The Ken Robinson effect.

 

KenRobinson
Ken Robinson is coming to a town near you.

Sir Ken tells us that schools are killing creativity. Going by the number of views of his Ted Talk on the topic, it would be safe to assume that a lot of people agree with him. While I am aware that there exists some discomfort with his argument, in this post I simply want to focus on the intent of his message – that all is not well with the education system and that changes need to be made. I suggest that it is this message that has provided him with such a huge following rather than any potential solution he offers. He gave that talk in 2006. But I wonder if the narrative has changed much since then. What is his intent? What can he hope to achieve? What can the attendees at his presentations expect to learn? Is he promoting a full-bodied revolution of the education variety? Is he is attempting to rally the troops towards taking on some meaningful action against the system? I suspect not.

I anticipate the following scenario. Sir Ken tells teachers that the education system as it currently stands, is not fit for purpose. Teachers respond in affirmation and then head back to school and continue to deliver the same teaching programmes that they are told to deliver, until they are directed to do otherwise. What specific action would he suggest that teachers take, anyway? Agreeing with the concept that the education system, as it currently stands is failing so many, is the easy part. It’s what lies beyond that’s difficult.

Further down the page, the invitation holds another clue as to why I believe that it will take more than an audience with Sir Ken to create any significant change.

“With a change of government, the time could not be more perfect…”

To me, this statement reveals the single biggest barrier to achieving such a ‘critical’ goal of making schools a hive of creativity. That is, it’s the collective ‘deficit mindset‘ of teachers themselves that is holding things back. It’s just further evidence that education is being treated as a political issue rather than as an issue of policy and best practice. The NZ Curriculum offers a perfect foundation for a beautiful, joyful, successful education system; goals that are broad, simple, non-prescriptive. Hattie provides the template for delivering the goods. Creativity and academic achievement are not mutually exclusive.

So, check your mindset and get to work. Establish what you want to achieve. It could be, “I want all my students to be great readers.” If it’s not working, do something different. Just stop doing the same and expecting different results. You may find that you will have to do things that others are not. But the results will inspire you. Your students will thank you, even if your colleagues will not. If you are waiting for approval from an expert or the government of the day, I fear you will be waiting a long time.

Ease Education: Teaching at a human scale.

You can also find Ease Education on Facebook and Twitter.

3 thoughts on “The Ken Robinson effect.

  1. I always enjoying reading your posts!I especially like this one because it comes from an internal locus of control (what can I do to become a better teacher) rather than an external one (if only the school, principal, government, etc. would change).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dawn. I really appreciate the feedback. I think you make a good point. And I think Hattie’s research is imploring teachers to take responsibility by encouraging ‘meaningful learning conversations’ between teachers and with students. Unfortunately, those conversations are difficult to have. Because to do the best teaching will inevitably mean going against the received wisdom and familiar practices of the crowd. To do so results in the teacher being labeled as ‘disobedient’ and not a ‘team player’ etc. It’s hard to change that culture.

      Like

  2. “A huge misconception amongst adults is that kids don’t like to learn. On the contrary, kids love to learn. Rather, it’s the construct of school that beats a love to learn out of students.” https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-02-23-kids-don-t-fail-schools-fail-kids-sir-ken-robinson-on-the-learning-revolution?utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_content=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=social#23959413-tw#1518450192154#23959413-tw#1518944252458

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s