Ken Robinson, author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative and a powerful speaker, has some provocative thoughts on the systemic troubles in education. Here are a few excerpts from his recent talk at the TED conference.
-- "All kids have tremendous talents, and we squander them pretty ruthlessly."
-- "Creativity, now, is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status."
-- "Kids will take a chance...By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. [We stigmatize mistakes.] We're now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. The result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities. Picasso once said that all people are born artists, and the probems is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it, or rather we get educated out of it."
-- "Our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability. The whole system was invented around the world to meet the needs of industrialism...So you were steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that. Isn't that right? Don't do music, you're not going to be a musician. Don't do art, you're not going to be an artist. Benign advice -- now profoundly mistaken."
-- "Academic ability [has] come to dominate our view of intelligence, because the universities designed the system in their image. If you think of it, the whole system of the public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. And the consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they're not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn't valued or was actually stigmatized. We can't afford to go on that way."
-- "We need to radically rethink our view of intelligence...Intelligence is diverse. We think about the world in all the ways we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, we think aesthetically, we think in abstract terms, we think in movement."
[Thanks to my great voice coach Jocelyn Rasmussen for alerting me to Robinson's work.]