Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

Apologies if you have already watched this video.  I just thought it was worth sharing with those who haven't.

This morning, my two sons told me that they were sick of getting up at 6.00 in the morning and catching the school bus at just before 7.00 to start school at 8.00.

They spend an average of forty hours in school, mostly studying things that they would prefer not to.

The teachers at the school are adamant that, when they get home at between 5.30 and 7.00, they must sit down to at least two hours of homework and must not waste time watching television.  In other words they must study whilst they are conscious. 

Not content with loading up their leisure time with study during the week, the profs insist that there should be a minimum of five hours' schoolwork at the weekend.

My children are, like most kids of their age, interested in an enormous range of things and especially in having fun.  They like to dance (when no one is looking), sing in the shower, put short videos on YouTube that, to them, are hilarious.  They listen to music, have a keen eye for innovation on the Net and, when gently encouraged, like to watch a range of interesting and educational programmes on TV.

In addition to all this, they worry about their hair, what kind of sweatshirts to wear, which brand of deoderant is worthy of being  applied to their increasingly stinky armpits and how many doughnuts they are allowed to eat when they come home from school.

I find myself explaining that their education/diet/sleep/attitude to teachers is very important.  They listen reasonably and then disappear upstairs calling each other by the current insulting names, laughing and pushing each other until I tell them to stop.

They are creative and imaginative beings.  They are round pegs being forced into square holes. 

Ok, I know that if I said they could do exactly as they pleased, they would be on their PS3 or XBox for hours on end, exposed to various degrees of violence and swearing while I fretted and banned  unsuitable games on the basis that they are not meant for children.

In the back of my mind, all these observations lurk, begging a question, waiting for an answer.

And then a friend of mine sent me a link to a video of Ken Robinson talking about what schools are doing to our children and I listened, rivetted.  It was funny.  Very funny.  But it made sense, too.  It was about what is happening to my children and it made me sad, because I know that the schools which my children attend will not change.  After all, the education it is providing now is the same education it was providing twenty or even thirty years ago.

The teachers are not bad people.  They are restricted by the ethos of the school and its culture of teach and test, just as much as the students are restricted by the rules in the classroom and the limitations of their timetables. 

But, listen to Ted.   He can explain what is happening and what should be done about it much better than I can.  And he'll make you laugh too, I promise.


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