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.
Why don't we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. It's a message with deep resonance. Robinson's TEDTalk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006. The most popular words framing blog posts on his talk? "Everyone should watch this."
A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken 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 2009 book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, is a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 21 languages. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, was published in 2011. His latest book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, will be published by Viking in May 2013.
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
“All kids have tremendous talents — and we squander them pretty ruthlessly.”
“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
“Every education system on Earth has the same hierarchy of subjects: at the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts.”
“I believe this passionately: that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it.”
“It’s education that’s meant to take us into this future that we can’t grasp.”
“Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not — because the thing they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or was actually stigmatized.”
“There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance everyday to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why?”
“Typically [professors] live in their heads. … They look upon their body as a form of transport for their heads. It’s a way of getting their head to meetings.”
“We are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
“You don’t think of Shakespeare being a child, do you? Shakespeare being seven? He was seven at some point. He was in somebody’s English class, wasn’t he? How annoying would that be?”
“You were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid — things you liked — on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that: ‘Don’t do music, you’re not going to be a musician. Don’t do art, you won’t be an artist.’ Benign advice — now, profoundly mistaken.”
“Very many people go through their whole lives having no real sense of what their talents may be, or if they have any to speak of.”
“Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface.”
“The dropout crisis is just the tip of an iceberg. What it doesn't count are all the kids who are in school but being disengaged from it, who don't enjoy it, who don't get any real benefit from it.”
“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”
“There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools.”
“Human life is inherently creative. It's why we all have different résumés. … It's why human culture is so interesting and diverse and dynamic.”
“Governments decide they know best and they're going to tell you what to do. The trouble is that education doesn't go on in the committee rooms of our legislative buildings. It happens in classrooms and schools, and the people who do it are the teachers and the students. And if you remove their discretion, it stops working.”
“Somewhere in, I think, the back of the mind of some [education] policy makers is this idea that if we fine-tune it well enough, if we just get it right, it will all hum along perfectly into the future. It won't, and it never did.”
“The real role of leadership in education … is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility.”