Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity
By: Jordan Neely
Ken Robinson discusses how no one knows how the world will be when kids who start school today retire in 2065. No one knows what the world will be like even five years from now, so it is difficult to teach and prepare kids for the world ahead of us that is unknown. He says that creativity is just as important in education as literacy and teachers should treat it equally. I couldn’t agree more. Kids are willing to take a chance; if they don’t know how to do something they will take a chance and try. If you aren’t prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with something original. Kids become afraid of being wrong. Ken tells us that in education now, mistakes are seen as one of the worst things you can make. Therefore, we are educating people out of their creativity. All children are born artist. This means that we grow out of our creativity as we get older because of the education that is given to us. When Ken and his family moved from England to America, he realized how every education system puts English and mathematics at the top and creativity is at the bottom. Dance is not taught as much as mathematics, and it should be. We educate children from the waist up and focus on their heads. The whole purpose of educators nowadays is to create university professors. Typically, professors live only out of their heads. Our education system was invented before the 19-century so it focuses on subjects that would be useful for work, rather than things we enjoy doing. If what you like can’t get you a job, then you aren’t encouraged to focus on it. For instance, don’t do music if you aren’t going to be a musician. This is not true. Some people, who are very creative and great at music or dance, think they aren’t smart. This is because the thing they were good at in school wasn’t valued. Suddenly degrees aren’t worth anything. Back in time, if you had a degree you had a job. Now you have to farther that degree in order to get the job you wanted. People get degrees and move back home and continue on with their lives playing video games because JUST that degree won’t get you anywhere. Now you have to have a Master’s Degree or more to get most desired jobs. ADHD is labeled on several children now. Some children aren’t made to sit still in a desk and be educated. Some are meant to move, dance, and sing! It isn’t that they are sick and need medicine to help them calm down, it’s the fact they are made differently and have different creative interests. We have to celebrate the gift of imagination and allow creativity in the classroom. Our job is to help children make something of their creative ability.
How To Escape Education's Death Valley
By: Kaley McDonald
Ken Robinson is an English author, speaker, and international advisor on education. In this video, he begins by informing his audience that he and his family moved to America twelve years ago and he humorously jokes about, and discusses cultural stereotypes and myths of Americans and the British. He had heard that Americans don't understand irony, but he disagrees with the statement based on the fact that the individual who termed "No Child Left Behind" indeed understands irony because countless children are in fact being left behind. In some parts of the country, 60% of students are dropping out of school and the percentage of the Native American community is at 80. However, the drop rate is only part of the problem. The real issue is that students who are in school don't enjoy it, are not engaged, and are not benefiting from education. Robinson expresses that the reason for this is not because we aren't spending enough money. On the contrary, America spends more money than most countries do on educational purposes and is confronted with infinite suggestions and ideas about how to better our education system. So if the problems can't be mended with more projects, ideas, and money, how will we interest the students and inspire them to learn? Robinson declares that there are three principles on which human life flourishes...
Robinson speaks truth when he says that a real education should provide equality with the STEM disciplines along with the arts, humanities, physical education, and more. Disengagement is blamed abundantly on the disorder titled attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD). Yes, this disorder exists, but labeling it upon every child that seems distracted from school work isn't the answer. Robinson says that the children who display the symptoms of this disorder are, for the most part, suffering from childhood, not a psychological condition. Even as adults, if we are burdened with a continuous, dull task, we tend to become bored, distracted, and fidgety. It is the same, but maybe worse for children. Students enjoy and experience success when offered a broad curriculum that emphasizes their numerous talents and abilities, not just a narrow range of them.
Robinson puts it, "it is the engine of achievement." Inspiring curiosity in your students could be the best gift you give to them. When students are curious, they will learn without any further assistance. Independent learners are developed by teachers who teach learning instead of educated memorization and facts, i.e. "burp-back education." Robinson refers to this in a way that teaching is a creative profession not a delivery system. Teachers need not only pass on received information, but mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage students because in the end education is about learning. The dominant culture has transformed education from learning to testing. Tests are meant to support learning, be helpful, and are sometimes necessary, but they shouldn't control education. Stressing the fact that students need to "learn" an enormous amount of information for the purpose of only a test smothers the flame of curiosity and can develop negative results.
Robinson ends with the purpose of the title of his video. Death Valley is a desert valley located in Eastern California that is the lowest, hottest, and driest area in North America where growth is nonexistant. He explains that nothing grows in this area because it doesn't rain, but in the winter of 2004, Death Valley received seven inches of rain. As a result of that rain, flowers sprouted and flourished in the area during the spring of 2005. This proves that the area isn't dead, it's just dormant. The potential to be great is right underneath the surface, but it needs the right conditions in order for life and growth to be inevitable. As teachers, we must be the rain to the dry soil, exciting the power of imagination, curiosity, and creativity.
Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms
By: Brooklyn Rowland
Everyone says we need to raise the standards. Robinson makes this a joke saying why would we lower them? Raising them only makes sense! Our current education system is designed for a different age, the age of the enlightenment and industrial revolution. He describes our schools as being structured on factory lines. With ringing bells, separated subjects and educating our students in batches. He poses the question, is the most important factor that students have in common their age? We group them based on their date of manufacture. In a world full of computers and video games, 100s of television shows, and iPhones, we have created one of the most boring places for children to be expected to learn. Then we punish these children for getting distracted and not being interested by saying they have ADHD and pumping them full of medication. Robinson talks about the medication we are giving children at such a young age. He says they are anesthetics, medication to shut you down. In all reality all we need to do is wake our students up! Robinson makes it very clear that he is not saying ADHD isn't real, just that it's not an epidemic. I think he wants us to realize that if we just made school more interesting maybe children would need to be so heavily medicated.
I agree with Robinson. Maybe if we made school as fun and interesting as a video game students wouldn't be so distracted and unable to sit still. Maybe they would be as enthralled in class work as they are computers and televisions! It seems that everything goes back to engaging your students. I've mentioned it many, many times before but it is so important. We MUST engage our students in order to have them learn. Burp back education is not something that will be acceptable in my classroom. I want my students to have a desire and a passion for learning! I want them to leave my classroom smarter not because of their grades, but because they actually learned.
Finally, we must change the habits of our institutions and the habitats of them. We can not change education if we do not change the schools. School needs to be stimulating and engaging, not the most boring part of your day. It needs to be a place students want to be, a place they feel comfortable and at home. Most of all it needs to be a place they love. If we can make school a place that our students love to be then we are most definitely on our way to reforming education.