In his latest TED talk, the creativity and education expert Sir Ken Robinson once again argues that human beings are diverse, curious, and creative – and our education systems should reflect that, not work against it. He refers to the US’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ policy but as you’ll see, could just as well be talking about UK education policy under Gove. Useful watching for anyone trying to get an understanding both of schools and young people’s needs. I’ve written some quotes from the talk below, and embedded his other two TED talks below those – the first in 2006 is as inspiring today as it was then.
“Education under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is based on not diversity but conformity. What schools are encouraged to do is to find out what kids can do across a very narrow spectrum of achievement. One of the effects of NCLB has been to narrow the focus onto the so-called STEM disciplines. They’re very important. I’m not here to argue against science and math. On the contrary, they’re necessary but they’re not sufficient. A real education has to give equal weight to the arts, the humanities, to physical education.”
“The arts aren’t just important because they improve math scores. They’re important because they speak to parts of children’s being which are otherwise untouched.”
“…education is not a mechanical system. It’s a human system. It’s about people, people who either do want to learn or don’t want to learn. Every student who drops out of school has a reason for it which is rooted in their own biography. They may find it boring. They may find it irrelevant. They may find that it’s at odds with the life they’re living outside of school. There are trends, but the stories are always unique.”
“The real role of leadership in education … is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.”