Yeah, my kids got colouring books and enjoyed using them. They also did a lot of other creative, artsy stuff, and still do. They both attended a performing arts school for high school. I don't think colouring between the lines as kids throttled the creativity out of them.
I don't think it is the coloring in the lines that throttles the creativity out of them, it is the mthodology used to teach it. The idea that coloring outside the lines is WRONG or "bad". The idea that a child is behind and needs to do extra work outside of class (rather than playing) to catch up to their peers' ability to color in the lines.
It's not the activity, it's the pressure and total lack of differentiation for different output, talents, and skills. It is the close-minded way in which the children who do not color in the lines are criticized by those who want them to.
For me that has always been the big objection, not the request that my children do so, but the way it was used as a measuring stick for their value in the classroom community. It is the total lack of tolerance for different strengths and weaknesses, and different skills and talents that frustrates me.
ETA: As an educator, I feel it is simply poor practice to offer only one way of expressing a knowledge or skill and rubbishing one's attempts at an assessment activity with which they are uncomfortable and perhaps merely inept at completing. A teacher should always have multiple ways of forming and assessing skills, and never rely on the output of ONE activity to measure a student's progress.
Edited by hakeber - 10/30/11 at 8:17am