Monday, March 12, 2012

Sir Ken Robinson on Education

One of my favorite websites is It features talks given at Ted conferences by experts in science, health, history, literature, education, and much more. I find many of the talks challenging, inspiring, and thought-provoking. One of the most challenging lecturers is Sir Ken Robinson, a British academic, who questions the educational paradigms of our day and seeks solutions to the problems that face our school systems. He argues that our current school systems, with their emphasis on grades, standardized curriculum, and testing, stifle creativity. The importance placed on getting the "right" answer causes students to squelch their naturally curious instincts. He argues that the ramifications of this are widespread and dangerous. Like he says, "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." The implications of this for creating leaders who are able to think outside of accepted norms places us at a distinct disadvantage for finding solutions to the problems facing our society, whether economic, medical, agricultural, artistic, technological, or social. The following talk is fascinating and I highly recommend taking twenty minutes to watch it.

As homeschooling parents who have opted out of the traditional classroom setting, I would love to hear what you are doing to encourage your children to be creative thinkers? How do you uphold educational standards while fostering children's inherent curiosity? Or do you think these standards are artificial? How are your children inspired?

Over the next weeks I will be sharing more videos and I hope you find them encouraging and inspiring. 

1 comment:

  1. Finally had time to listen to this one. Excellent. Several of his points reminded me of similar points in The Book of Learning and Forgetting by Frank Smith.

    How do I uphold educational standard while fostering my children's inherent curiosity? Well, not perfectly, of course. I am very relaxed; sometimes I worry that I'm too relaxed. I will gladly set aside the school books to focus on something of interest to one of the children. I do let them decide for themselves on certain things we will learn, like science topics. Yet, I do introduce ideas and skills to them that they haven't specifically asked about. I guess that would be where we do keep some educational standards. For example, narration is a skill that all my children, so far, have resisted at first. They had no problem with a casual conversation about a book, but a good narration takes more thought and careful attention to the words selected. Since it's an important skill, we work through the awkwardness that comes at first.