Search This Blog

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Need for a Paradigm Shift in Education - Sir Ken Robinson

What do you think about the current education system? It is a factory-style process built for the Industrial Age. How should education systems look like for an age of globalization, though???? Check out the following video, which is an animated summary of a lecture given by Sir Ken Robinson, who has been a leader in real education reform, a need for creativity, and so on. In my humble opinion, this is a wonderful video presentation that should get you thinking!

Keep in mind that no solutions are offered as to how to change classroom teaching and learning to fit the new paradigm, but such presentations are most useful to get the general population thinking, and also to get policymakers (i.e. politicians who are in charge of education, and who almost exclusively have not taught before) thinking before they continue down the same status quo reform movements like No Child Left Behind (Pres. Bush) and even Race to the Top (Pres. Obama).

Please comment, as I really am interested in your thoughts.


  1. This is from a TED speech, which I happened to watch a few months ago.
    The website has a ton of fantastic speeches and it really goes along with the principles behind the iLab; namely, that the internet can provide a world-class education available to (almost) everybody. You should definitely check it out, if you haven't already.

    This particular discussion is fascinating. It makes me wonder if programs like Chem/Phys part of the solution or part of the problem. Certainly preparing students for the increasingly import scientific fields is a plus. And the fact that it is made up only of students who want to be there and are relatively successful in science (and, for the most part, in the education system in general) counts for something. But it also perpetuates the division between “smart” students and everyone else.

    When I came into the high school as a freshman, I was excited about the intellectual rigor of Honors and, eventually, AP classes. I thought the people who wanted to detrack were nuts. But I am not so sure anymore. I’m not sure that I don’t learn as much from my classmates in my mixed English class than I do in my AP classes. I’m not sure AP classes foster creativity any more than regular classes.

    I chose to be in Chem/Phys and to stay in it because it guarantees me two of the best teachers in the school. Why do I deserve that option? And why is there only one black student in 4 Chem/Phys?

    This is an important discussion to have, especially for those of us who do well in and benefit from the education system in its current form.

  2. Good thoughts, Danny. It is something everyone struggles with in education.

    First, while I thank you for the comment that you 'get the best teachers in the school,' I would not say that. There are a number of outstanding teachers in the school, who get awesome results with students who struggle and are not in top-level classes. Those just aren't situations that get any press, so to speak.

    If we believe in allowing all kids to learn, then there needs to be classes available for that. For those students who take advantage of opportunity and are capable of taking high-level classes, should they not have a chance to be challenged and learn to the best of their abilities? We just happen to be a community where there are larger numbers of students who can handle things like AP Physics and AP Chemistry, and then some, than your typical public high school. This is why the AP program and things like Chem-Phys were started. Most of you in the program are planning on going into something science, math, or technology related, and this program will thoroughly prepare you for life beyond our walls.

    Trust me, the discussion of the lack of minority students in AP level classes has been around forever. This is why I helped start Excite. This has been the focus of ETHS since I have been here (13 years now). It is a national problem, and one that is incredibly complex since it has to do with socioeconomics, history, culture, and subcultures. I would love to sit with you and anyone else who is interested in this and get your thoughts.

    As for the creativity aspect, part of creativity is exposure to new material, new ways of thinking, new topics, analytical tools, and learning techniques in the lab (at least for creativity in science). You will find that very few things in life count more than experience. Doesn't matter what the subject area is, experience allows you to think more deeply about a topic, and it allows you to have a knowledge base of some things that work well, don't work at all, and sort of works. By having exposure to different points of view and collaboration allows you to explore new ideas and things to try. Curiosity is also something that cannot be overlooked, and also motivation/dedication. It is a complex concept to get a handle on, but I am thrilled you say you learn a lot from other students in your mixed class. This says a lot about YOU, and your attitude. You have curiosity, and you take the time to listen to peers, regardless of the class or level they are at. Trust me, not all students are like this.

    Stay curious, enjoy learning about not only science and math, but the arts, humanities, sports, history, and anything else, because having exposure to a broad range of subjects will foster creativity in any one of those subject areas. Try new things, do not be afraid of trial and error, learn from mistakes. Just take the time to simply think! Keep doing what you are doing, and you will find success and happiness wherever you end up after high school. This is what educators should try to do, at least in my mind. Hopefully you feel this is more or less what happens in class (and if not, tell me! This is what I am trying to do for everyone)

  3. I thought the video was interesting, but I don't intirely agree with its concepts. The speaker was articulate and watching the video put the images in the viewers mind very clearly to convey certain positive and negative messages. I don't claim to fully understand the education system nor do I know the most effective way to help children grow into successful and positively contributing individuals. But in reality is creativity shunned in our school system? I don't think it is, and I think I have managed to hold on to atleast some of my child-like creativeity. Just a few thoughts.

  4. There is obviously no one correct way to this site a resume, but there are certainly a lot of wrong ways.