Collaborative Blog Post: Sarah Barnett, Malary Booker, Lauren Bradley
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the TED Talks Series; for those of you who are not familiar with TED Talks, it is a set of informative and educational conferences, presented by recognizable speakers from all around the world and runs under the slogan “Ideas Worth Sharing”. This particular TED Talks video was presented by Sir Ken Robinson. Ken Robinson led the British Government Advisory Committee in 1988 on creative and cultural education quest where we was eventually Knighted for his work. He is a New York Time’s Best Seller for the book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything., and has been translated into twenty-one different languages, and has now gained millions of views for his TED Talks conference videos.
Changing Education Paradigms
Some children can work more efficiently in small/large groups, work better alone, or even may learn more efficiently at different times of the day. In today’s world we have access to so many electronics that when they get to school, they are bored! We have to make learning engaging and enjoyable while they are still students. Sir Ken Robinson talks a lot about ADHD. A cool fact about ADHD was that children more on the east coast are prescribed medication. He talks about too many children are on medication to focus in school. The reason children have ADHD is because they sit there and do busy work all day; while they have all this energy and curiosity balled up inside them. All in all we really enjoyed this video. Sir Ken Robinson did a great job explaining changing education paradigms. We hope you all go check out his video and learn just as much as we did.
The Importance of Creativity Video
In this video Sir Ken Robinson talks about creating an education system that nurtures rather than undermines creativity. He believes that creativity is as important as literacy. He told a story about a little girl who only paid attention in class during drawing time. When the teacher asked her what she was drawing she replied, “I am drawing God.” The teacher said, “No one knows what God looks like.” The little girl then replied, “They will in a minute.” This is an appealing story, but it also lets us know how creative and insightful children really can be. Who are we as teachers to stand in the way of that? Sir Ken Robinson said, “If you are not prepared to be wrong, then you will never come up with anything original.”
As future teachers, we will one day need to let our students know that it is okay to be wrong. Sir Robinson says that by teaching kids they are wrong; we are undermining their creativity. This could not be more true. Encourage kids that there is more than one way to do something. The one thing that we completely agree with is when Sir Ken Robinson said, “We do not grow into creativity, we grow out of it.” All kids are born with a creative gene. What they do with that gene when they get older makes them who they are. Education Systems are now based fully on academic ability. Creativity really needs to be pushed now more than ever. Academic ability is important for students to achieve, but so is creativity.
How to Escape Educations Death Valley
In Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talks video titled “How to Escape Educations Death Valley.” he discusses three principles that are required for a fit and healthy mind and how your current education status actually works against these principles in what is called the educational “death valley”. He starts off by discussing the recent “No Child Left Behind Act”; he described it as “Ironic” because he says, “It is leaving millions of children behind.” He goes on to explain that in some parts of the country, the dropout rate of high school students is up to 60%, then in Native American communities, it is up to 80%. If you cut that number in half and estimate the net-gain earned by these students, it was be somewhere around...a trillion dollars; and that it actually costs more to come up with money and labor created by these so called “drop-outs”.
He states that what those statistics don’t show you, are the percentages of kids that are in school, yet are being disengaged, uninterested and not gaining any benefit from the educational system. Despite the fact that America spend more money on education and its progression than any other country, despite the fact that America on average has smaller classrooms than other countries, despite all the conferences, speaks and presentation, our progression is seems to be moving in the wrong direction. He suggests that real education gives weight to the arts, to the humanities, to physical education; not just science and math and gives recognition to other talents.
From here Robinson shares the three principles for the human mind to flourish. Let’s start with principle one, that humans are different and diverse by nature. He expressed that No Child Left Behind focuses more on conformity then celebrating children’s diversity. Principle number two states that curiosity is a great thing. Curiosity causes humans to learn with little or no assistance. He states that standardized testing is acceptable for measuring outcomes, but in no way should obstruct learning. Principle three states that human are curious by nature, but being stuck in a “paradigm of standardization” is killing our creativity.
So how do we change things and where do we even start? Robinson gave us some imperatives to counteract the principles. Imperative number one states that we MUST MUST MUST individualize learning and personalize our curriculum down to each and every student. Imperative number two states that we must hold high status’s and bars for the teaching profession, that it should be seen as an investment not a cost. Imperative number three says we must make our schools responsible for the decision making, who else knows what better decision to make about the students rather than their own school?
We believe a HUGE lesson is to be learned by all of us, thanks to Sir Ken Robinson. He speaks the truth when dealing with the education system, no longer is he ignoring the elephant in the room. If we want our future generations to be successful and to grow up and be able to compete with their peers in this swiftly changing world; we have to take a step back and focus on our students. No longer should it be about standardized testing and numbers, it should be about celebrating diversity.