Sir Ken Robinson

The end of this talk (LINK) seems clipped! Ah well. Quick comments. He starts by saying 2 things I don’t buy into about why we need schools 1) “How do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st century?” and 2) “How do we educate our children so they have a sense of cultural identity, so that we can pass on the cultural genes of our communities.”

First of all, I don’t like to think of my kids (or any other, or any people of any age for that matter) as cogs in an economy. Why not restate/reframe this on a personal level — we want our kids to grow up to be happy and effective adults — or something like that? I mean, does anyone send their kids to school because it’s what is best for the economy or the society at large? Probably not common. And 2) I doubt “the culture” would disappear — cultures and societies have existed for millenia without schools.

Now, as to his various points about current schools pumping out standardized kids meant for factory work that doesn’t exist anymore. Sure. But he doesn’t really get into any specific examples for how to solve or reform. Does he? One of the reviews of his book from 2001 — http://www.amazon.com/Out-Our-Minds-Learning-Creative/dp/1907312471/ — says essentially the same thing. (That his ideas for fixing things come at the end, and are very conservative.) Too bad but I guess not surprised. You would think he or his editor would have browsed the list of alternative education models at wikipedia as a place to start in educating himself on whether anyone had any interesting ideas about education in the 21st century!
Any divergent/creative thinkers in the educational model arena itself?!?
(Hint: Sudbury Valley School… founded 1968)

Sounds like yet another case of a entertaining talk or nice magazine article being stretched into a book! I should read it first before commenting. Sorry.

A little(?) better is his 2010 TED TALK (TRANSCRIPT)
where he says:
1. “there is a hunger for videos of me.”
2. that an education revolution is needed (vs reform)
3. that education as it is now is destructive — ” education… dislocates very many people from their natural talents.”
4. there is an obsession with getting people to college
5. having a passion changes everything
5. recognizes that things should be personalized, but is still thinking in terms of teachers and curriculum vs the students themselves doing the personalization (which is strange, since it is at odds with his recognition of the passion/motivation issue)

Books from Sir Ken Robinson:
– Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative 2001
– The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything 2009

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