What can be learned from Sir Ken Robinson?
By Ronald Griffin, Eric Merryman and Cameron Hall
How to Escape Death Valley by Ronald Griffin
Sir Ken Robinson goes over some great learning points in the video How to Escape Education’s Death Valley. Ken believes the educational system is broken in America and offers several reasons why. Ken’s first reason is the educational system is about conformity. He highlights the No Child Left Behind Act as an example of this. The No Child Left Behind Act focuses on conformity with testing, and Ken says this directly clashes with the human attribute of diversity. He says education should celebrate all the different kinds of talents and diversity each student brings to the table, and not just shove each student into the tight box of standardized testing.
The next reason Ken gave for the failed educational system is lack of curiosity. He rightly points out that if students’ curiosity could be better sparked, then learning would skyrocket. Tapping into the interests and talents of each student is a way to reach their curiosity. Curiosity then leads to self motivated learning, which can be one of the most effective forms of learning.
Ken defined the third reason as a lack of creativity. He says creativity is the reason humans are so diverse and interesting. If creativity isn’t used in education, we are all selling ourselves short. Ken says the top educational systems individualize learning and promote creativity among students. Creativity should never be overlooked. So many everyday situations hinge on creativity. For example, if one is half way done cooking dinner and realize they are missing an ingredient, creativity comes into play. They then have to use some creativity to replace the missing ingredient and still make the meal taste good. School is the perfect place to facilitate creative growth.
In the end, Ken relates the American educational system to Death Valley, CA. Both the educational system and Death Valley are not dead, rather dormant and with the proper nourishment they can be fruitful. Promoting individualized learning, creativity for both students and teachers, and curiosity is Ken’s formula to bettering a dormant educational system.
Changing Educational Paradigms By Eric Merryman
What we can learn from Sir Ken Robinson in the video “Changing Education Paradigms” is that the world has changed since when educational institutes were thought up and embedded into our lives. Now that the world has changed since then, so should education. We shouldn’t devalue what we see as non-academic, we shouldn’t lie to students saying that a college degree guarantees you a job, we shouldn’t separate our kids by all of these classifications we have them in right now. Sir Ken Robinson believes we should encourage our students, wake them up and excite them.
Sir Ken Robinson states that there is a consensus that there is an ADHD epidemic, but he believes that there is no epidemic. He states that we live in a world filled with distractions that are meant to distract us, and expect our kids to focus onto something that is boring. So boring in fact, that what we focus onto devalues our divergent thinking. Divergent thinking stated in the video is the ability to think of multiple possibilities for answers, whereas in school we are taught there is only one answer, that it is in the back of the book, and to not look, else we are deemed cheaters. Children in kindergarten are genius level divergent thinkers and as they grow older they become less of a divergent thinker. This is bad because it is an anesthetic experience, shutting our senses off. We need to have aesthetic ways of thinking, where our senses are at their peak, and by being a divergent thinker is a way of telling where we are having an aesthetic experience.
In the video he states that the current education paradigm is a myth, just that we are blind to seeing it that way. He says in the last part of the video that we must think differently about human capacity, and I agree. Education is not something that can be industrialized anymore, but should rather be more individualistic and personal.
The Importance of Creativity by Cameron Hall
In the Ted Talks video: How Schools Kill Creativity Ken Robinson talks about how creativity is lacking in our education systems throughout the world for both students and teachers. The first part, he talks about is that education is what is taking us into the future and a lot of people cannot grasp that. The second part he talks about is the unpredictability of education. How are we to teach our students preparing them for the future, when we as teachers do not even know what things are going to be like ourselves? I personally think this is one of the greatest questions we have to ask ourselves when we teach. The third part he talks about is our students capacity for innovation. I think this is mainly where their creativity has the biggest growing point. Robinson explains that schools can take away from the natural talent, innovation and creativity our students possess.
“Creativity is as important in our education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” Robinson says that students are not afraid of being wrong, but teachers can sometimes relate “wrong” to being creative. His statement is that wrong is not always bad. Wrong creates some type of originality. In my opinion, as adults we need that really just for growing pains. Robinson also says that we criticize and critique mistakes instead of building on them. In turn we are educating people out of their creative capacities. When we take the creativity out of our students at a young age, it is removed and typically never gained back as they grow older. We get “educated out of it,” Robinson says.
Robinson says we think about the world visually, kinestically, and sound. Intelligence is dynamic and covers all movements. Acknowledging multiple types of education is apart of the creativity we have as teachers. He says we need to pass that along to our students and cultivate creativity. In order to teach our students we need to rethink our teaching processes. Our education does not need to take away from the individuality, creativity, or originality each student possesses. Stripping our students of their natural talents is not the way to go. As teachers we need to build on those talents, influence originality and let our students be creative in their intelligence. We have to teach for the unpredictable future and by doing so create students and adults that can adapt to any and every situation they can encounter.