such an environment. Why take the risk to be creative when one can live a cushy life by being a hired hand in a multinational corporation?

But times have changed. Unless we break from the old norms, we will still be singing the same old song.

Lee Teck Chuan