MWT Controversy 1 – Education

The most watched TED talk of all time is Sir Ken Robinson’s, How Schools Kill Creativity. Watched over 26M times, this 2006 video sparked a global conversation about education in the world today, and how we might improve education for the future.

About Ken Robinson: Hailed as a “visionary cultural leader,” Sir Ken Robinson has worked with governments and educations systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations.

In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999.

Sir Robinson was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisers to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia.

In 2003, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.

“Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.”

Thoughts & Questions for Discussion:
• Why do you think this is the most watched TED talk of all time?
• Wait – isn’t the US behind in math, science, and reading? PISA Scores
• What are top test scoring countries doing differently? Correlations
• Is math, science and reading all that matters? Ken Robinson
• Are falling test scores a good thing?
• Test scores vs entrepreneurship – what matters more? Yong Zaho
• Does home schooling provide a more well-rounded education? Home schooled facts

Ken Robinson’s talk & the start of “HackSchooling” and “Unschooling” movements:
When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal. His TEDx Talk:

Read more about Unschooling Here:

For further reading on Sir Ken Robinson:
TED Bio & his additional TED Talks
Ken Robinson Website & Books
Wikipedia Article

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” -Sir Ken Robinson

Keep the conversation going! Please leave additional thoughts and comments below.

17 Comments on “MWT Controversy 1 – Education

  1. Tera, thank you for an excellent first class! You obviously know how to teach, especially adult learners, and for that I am grateful!

    I had promised myself that if I walked into one more ILR class where the instructor just stood up front and read word for word from a power point presentation, which we had also as handouts, I wouldn’t stay.

    Fortunately, you personally engaged us with an activity that then tied into the Robinson presentation and steamed on ahead! I knew I was in “safe” hands. You used the charts/research to lead us on to draw conclusions and see implications, not just for their own sake. Keep up the good work, and I’m glad the teacher “loved” your son’s project! Gaynell

  2. Tera, first let me say I completely agree with what Gaynell wrote, and thank you from me as well!

    Second, I’m wondering if the next wave of economic growth and job creation will be design (as opposed to the invention and manufacturing) of goods and services that already exist. I’m thinking of the “I” stuff (ipad, iphone, etc.) and things like Uber. Doesn’t that mean that creativity will be a highly desirable job skill?

    Thirdly, at a wedding reception 20 years ago I discovered that all of the real estate agents wanted to be musicians, and all of the musicians wanted to be doctors, and all of the doctors wanted to be airplane pilots. etc. Perhaps we live too long now to be satisfied with one occupation, and if that is true then having the creativity to reinvent your life as it progresses would be most helpful.

    Really enjoyed the class!

    • Pam – thank you for coming today and taking time out from the blueberries, I know this must be a busy time of year! (If anyone likes local fresh picked blueberries, talk to Pam!) And of course I love that you’ve brought up technology and design…

      One of the lines I find most meaningful in Sir Ken’s talk is, “In fact, creativity — which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value — more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.”

      My personal view of great innovation and inventions (and design) is that they often evolve from seeing a connection between two or more seemingly unrelated ideas – and a light bulb goes on. And this ability, this perhaps “type” of creativity, is one that is already a much-in-demand commodity, not only in technology development but also in scientific research. However, how we can begin to teach, or enhance this ability is a tough question…

  3. An entirely unique learning experience. I hope to sign up for more of this summer’s offerings.

    • Thank you! Hope to see you next week for more!

  4. Just about all the positive things we and Ken Robinson talked about need to be put into motion by elected officials – so be sure to vote and know what they stand for.

    • Manny – I agree. BUT… technology and social media have given to individuals the power to promote positive change and to contribute to public opinion and to new ideas that inform policy – all with a sweeping influence that was not possible before. It is my goal to inspire all of you to discover new ways to share your ideas with world, and to keep teaching the technologies that allow us to do so.

