Certain individuals readily express themselves in a crowd given an opportunity,while certain others hold themselves back for lack of confidence,or for lack of adequate communication skills. Some individuals do not have the will to communicate,or simply, they are just feeling lazy to do so.( Typical Classroom setting?)
Where does this difference in individuals arise,in the degree of willingness to speak out in a crowd, in the manner in which they carry themselves on stage - i could reach only one logical conclusion(not a critical analysis by any standards,just expanding on the instinct)-the focal point -where attitudes are formed,perceptions are shaped,opinions take hold- our Schools.
Which reminds me of some of the phrases, repeated countless number of times by the teachers in the classroom,especially in the primary and secondary classes :
"Shhhh! Finger on your lips" - early primary :)
"Fold your hands and sit quietly! " - primary :|
"Stand up on the bench! " - upon not folding hands and sitting quietly :x - Primary,Secondary
"Repeat after me" - learning 'memory' poems :( - Primary,Secondary
"Copy what is on the board onto your notes!" - Primary,Secondary,High School, Engineering! :'( :'(
The Killer Line.
Teachers here try to control the class,and the emphasis is on inculcating obedience,and no encouragement for expressing yourself,thus turning down the natural enthusiasm for curiosity and inquisitiveness. Repeated over time, it kills the energy and the will for most students to participate actively in classroom discussions, effectively ending self expression and hence stopping the fuel for individual creativity.
No wonder college classrooms are the way they are,and no wonder placement training is all about getting us to talk and to express,and more importantly, to communicate to an audience- trying to take off the blanket of inhibition,trying to give spark to that instinct which had rusted due to the 10 years of very limited use. Western ideals appreciate individuality,being different from the crowd, and schools over there give space for participation,encourage your touch in what ever you do.
Sadly,even in my engineering studies, the emphasis was never on individual touches,nor was there any scope for thinking out of the textbook,leave alone implementation,save some programming assignments.
"Do the assignments on your own!" , the professors would tell us. Which actually means "Dont copy from others".
The Others would do the assignments on their own , which actually stands for the effort they took for plagiarizing. Assignments were almost always plagiarized, having been lifted directly from books or from the internet. The teachers would not mind it,and it would be awarded an A for their original work.
Some avenue for breakthrough innovation huh?
As one of my prof (prof. emeritus,one of the best btw,who taught us quantum physics) lamented,most breakthrough innovations have come from students from America,Europe or Japan.
Schools are the place to start ? I'd say yes. Needs a fundamental paradigm shift.