We are educating people out of their creativity

May 16, 2007

We are educating people out of our creativity

In another of the superb TED podcasts Ken Robinson gives a riveting (and very witty) presentation on the value of creativity and how our western education system is teaching us how to use our bodies as glorified transportation systems for our heads. He advocates a shift in the education system that values creativity for its own sake and for its impact on innovation. A timely reminder perhaps of a general election looming in about a week or so? I would be very interested to hear what our public representatives would make of Robinson’s thoughts..

10 People reacted on this

  1. This is a superb presentation Annette and one that we used in our recent sessions in the National Centre for Creativity. It joined the dots nicely as an introduction to this topic for entrepreneurs.

  2. Glad to meet another TED fan! yes, it’s brilliant isn’t it? I wonder how many people in the department of education here are watching this? … should be core viewing for anyone in the system don’t you think?

  3. I love the Ted presentations. Dan Gilbert & Steven Levitt are also brilliant. Ken “Am I Right?” Robinson makes some wonderful points about education. I agree with him but I can just hear the whispers of “what about standards/competencies/measurable targets?”
    Is it possible to have both?

  4. Ahh Matt the hard questions…and are you sure you’re not an engineer 🙂 I think there’s more than enough research to be able to “measure” creativity at this point – one of the issues is valuing it enough in the first place to make it measurable. Some art form areas are on the curriculum currently which is a small step towards valuing creativity and Frank Fullard (CEO of Mayo County Enterprise Board) has a series of posts over at
    his blog about entrepreneurship (which is creativity in action to an extent) and the degree to which Ireland is excelling in this regard. What are your own views on the measurement question?
    I’ve downloaded all of the TED podcasts and had the pleasure of meeting Tom Rielly from TED while I was in New York recently and he sent me home with a full set of the last couple of years’ conferences on DVD – I am a happy person 🙂

  5. “I would be very interested to hear what our public representatives would make of Robinson’s thoughts…”
    May I offer the thought that they would never make the time to listen to it. This is more than a soundbite.
    How did you find such a gem? How did you learn how to put it up on your blog.
    I love the way I can listen to him and type at the same time, thereby contradicting one of Ken’s thoughts…

  6. Omani go over to the TED site http://www.ted.com and download all their podcasts…they give you the code to embed in your site if you want to rebroadcast them. It’s an astonishing resource and I guarantee you will spend hours there (and your head may explode – you have been warned!)

  7. So measurement is about lots of things including:
    – Understanding a situation
    – Controlling a situation
    – Standardisation
    – Arse-covering
    We need to shift from measuring outputs (such as school league tables) & focus on impacts. And this requires a leap of faith and change in behaviour by schools, governments AND parents. Which I think will come but will take time.
    I do not have children so my insight into what goes on in schools is limited, but my perception is that our education system continually lags behind our social needs by about 20 years. We also seem to use our children as proxies in our own cultural debates so the curriculum becomes a battlefield rather than a springboard.

  8. Matt that’s so right and the focus is always on primary and secondary rather than tertiary and life-long education as well. Part of the issue is that we think education finishes when we leave the formal education system. The other thing is our attitude to risk and “mistakes” .. how willing are we to air those mistakes in public and learn from them? The arse covering will always exist but measurement now needs to happen in a more creative way as you suggest – I’m not quite sure what that looks like right now but Robinson points out very eloquently the logical result of not taking creativity seriously.

  9. Further to this discussion I’d like to point out that many Irish parents – including myself – are voting with their feet on this issue by home-educating their children – and that that’s a viable alternative for any parents who do not want the creativity educated out of their children. (It’s not only legal, it’s our constitutional right, you don’t need to be a qualified teacher to do it, and no, the children don’t miss out on socialisation.)
    I could say a LOT more on this, but I won’t hijack the thread!
    All best,

  10. Fair play to you Tracy! I really admire parents who home educate … I think there’s another issue here which Matt alludes to which is about measurement – when is the formal examination system going to be changed in order to account for creativity – the kind that’s nurtured by home educators and the kind that we’ve yet to see in schools?

Comments are closed.