Degas Collaborative Blog Post: What Can We Learn From Ken Robinson?
Changing Education Paradigms
In the first video Ken Robinson opened our eyes to the injustice that is taking place thanks to the current system of education. Ken states that todays education system was designed for another time period. The current education system was created in the intellectual culture of the enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the industrial revolution and you can see evidence of it through every aspect of the system. Schools are like factory lines. Ringing bells have conditioned students to know when to change class, schools have separate sections for each individual subject, and students are classified by their age instead of their academic level. A result of the system is we have "smart" people and "non smart" people, or at least thats how people are viewed. The consequence of this has been many brilliant people questioning their intelligence. ADHD has risen with the growth of standardized testing and Ken Robinson doesn't believe it's a coincidence. Sure some people may have ADHD, but is there really anything wrong with students being outgoing and energetic? We agree with Robinson that the issue is boring teaching. In the book Breakpoint and Beyond we see that the more a student is "educated" the more their capacity for divergent thinking decreases. If we really care about our students we have to change. Change may be scary, but it beats the burden of staying the same.
How to Escape Education's Death Valley
In the second video we learn that Death Valley isn't dead, it's dormant. Underneath the surface there is potential. Ken Robinson gives us a tremendous amount of advice that can lead American schools out of the "Death Valley" they are currently in. The three things that are important for human flourishing are the keys to improving the culture of education. The first thing is we must remember that human beings are naturally different and diverse. Ken Robinson is quick to point out that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is irony at it's best. Education under NCLB is based on conformity when it should be based on diversity. Students are diverse and they prosper best under a broad curriculum. The second thing that is important is curiosity. Our job as teachers is really easy if we can spark curiosity. Once curiosity is sparked children are natural learners. Great teachers mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage their students. Ultimately, education is about learning. The whole point of being a teacher is getting students to learn. If our future students don't learn it's our fault. In our current culture, teachers are more concerned with test results than curiosity. Testing has a role in education, but it shouldn't dominate education. The infatuation with test results could be the biggest problem with our current system of education. The third key to human flourishing is creativity. Human life is inherently creative. Imagination and creativity is a unique trait of human beings. It's our role as educators to awaken these powers in our students. The problem is in our current culture of education students are becoming standardized. Everyone of us who will become teachers has the ability to change this culture of education. The question is do we care? If we do care about our students we will break away from the current system.
How Schools Kill Creativity
In the final video Ken Robinson discusses some issues he has with the current culture of education dealing with student's creativity. Robinson states that creativity is just as important as literacy. The problem is schools are instilling fear in students. Students are so afraid of being wrong that they get in a quite bubble. People who are afraid of being wrong will never come up with anything original. Children naturally aren't frightened of being wrong, but after years of schooling this capacity is diminished. We have to change this by creating an atmosphere where students can be who they are. Sir Ken Robinson also asks why certain subjects (like Math) are treated with higher regard than others (like dance). Not every student is going to be a college professor. Intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct. In todays society a degree in a popular course of study doesn't equate to a job anymore. We must rethink the way we educate. We must consider the whole being of a student, not just certain areas.