  5. Hi All – Just a few notes here for continued discussion and a few things I forgot to mention…

    If you would like to go back and read a transcript of any of the TED talks I will try to remember to always post the link: here’s the one from today:

    If anyone gets a chance to watch Logan Laplante’s TEDx Talk (or read any of the additional articles posted here) please let us know what you think. Logan may be the only 13 year old who answer’s the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “Healthy and Happy.” BUT –

    Is this new-age version of homeschool another form of ‘rising inequality’? Is it an impetus for education reform? Is it something that anyone can attain whether they attend traditional public school or not and regardless of socio-ecomoic status?

    • On the proverbial “drive home,” I was thinking that findings from research on multiple intelligences and right-brain/left brain that has been around for decades have been implemented in really good school systems like Frederick and Montgomery Counties. For example, when our twin daughters were in school in late 80’s and decade of 90’s, arts were integrated frequently with the academic subjects. Well, I should say I noticed that kind integration and attempts to teach to both sides of the brain in the elementary and middle-school years. But, I don’t know so much about education in the the last decade or so~not in public schools anymore and no children in them. Was also wondering if COMMON CORE Standards try to integrate the two? Does anyone know?


      • Gaynell – Common Core seems to be all about setting a standard for what children need to be able to do at each grade level (in math and English) throughout the US. More can be read about it here:

        Sir Ken Robinson on common core: “I’ve seen brilliant schools in good areas go under because Head Teachers come in who didn’t get it and thought their job was to deliver the core standards, not to teach children. The standards help, but they are subsidiary to the real purpose of education.”

  6. As I said, knowing what I know now, I would choose teaching, now that I recovered from extreme shyness. But, I ended up a systems engineer managing Navy projects and getting my masters in spiritual psychology. I believe Dr. Glasser solved the Education problem in his books. The best expression of the difference between leading and bossing I have found is in the preface to William Glasser’s book Quality Schools. It goes like this:

    “A boss drives. A leader leads.

    A boss relies on authority. A leader relies on cooperation.

    A boss says “I”. A leader says “We.”

    A boss creates fear. A leader creates confidence.

    A boss knows how. A leader shows how.

    A boss creates resentment. A leader breeds enthusiasm.

    A boss fixes blame. A leader fixes mistakes.

    A boss makes work drudgery. A leader makes work interesting.” Michael Foster, MA

    • Mike – I think this can certainly be applied in classrooms today and in the way we teach young people. You (and others) may find interesting that in 1997 the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics produced a series of videos that began a movement to reform the way we teach students from traditional lecture to a cooperative environment where children learn more by doing and exploration.

      (They also explain why even MIT and Harvard graduates still can’t grasp simple science concepts!) The videos can be viewed here: by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the little VoD buttons next to each description.

  7. When I said it is all about culture, that can be measured by rating scales, it is from the book I found when I asked the question: How can I better manage my teams?
    The answer is at: is where you can still get the Likerts’ hardback book for 1 cent plus postage!

    “New Ways of Managing Conflict”

    For anyone interested I will send them a copy of my 18 page presentation on using
    their Likert Scales for improving any country.

  8. I know a mother that made a deal with their son’s first teacher. The deal was to let her son move as long as he was touching his desk. It worked so well that his teacher passed it on to his next teachers and so on. He became an engineer like his dad. He told his mom how grateful he was for his years up to college. In college he was old enough to take a minimum of meds to have a more clear mind needed for the difficult engineering courses. A model for what can be done, in spite of the system, as it is.

    Today I learned that our children are misdiagnosed as ADHD, simply because the month they are born in has a lot to do with being misdiagnosed. The diagnosis should be “too young to be thrown in with older kids” and teachers going for the meds. Or, “brain not mature enough yet”.

    Girls born in December are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Of course there are less girls diagnosed than boys. Boys born in December are 30% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. See page 32 of “Cracked: The Unhappy Truth about Psychiatry”…/ISBN=B00E3E7FWK/recoverybydiscovA/