Saturday, February 14, 2009

19 Minutes that could change your thoughts about School

Several weeks ago I noticed a link in my EC&I 831 course readings regarding creativity. The link was to a speech given by Ken Robinson who asks do schools kill creativity?

I put off watching the video because it is a longer one (19 minutes) for youtube which has got me thinking, "What's happening to my attention span?" But that's another blog! I also have to admit I don't consider myself to be the most creative person in the world and arts education usually leaves me feeling uncomfortable. I'm not a singer, dancer, or artist; I think if I had the opportunity, I could have enjoyed life in drama. So, in a nutshell, I believe I avoided the video because I believed it was about something I was not very good at doing.

However, after listening to Ken's speech, I really wonder what education has done to me and what do I perpetuate as an educator! I wonder if the education system imposed on me reflected Ken's ideas of encouraging creativity, would my life had turned out differently and been more rewarding (at least to this point). Even in this text, I indentify myself as not being creative, yet now I have doubt. It could be that my creative side has been "educated out of me" as Ken speaks of in his speech.

There is so much in the speech that I will likely re-watch it. For me the key concepts were: school is educating creativity out of students, school is preparing students essentially the same way it did during the industrial revolution, and school is stigmitazing being wrong.

I encourage my readers to check this video out; I guarantee you some laughs if you do, but, more importantly, I think you will come out of it with some really tough questions about what is school doing to young people.

I also have to thank Ken for a great line. It goes something like this, "If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears, is he still wrong?" Watch it! It will make you think!


TH said...

I agree with much of what Ken Robison and you have touched upon. Many times during this video caused much reflection upon what has been happening to me in both my professional and personal life. Like you Stephen I feel very un-creative. I know as a child I loved to be creative, therefore where did it go?

I strongly believe that education is a huge influence in the decline of creativity. I agree with Ken that if you like at it as a drop down educational system we don't have to look much further than universities and professors. Many times during our Masters program many of us have argued why do we always have to end the course with a major paper? If professors are stuck in this mindset and high schools take their cues from them, junior high from high schools, etc,; what hope is there? Though I feel un-creative I have been trying to do more creative things in class and I see children struggling with it. Most seem like they cannot think outside the box. Has that been due to their schooling? Nice orderly seats (in rows), papers, tests, and such that test but one form of the educational system stiffling this creativity? Thanks to Alec for being an outside thinker for allowing us to explore ourselves in an alternate manner.

As a father of two boys who love to colour watching them at times I have wanted to say, "Colour between the lines." But why? Why should I? Because it is the orderly way that I have been taught and it is what society expects of us? Why not simply let them explore and see what they come up with. That is how I have mearned best so far in this course, exploring what technology can and cannot do. This experiential learning is by far the best way I can learn.

I think this video and what I have experienced during this Masters course has been instrumental in me seeing what I do not want to become. A teacher that does not change and stiffles creativity. Now if only I can find where mine was misplaced?

Melva said...

This is a very thought provoking video. I did pause it once to refill my coffee (I've never had much attention span & coffee is my ritalin!). Kindergarten used to be the last bastion of creativity, but even that is diminishing greatly in the face of "accountability" disguised as "assessment for learning". If we were truly assessing for learning we would be observing students and fostering their natural gifts and talents, not pulling them out of class for more of the same in a different room! I just wrote a memoir for Val's class looking back at my first year in kindergarten and we were much more creative then (class was much smaller too!). Check out this tinkering school, it is very interesting:
(sorry, you'll have to cut & paste, I chose the reading class, not the tech class). I think that we need to provide students with the opportunities to be creative and with the skills and tools to exercise their creativity, but I am not sure how we go about it.