Monday, September 14, 2009

Schools and Creativity at TED

Frank H. Jump at Fading Ad posted this link to an enlightening, entertaining talk at a TED conference given by Ken Robinson. Ken Robinson is, according to his bio, "A visionary cultural leader, who led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His latest book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, a deep look at human creativity and education, was published in January 2009.

It's so captivating that you don't notice you've been sitting at the computer watching it for 20 minutes. I wished Ken would keep talking. The point of this presentation is that schools, and the societies that built them, are educating away creativity which he defines as having original ideas of value.

Sir Ken says a lot of things in nearly twenty minutes, but near the beginning he shows how it's a good thing when you're not afraid to be wrong. As someone who has recently had to admit I was very wrong, I found it comforting to hear my willingness to make an ass of myself is actually a great thing. We can only hope the results worked out as well for HCW as they did for me. I may have been dead wrong about his character, but by believing he was toxic, I was able to let go and find my own path - which led to me finding Grace, but that's another story. Maybe my favorite story, but beside the point right now especially since HCW won't talk to me (not that I blame the man since he has experience with my maniacal tendencies). But as I said, that's beside the point. The point is that I bet a lot of us out there in blogland have been wrong, wrong, wrong about a lot of things and the willingness to go there is a wonderful thing.

Ken doesn't bore on and on about the need for reform or what those reforms should be. He simply presents some ideas and possibilities about education that are important and inspirational for anyone who cares about the future. It's good to hear/see whether you have kids or not - but it's particularly uplifting this morning because I'm on my way to work. No kids yet in our progressive private preschool - just a world of possibilities on a sunny morning.

I'm excited and proud because the school has given us enough budget to create an outstanding environment to nurture curiosity and creative problem solving. When my assistant - who is blessed among women - and I have it put together, I'll post pictures. A dedicated, talented, beautiful artist who is guiding our aesthetic. She's been to Reggio Emilia and everything which is significant training for early childhood specialists.

Listening to Ken, I get jazzed because I'm one of the people who is working in my own way, with dilegence and joy, to make the world a little better. I'm thinking that everyone I know in blogland is doing that too.


Liberality said...

I like that REM song! Hey, I've got something for you over at my place.

intelliwench said...

Great thoughts - thanks for sharing the TED talk! I so despair at the way schools are being run like businesses -- and it's not a new thing, as he points out. Efficiency shouldn't be the keystone of our education system.

PENolan said...

You can trace the entire sorry state of education as practiced today back to a Big Idea to turn schools into assembly lines like for the Model T Ford - which is when all those huddled masses were coming to America, farmers started moving to the city and the slaves were freed.

Not a bad idea if you want a bunch of workers for assembly lines and cannon fodder for wars, but when you consider that most of those folks spewing stupid shit about health care can't use their brains well enough to see they have been manipulated by propaganda to the point where they are advocating for their own destruction . . . well, it sucks kind of hard.

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