TED Talk Tuesday: Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

School is structured. There’s a curriculum everyone must pass. There’re benchmarks that are standardized by the state. But some students get an individualized education program. Who are these lucky few? These are the ones who cannot perform at the predetermined levels. The misfits.

Schools don’t reward creativity. They reward assimilating. Ken Robinson says our students are being educated using principles from yesteryear, when our population needed to be prepared for the industrial revolution. Today, we can see that the only industry left in this country is the service industry, and it’s not a field that most people want to work in. Seth Godin observes that new careers are not with a corporation, but in creating your own niche. It’s an empowering time of change in the US, but it is also stressful. Godin agrees:

“Stressful? Of course it is. No one is trained in how to do this, in how to initiate, to visualize, to solve interesting problems and then deliver. Some see the new work as a hodgepodge of little projects, a pale imitation of a ‘real’ job. Others realize that this is a platform for a kind of art, a far more level playing field in which owning a factory isn’t a birthright for a tiny minority but something that hundreds of millions of people have the chance to do. Gears are going to be shifted regardless. In one direction is lowered expectations and plenty of burger flipping… in the other is a race to the top, in which individuals who are awaiting instructions begin to give them instead.”

If only the education system can train our children to achieve in this market.
Robinson is a master storyteller with an important area of interest, about how our education system is failing, right along with the one in four American students failing out of high school.

“If you think of it, the whole system of 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. And I think we can’t afford to go on that way.”

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