Bring on the learning revolution!

Following on from my 1 April post – Do schools kill creativity? – I discovered the other day that a sequel by Sir Ken Robinson has been posted on TED this month. ‘Bring on the learning revolution!’ was recorded in February of this year, and is as inspiring and entertaining as the 2006 forerunner. The following points were highlights for me:

  • Educational reform is not sufficient: it is ‘improving a broken model’ – what is required is revolution, not evolution.
  • There is a ‘tyranny of common sense’ – the idea that things can’t be done any other way.
  • We have a fast-food model of education – where everything is standardised.
  • ‘The reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their spirit, it doesn’t feed their energy or their passion.’
  • We have to change from an industrial model of education, based on linearity and conformity, and batching people, to a model based on principles derived from agriculture.
  • Human flourishing is an organic process rather than a mechanical one.
  • You cannot predict the outcome of human development – all you can do is create the conditions under which people can flourish.
  • Education must be customised and personalised to the people who are being taught.
  • Technology should be used to accomplish this.
  • The story that Robinson tells about the fireman reminded me of one of the tales of Mulla Nasrudin, the fabled Sufi character who often instructs through jokes:

    Nasrudin sometimes took people for trips in his boat. One day a fussy pedagogue hired him to ferry him across a very wide river. As soon as they were afloat, the scholar asked whether it was going to be rough. ‘Don’t ask me nothing about it,’ said Nasrudin. ‘Have you never studied grammar?’ ‘No,’ said the Mulla. ‘In that case, half your life has been wasted.’ The Mulla said nothing. Soon a terrible storm blew up. The Mulla’s crazy cockleshell was filling with water. He leaned over towards his companion. ‘Have you ever learnt to swim?’ ‘No,’ said the pedant. ‘In that case, schoolmaster, ALL your life is lost, for we are sinking.’

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    One Response to “Bring on the learning revolution!”

    1. sara Says:

      Thank you Simon for that, I have been wanting to listen to him again! I think he has so many great points and he puts them so eloquently, how we so view education – as many other aspects of life – through our ‘take-for-granted’ lenses, where you have to force yourself out of your frame, to question and attempt new things. And how true, education tends to be standardised, and how we need to view our time in the classroom as making sure we create the conditions required for students to flourish and tread softly on their dreams …

      Your final point is also direct, we need to value the core skills relating to a functioning life … it is worth keeping in mind – making kids reason and be resilient is more important than the times table.

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