TED Talks: Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity…

ECPM 355 – Tech Task #3: Media Responses

TED Talks: Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity…

In this TED Talks video, Ken Robinson speaks about our educational systems, and how he feels that schools limit students’ creativity by not valuing the arts – visual art, music, dance, drama etc.  He believes that schools are more concerned with “academic abilities” and “creating university professors” that they don’t value creativity, or see the creative potential in and of students – “creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

Here are some quotes (that I liked, and for the most part agreed with) from Ken Robinson’s talk:    

…“it is education that is meant to take us into this future that we can’t grasp”

…“the unpredictability of education – no one knows what the world will look like in five years time, and yet we are meant to be educating them for it”

…“creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status”

…“kids will take a chance and it they don’t know they will have a go… they are not frightened of being wrong”

…“if you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”

…“we are now running national educational systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make… and the result is that we are educating people out of their creativity capacities”

…“we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it, or rather we get educated out of it”

…“every educational system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects… at the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, at bottom are the arts, everywhere on earth”

…“and in pretty much every system too, there is a hierarchy within the arts; art and music are normally given higher status in schools than drama and dance”

…“truthfully what happens is that as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the waist up, and then we focus on their heads, and slightly to one side”

…“the whole purpose of public education throughout the world is to produce university professors”

…“our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability”

…“they all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism… the most useful subjects for work are at the top… so you were probably steered biennially away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds you will never get a job doing that; don’t do music you are not going to be a musician, don’t do art you won’t be an artist”

…“we know three things about intelligence, one it is diverse, we think about the world in all the ways we experience it, we think visually, we think in sound, we think kinaesthetically, we think in abstract terms, we think in movement… secondly intelligence is dynamic… and the third thing about intelligence is it’s distinct”

…“creativity which I defined as the process of having original ideas that have value”

…“educating the whole being”

… “people who had to move to think” (Gillian Lynn)

I agree with many of Ken Robinson’s arguments towards how schools kill creativity, particularly the point that not all students have an “academic” future – that involves going to university and getting a degree, or their masters etc. – but that some students have a “creative” future in which they want to further develop their talents as artists, actors, dancers, musicians, etc.  But the main problem is that some schools don’t foster these developments, and focus more on getting students into post-secondary education – university.  But what is the point of going to university if it is not something that you are interested in? As teachers, it is our job to meet the needs of our students – whatever they may be – by teaching to the needs of our students – creatively, academically, etc.  It is important to foster each student’s individual growth, so that it directly reflects who they are and what they want to represent.  Schools are not supposed to limit students, but are supposed to help them become successful in whatever they choose to do, and it is most important that students have the opportunities and options to do whatever it is they want to do – creatively or academically.          

A great example of what could have been a life-changing misdiagnosis for a young, creative student is the story of Gillian Lynne.   

I really enjoy listening to TED Talks, especially Ken Robinson.  His talks are so profound and intellectual, that it makes me think about, question, and even change my own thoughts and beliefs.  Listening is believing.

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