Children should be allowed to get bored so they can develop their innate ability to be creative, an education expert says. Dr Teresa Belton told the BBC cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.
She quizzed author Meera Syal and artist Grayson Perry about how boredom had aided their creativity as children. Syal said boredom made her write, while Perry said it was a “creative state”.
The senior researcher at the University of East Anglia’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning interviewed a number of authors, artists and scientists in her exploration of the effects of boredom. She heard Syal’s memories of the small mining village, with few distractions, where she grew up.
“Boredom is often associated with solitude and Syal spent hours of her early life staring out of the window across fields and woods, watching the changing weather and seasons. But importantly boredom made her write. She kept a diary from a young age, filling it with observations, short stories, poems, and diatribe. And she attributes these early beginnings to becoming a writer late in life.”
‘Development of creative capacity’
And neuroscientist and expert on brain deterioration Prof Susan Greenfield, who also spoke to the academic, warned that being creative “involves being able to develop internal stimulus.”
“Nature abhors a vacuum and we try to fill it,” she said. “Some young people who do not have the interior resources or the responses to deal with that boredom creatively then sometimes end up smashing up bus shelters or taking cars out for a joyride.”
The academic, who has previously studied the impact of television and videos on children’s writing, said: “When children have nothing to do now, they immediately switch on the TV, the computer, the phone or some kind of screen…” but this “tends to short circuit that process and the development of creative capacity”.
How did you conquer your boredom as a kid? Do you agree that boredom can spur kids into creativity?
Source: Hannah Richardson, BBC News
Image: Child Whisperer