In the ferocious battle for an online audience one man stands out as a somewhat unlikely star. Sir Ken Robinson is a leading thinker on creativity and education, has authored several books on the topic, and millions of people watch his talks.
Robinson’s 2006 TED talk, “Do schools kill creativity?” which makes a strong case for educational systems needing to nurture creativity, has garnered over 34 million views.
Our kids are living in a world of immense changes, of growing complexity, of growing interconnection, and we therefore have to ask ourselves what sort of education do our children need to flourish in this world.
Since his 20s, Robinson has been devoted to and obsessed with education and how it impacts societies around the world. His ideas about education and how to change it have resonated across cultures and audiences.
Robinson believes that the current systems of mass education, developed primarily in the 19th century, are outmoded, too standardised, and stifle true learning. Cultures of education should instead aim to engage children’s individual abilities and creativity across all disciplines – maths, science, and the arts.
Creativity, Robinson points out, should not be equated just with the arts.
“I’m arguing for a different balance in education and a different type of dynamic in schools,” he says.
He believes that our educational systems are a relic of the industrial revolution.
“My view of it is that in many respects they are modelled on principles of factory production, like, for example, we educate our kids in batches by age – all the three-year-olds, all the four-year-olds, shunting through the system. There’s no educational reason to do that – it’s an efficiency ideal.”
All children are born with immense talents, says Robinson, and education must identify and cultivate natural abilities.
Along his global campaign for nothing less than a better future, we speak to Robinson in Doha about his new book co-authored with Lou Aronica, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Changing Education, why he argues for a different style of education and why now, more than ever, it is imperative to make these changes.
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