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Originality vs. Schooling

Originality vs. Schooling

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Published by: Kelsey Chante' Bailey on Mar 01, 2013
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Bailey 1Kelsey BaileyEnglish 1102-111Professor SteeleFebruary 7, 2013Originality vs. Schooling
“Originality is independence, not rebellion; it is sincerity, not antagonism.” George Henry
Lewes, an English philosopher, once said this. I for one believe that curiosity and originality go hand inhand. Curiosity and seeking knowledge is a part of life. Curiosity is required for growth, and growthshows independence. This is where originality comes into play. Growing up in this American society, ourparents instilled in us the importance of being your own person, and to always be original. What if therewas a flaw within that
simple statement, “Be original?” There are some people that believe originality is
in fact not original at all. Others believe that we are trained to not be original at all.
In James E. Porters, “Intertextuality and Discourse Community,” he defines intertextuality as the
principle that all writing a speech-indeed, all signs-arise from a single network. Porter is basically statingthat our ideas steam from one place. We may think our ideas are original, but we may have gotten them
subconsciously from somewhere or someone we don’t even remember. In my dialogic journal, Tonywrote, “Originality
is influenced but never stopped. The world can help you think a certain way but
never claim your idea.” This brings forth a
n even greater question. Do we encourage originality or dowe actually discourage originality? Some people believe whole heartedly that we discourage it.One adamant believer of this is John Gatto. He believes that the disintegration of originalitystarts with our school systems. Gatto
wrote an article titled, “Against Schooling.” I’m sure you could
already guess what the article is about from the title, but Gatto goes on to make valid points. Gatto
 
Bailey 2believes that public school cripples our kids; but how? He proves his case by quoting Mencken stating
that “The aim is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and
train a standardized to put do
wn dissent and originality.” He continues with a quote from HoughtonMifflin saying, “Our schools are…factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped andfashioned…” In Gatto’s mindset, originality is slowly dying and our school system is t
o blame. Because of 
the decline in originality and creativity, “maturity has now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives.” In response to my dialogic journal, Natasha wrote, “Schooling makes individuals to not be
individuals at all, but more of 
a bland group of people who contain no originality.” With originality
basically being frowned upon; is there at least one situation where originality is praised?
In Dyson’s study, she wrote about the originality between two school girls named Tina and
Holly. The two girls wanted to re-write the story of X-Men; but with only girls. I felt that this insert from
Dyson’s book showed some light at the end of tunnel. She actually wrote about a situation whereoriginality is actually encouraged. Tina and Holly’s
teacher, Katie gave her students the ability to expressthemselves through the Author Theater time they had. Steven Strang commented that her study alsoshowed gender barriers/inequalities, leadership, and perseverance. Dyson did an incredible job of proving that there is still some originality being encouraged in schools today.Now I must ask you to think back to a time when your creativity was prohibited in school. I forone have experienced such a thing. Before I started 3
rd
grade, my school sent a letter to my house. Thisletter simply stated that we were now going to be wearing uniforms. At that moment in time I felt likethat was the worst news to receive. I even remember getting in trouble because my hoop earrings weretoo big! To this day I still feel like uniforms are the biggest stifle in school systems today. Some peoplemay fail to see the correlation between physical and intellectual originality, but they are pretty muchone in the same. The way I see it; to be physically original (i.e. clothing) you must think with an original
 
Bailey 3mind (i.e. intellectual originality. It would still work the same way if the situation was switched. To meuniforms are just a minor example of how creativity is stifled in school systems today; and be consideredas only the beginning.Now I leave you with this final question. Is originality becoming a thing of the past? Gattocertainly believes so. According to him standardized testing is another way to keep students down andcausing them to conform into what society wa
nts them to be. If you look at originality from Porter’s
point of view you feel as though originality never really existed. Originality is nothing more than
somebody else’s idea. Does that mean that originality is just a figment of our imaginations? I do b
elievethat there is still some originality out there; but to keep it alive we must begin with our schools.

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