What Not To Do #1

Teacher : What are you drawing?

Little girl: I’m drawing a picture of God.

Teacher: But, nobody knows what God looks like..

Little girl: They will in a minute.


Dear Blog,

This is one of my favorite stories and it is from Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ talk.

I know you are just a blog, but have you ever wondered why we don’t get the best out of people? In that talk I mentioned above, Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

After watching the video, I promised myself not to let it happen with me. I promised myself to encourage my students to think out of the box, to give them the freedom to express themselves and such things that lead you the way to the creativity..

And honestly I’ve been good at this so far.. But.. the other day while I was walking along the corridor at the school, I saw this poster which reminded me an incident happened 2 months ago.

The topic was ' My hero can../can not...'

And this is our story with my little girl..


Teacher- (Me) : So this baby can lift a car but she can not go to WC?

Little girl: Yes, she can’t also talk.

Teacher- (Me) : But ..umm.

Little girl : But you said we could write whatever we wanted to..


And she was right. I had nothing to say.. And at that very moment I remembered Sir Robinson’s talk..

What was I doing?! Just because I think it is weird or not possible, I can’t tell that it can not BE..

Dear blog, why did I share this one with you? Well.. the answer is quite easy. I want you to remind me to LET my students be creative..

This is the last week of the winter holiday and next week we will start the second term. I’ve been searching online and reading some books to do some extra and fun activities with my young learners. I was so concentrated on ‘WHAT TO DO’ and that made me forget about the ‘WHAT NOT TO DO‘ part..

But the poster.. It played its role just on time before the term started and now I will more concentrate on what not to do..

Well, I guess this is it..

Good night, don’t let the bedbugs bite!


If you haven’t yet, here is the animated work of the talk.. Fantastic!

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow. Funny how often we fail to follow our own advice, or second-guess how we did something. I’m sure most of us try to do our best most of the time, but we come to the classroom with our beliefs, our experiences as students (both bad and good) and we too have a hard time thinking out of the box when it comes down to it. Sounds like you have a good perspective on this, Nihal. Thanks for the post. -Brad

  2. Merve Oflaz says:

    Great post Nihal!
    Teachers are affecting students not only with their words but also with their mimes and gestures. Even a look can cause a trouble in the little hearts of the kids or that can help catch the sparkle. Wishing not to kill any piece of creativity…

  3. Dear Merve and Brad..
    Thank you for your comments! All so true..
    I am sure we all try to do our best all the time..still, there are times we fail..
    But I believe as long as we recognise what we do wrong, it is easy to make up for it🙂

  4. Great post Nihal

    I love this tale from the classroom and it is so poignant in relation to Ken Robinson’s video. I find it sad that when you visit classrooms where the children are very young, 5 or 6 years old, they are filled with pictures, objects, colour but when you go into a classroom for older children the rooms become bare, sterile, clinical. This is visual observation I think illustrates what happens in education where the children have creativity educated out of them. Do you see this in Turkish school classrooms Nihal?

  5. As you said, when they are younger, they have those pictures, posters and all those colorful stuff in the classroom. Because we know that the visuality is important in learning. But somehow we also believe that people- as they get older- lose this visual learning.. But who told that to us?

    And yes, it is unfortunately the same in Turkey, but I believe this is the same case in every part of the world.. What do you think? Do you see it in English school classrooms as well Richard?🙂

  6. Reblogged this on ELTbites and commented:
    I’ve just discovered the ‘reblog’ option on WordPress and I’m sure Nihal won’t mind my reblogging one of her great posts🙂

    1. Thank you Richard! You may want to know that you just made my day!🙂

  7. Thanks for the post Nihal,

    I think it is important that you have talked about ‘what not to do’ as much as ‘what to do’. Sometimes I think it is as important not to kill the creativity, eagerness, motivation as to actually teach something. If students leave the room wanting to come back to the next class then learning will take care of itself to some extent.


  8. Hello, Stephen and thank you for the comment!🙂
    I do agree with you it is important if students leave the room wanting to come back to the next class. That’s the dream of every teacher I guess🙂

    And I’ve just checked your website http://www.tmenglish.org/
    Will have a better look soon..


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