Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bring on the learning revolution! | A TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson

Seen by over a million people on YouTube, Sir Ken Robinson speaks about the need for a radical shift in education and that we need to change the system so that children’s natural talents, including their creativity, can be encouraged to flourish. He also states that improving a broken model, in terms of the current education system, is pointless and that we need a revolution.


Here is an excerpt from the talk that I have transcribed, which really goes to prove his point. You can find the full TED talk below that.

“There are things we are enthralled to in education. Let me give you a couple of examples: one of them is the idea of linearity, that it starts here and you go through a track, and if you do everything right then you will end up set for the rest of your life. Everybody who has spoken at TED has told us implicitly or sometimes explicitly, a different story, but life is not linear, it’s organic. We create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they help to create for us.

We have become obsessed with this linear narrative; probably the pinnacle for education is getting you to college. I think that we are obsessed with getting people to college, certain sorts of college — I don’t mean that you shouldn’t go to college but not everybody needs to go now, maybe they go later. Note right away.

I was up in San Francisco a while ago, doing a book signing — there was this guy buying a book. He was in his thirties and I said, ‘what do you do?’ and he said, ‘I’m a fireman,’ and I said, ‘how long have you been a fireman?’ he said, ‘always, I have always been a fireman.’ I said, ‘when did you decide?’ He said, ‘as a kid, actually it was a problem for me at school, because everyone wanted to be a fireman. I wanted to be a fireman. When I got to senior school, my teachers didn’t take it seriously. This one teacher didn’t take it seriously; he said I was throwing my life away if that is all I chose to do with it, that I should go to college, that I should become a professional person, that I had great potential and that I was wasting my talent to do that.’

He said it was humiliating because he {the teacher} said it in front of the class, and he really felt dreadful, but it is what he wanted. He said that as soon as he left school, he applied to the fire service and he was accepted, and he said he was thinking about that guy recently, 'a few minutes ago when you were speaking — about this teacher — because six months ago I saved his life.' He said he was in a car wreck, ‘and I pulled him out, gave him CPR and I saved his wife’s life as well,’ he said, ‘I think he thinks better of me now.’


Sir Kenneth Robinson an English author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was Director of the Arts in Schools Project (1985–89) and Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001), and is now Professor Emeritus at the same institution. In 2003 he was knighted for services to art.

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