Another great presentation from Ken Robinson where he talks about how the current design of school systems ignore the principles that encourage children to flourish.
If you sit kids down hour after hour doing low-grade clerical work, don’t be surprised if they start to fidget. Children are not, for the most part, suffering from a psychological condition. They’re suffering from “childhood”…Kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents.
Robinson begins by highlighting that the dropout rate is a significant problem in American education as a way to begin the conversation about engaging learners in order to prevent this from happening. He suggests that there are three principles that encourage human flourishing, which are contradicted in current approaches to education:
- Human beings are naturally diverse, but schools are based on conformity within a narrow scope of subject choice
- Children will learn with no other intervention simply by lighting a spark of curiosity within them, but it’s been replaced by a culture of compliance
- Life is inherently creative and education should awaken creativity within us, but schools cultivate standardisation
There are conditions under which people thrive and the school system currently does not create those conditions. In fact, it seems to be designed to specifically work against them. This creates a space where students are not motivated to stay in school and they drop out, the rate of which is up to 60% in some parts of America. There is an enormous loss of economic potential when children don’t finish school, as well as the cost of repairing the damage caused by children not finishing school. Spending money in education makes sense not only from a moral and social point of view, but also from an economic point of view. We need to understand that spending money to upgrade schools by valuing teachers and improving facilities is not a cost, it’s an investment. When teachers are given the authority to make decisions about how best to create positive learning environments in their classrooms, students learn better.
Teaching is a creative profession. Teaching, if properly conceived, is not a delivery system. You’re not there to pass on information.