Ken Robinson, an author with a strong interest in education delves into discover whether the educational system is a limiting one, preventing children from exploring their creativity. He begins by explaining the importance of education and its deep meaning to each individual who has a history with the educational system. Ken is very adamant about the fact that not only is literacy a very important aspect of school, but creativity is just as crucial. He is a strong believer in children being given the opportunity to explore their creative minds.
Children love to take chances, they do not fear being incorrect. Ken points out that this is really what allows children to become more in tune with their imaginative minds. According to him, mistakes are not the worst thing to happen. Mistakes mean that something new was tried. Mistakes may result in coming up with something creative and original. However, he believes that at the pace that the educational system is going, children are forced out of their ‘creative capacity. ’ In today’s day and age, mistakes are stigmatized and looked down upon.
Ken states that children need to be given the opportunity to engage in not only their mental intelligence but their artful intelligence such as; dancing and drawing. Every curriculum around the world is insistent about teaching math to students, but do not see dance being as equally important. Furthermore, he digs even deeper and explores the hierarchy of educational system, which is based on two ideas. One being the subjects that are believed to make a person more ‘successful’ are the ones that are most emphasized in school.
The second being academic ability; people believe that they are not smart enough for a university acceptance when they fail to excel in subjects like the sciences but excel is artistic subjects. Ken then shifts his focus towards the post secondary degrees and it’s change in meaning through-out the years. Whereas in the past a degree guaranteed a job, in the present it does not. A degree is now more or less proof of completing post secondary education. In order to actually become successful and attain a stable job, people must go beyond a bachelors degree.
All in all, in order to take the first steps towards rethinking our view of intelligence, what is known about it must be considered which as he mentions includes diversity, dynamics, and distinction. Ken explains that intelligence is interactive and encompasses visual, kinaesthetic, and abstract ways of knowing. To tie everything together, Ken speaks about a dancer known as Gillian Lynne, clarifying some of the points regarding his view on schooling and the limiting of creative capacity. As a child, she was fidgety and late to hand in homework.
She was assumed to be challenged since she was not book smart. She was taken to the doctor for help and instead of diagnosing her with a disorder, he discovered her passion for dance and suggested dance classes. Ken emphasized that because she was given the chance at such a young age, she was able to explore her creative strengths rather than doing something that was non-pleasurable for her. To conclude his presentation, he truly highlights the fact that the educational system must focus on the child a whole, to explore not only their mental strengths but their physical and artistic strengths as well.
Evaluation Overall, Ken Robinson’s key point of the talk was to explore how education limits a child’s creative ability. He did a fine job considering how much detail he included in his discussion, however there were some gaps present throughout. When he spoke about the educational curriculums all around the world, he provided pretty fair evidence as he mentioned to have travelled to many places in the world. However, it may have been more appropriate to mention the places he has actually visited as it seems slightly unbelievable that he has been everywhere.
Furthermore, there were very limited sources used in his talk as the only and most reputable source used in was based on Gillian Lynne. This did happen to be a very appropriate choice for the discussed topic, however aside from the fact that this dancer’s story very well supported the theme of his talk, he failed to gather supplementary information from empirical sources or even from self-conducted research. Being as interested as he claims to be in the topic, Ken should have been more prepared with much more evidence to back up his fairly well put together argument.
For example, similar to Richard Koestner, Richard M. Ryan, Frank Bernieri, and Kathleen Holt (1984), he could have conducted a study to gather direct information from students that actually were limited in their creativity. In their study, forty-four six and seven year olds were gathered and each of them were asked to paint a picture. Some were under limiting conditions where they were asked to paint something specific and keep the area nice and tidy whilst others were given no limits and able to paint what they pleased.
To prove what Ken’s hypothesis is based on, the results of this study showed that those who were limited by the researcher were less creative and used far less colours than those without limits. Through-out the talk, despite how well he came forth with his argument, it was fairly one sided. Ken spent most, if not all of his time focusing primarily on the limitations of schooling on children’s creativity. He completely delved into the subject to the point where he failed to acknowledge that there do happen to be schools who take pride in their artistic students and extra curricular activities such as sports.
In addition to including more sources to support his main idea, it would have been pertinent to explore the other side. This would give more of an insight and allow for a further understanding on the side that he did choose to discuss. Prior to his talk, he could have gathered young children, still beginning to consider their imaginative minds, and conducted his own research study. Similar to the study done in 1984, he could ask the children to write a story.
Some of the children should be limited as to what the story should be about, while others have the freedom to write whatever comes to mind. If this study were to prove Ken’s theory, the children without limitations would be more creative in what they wrote about and thus be more open to be creative in the future. Overall, Ken’s talk was biased and lacking some important evidence however with further research and more of an open mind regarding the opposing side, he would have a very strong point to argue.
Reaction Initially, reading the title of Ken Robinson’s TED Talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity? ” immediately grabbed my attention. I, myself am interested in the educational system and how it both positively and negatively affects students. I found that Ken and myself shared similar viewpoints, however he went into so much depth that it even further opened my mind. This talk impacted me much more than I thought it would; I realized that I have not really thought about it in as much detail as I anticipated.
I have become more aware of not only how much the current educational system will affect the future of my generation but upcoming generations and their future. One thing about Ken’s talk that surprised me was the fact the all around the world, the curriculum is the same; all educational systems prioritize the same subjects – the subjects that allow you to prosper, rather, as opposed to the arts. It led me to thinking about how important it is to change the way the curriculum works before it is too late.
My mind started to really ponder on all the times that the sciences were immensely stressed, much more than any art based subject. To actually participate in what I was passionate about, in secondary school I had to join a dance program because there were not many options for dance among the “regular” classes. One hundred years from now the world will be full of a completely different population, who may or may not get the chance to see how creative and intelligent young children truly are.
The worst case scenario is that due to this ignorance, children will never be given the opportunity to explore their creative minds due to the current limiting educational system. This information has pushed me in a direction to keep a close eye on my younger cousins, who have just recently begun their educational journey. I will ask them questions about their experiences in school revolving around what they do in school, whether they are ever asked to stop doing something they enjoy, or whether they actually enjoy what they learn in class.
I have already been informed that one of my cousins is looked down upon by his teacher for trying to discover new ways of using classroom objects and wanting to be as active as possible in class, which resembled the story of Gillian Lynne mentioned by Ken. I would love to look into this topic further, maybe even get some more information from primary sources such as students who have been denied opportunities or those who were granted them. If this talk does not impact other people watching, it should. If the educational system continues to progress in its current direction, it will only downgrade if it is not reevaluated.
This should be a concern to them if they plan on having children or even if they have young relatives in or beginning school. Thus, everyone should do their best to force change upon the educational system to allow fairness for everyone. All in all, this talk has reminded me of a photo that I have previously seen; a bunch of animals including a monkey and a fish, all asked to climb a tree. A fish should not be asked to climb a tree, just as a child with a creative mind should not be forced think otherwise.