Homework stifles creativity (4/11/2000)

by Jonathan Deutsch

My senior year in high school was one of the most creative years of my life as I felt my computer graphics and especially computer science skills were outgrowing that of a student and into a that of a professional. As such, I did as little homework as possible.

In my honors physics class that year, we would have “Homework Quizzes,” where the teacher would put put the numbers of homework questions on the board, and all we had to do was copy them from our completed assignment to prove we had done it. Naturally, I only had time to do one out of eight problems in the few minutes of class, so I thought I might try to score a few points for being clever. Here’s what I wrote instead as the rest of the class furiously copied (the teacher’s comments are in red):

I have done considerable research on the matter, and the evidence leads me to conclude that homework stifles creativity. Homework is a structured, monotonous, plug-and-chug activity that promotes narrow-minded thinking among students. If I were to spend my time doing homework, I would not be able to contribute to the world with my computer science efforts. In fact, doing homework would cripple my brain into thinking un-creatively. Without my creativeness, I would not be able to program our brave new world that the earth is about to embark on. I would also be unable to write this create letter (although I wouldn’t have a need for this letter, but that’s beyond the point!). 🙂 Creativity is what allows a society to flourish and grow. Homework cuts into that by unexercising the mind. It’s like a muscle: if you don’t use it, it won’t stay the same, it will grow weaker. I am trying to use my brain in a way to help society, can you condemn me for that? Well, actually…

No points were awarded for cleverness :-(.