Friday, 10 May 2013

Escaping education's Death Valley - how to move schools on

Ken Robinson's "How to escape education's Death Valley" is his latest TED talk on education. As usual, he is entertaining and convincing, but this time much more prescriptive about what is wrong and especially about what to do about it (at least as far as the USA is concerned - he was speaking in Los Angeles).
His main points:
Three aspects about human life:
  • We are diverse
  • We are curious
  • We are creative
Science and mathematics necessary, but not sufficient - the arts, humanities, etc allow the celebration of talents but also provide the diverse nature of talents and interests of our children.
Teachers are the lifeblood of success of schools. Teaching is a CREATIVE profession NOT a DELIVERY SYSTEM. Role of a teacher is to facilitate learning, not having testing be the dominant culture of education; testing should support education.
Education being seen as a mechanistic system when in fact it is inherently a HUMAN SYSTEM.
Describes an alternative education programme in Los Angeles:
  • it is personalised
  • has strong support for teachers
  • close links with the community
  • has broad and diverse curriculum
  • many involve students outside the school as well as inside the school
This should be the education programme of all schools, says Robinson.
Cultural climate of school is what determines whether it will be successful and is absolutely essential.
Leadership: should not be command and control but one of climate control - creating the climate of possibility.
Robinson provides some general principles on which to base learning in schools and a timely reminder that education is a human system; top down initiatives (eg No child left behind) just do not work - responsibility should be devolved to school level to get the job done.

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