Episode 54 Creativity and the need for an Education Revolution – A tribute to Sir Ken Robinson

In this episode Dan gives tribute to Sir Ken Robinson by looking at his TED talks and the call to an education revolution.

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Do Schools Kill Creativity? – 2006

Nobody has any idea…what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet, we’re meant to be educating [students] for it.

All kids have tremendous talents, and we squander them, pretty ruthlessly.

Kids come to school happy to take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go.

Schools stigmatize mistakes… We need to encourage mistakes, encourage risk taking and help our students understand that when they come into our class it is time to

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” – Miss frizzle

We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or, as Ken stated, we get educated out of it.

The whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. This has resulted in many thinking they’re not good at anything, because the thing they were good at wasn’t valued.

And I think we can all agree that we can’t afford to go on that way.


Intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct

We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement.

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value and comes through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.

Check out episode 50 integrating curriculum.

Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we mine the earth for a particular commodity, which in education is science, maths, or language… This cannot serve us in our future.

Instead, our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face their unknown future which we may not see, but they will.

Bring on the learning revolution – 2010

Continuing from his first talk he talks about human resources like natural resources; in that they’re buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.

What we need… is not evolution, but a revolution in education. What we have has to be transformed into something else.

He has identified that we are enthralled with the idea of linearity: that it starts here and you go through a track and if you do everything right, you will end up set for the rest of your life. It is about conformity BUT

life is not linear; it’s organic. There is a situation in which learning occurs just like how you grow food, not like a fast food chain

We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.

Success comes when we customizing to our circumstances and personalize education
That, is the answer to the future because it’s not about scaling a new solution; it’s about creating a movement in education in which people develop their own solutions

If we combine technologies with the extraordinary talents of teachers, we can revolutionize education. This is vital, not just for teachers and our education systems, but to the future of our children.

Every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.

How to escape education’s death valley – 2013

Focuses more on what we can do!
there are hundreds of initiatives every year to try and improve education. The trouble is, it’s all going in the wrong direction.

Human beings are naturally different and diverse. But schools focus on conformity that whole fast food approach.

Kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of them. And I love this because I would argue it applies to physical education as well but the arts aren’t just important because they improve math scores. They’re important because they speak to parts of children’s being which are otherwise untouched.

If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn without any further assistance. Children are natural learners and curiosity is the engine of achievement.

There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools. But teaching is a creative profession

We don’t just teach to get good results in tests… we also mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage…The whole point of education is to get people to learn.

The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. That’s it.

The problem is, the dominant culture of education focuses on testing NOT learning!…

Standardized tests should not be the dominant culture of education. They should be diagnostic… but it should not hinder learning.

All the high performing systems in the world:

  1. individualize teaching and learning.
  2. attribute a very high status to the teaching profession and invest in professional development
  3. devolve responsibility to the school level for getting the job done.

You take an area, a school, a district, you change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft spring to life.

We need a movement with enough people that is becomes a revolution!

Italicised words are quotes from Ken’s 3 talks.


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