What is education, anyway? Pt.2

This week I am sharing a post published on Teachling earlier this year. Teachling introduces her post with a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, an international advisor on Education. Like Teachling, I very much admire his work and would love to see education systems implement his recommendations. I hope you will set aside the 19 minutes it will take to listen to what Ken has to say. You will be amused, entertained and educated. I intended providing a summary of important points from his talk, but found I was recording the talk in full! Teachling has provided a few notes but I would love you to listen to the entire talk and let me know what you think. How can we join the revolution that Ken says we need?

Teachling

Let’s face it, children are basically all the same and should be taught in the same, tried and tested, chalk and talk, fashion. Teachers in schools should focus purely on the 3R’s – Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic – and leave that creative ‘fluff’ for kids to pursue in their own time. Children should be viewed as empty vessels and a teacher’s role is to fill them with enough knowledge to pass the test. Some kids are just lazy, hyperactive or incapable of learning, so teachers should let them be whilst focussing on the other kids that can and want to learn. Wait… What? Was there actually a time when people thought this way about education? I do hope that the opinions above are not felt by any person on this earth. My opinions are much more aligned with those articulated in Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk, “How to escape education’s death…

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8 thoughts on “What is education, anyway? Pt.2

  1. Annecdotist

    I’ve listened to most of his talk. I liked the way he highlights the fact that education is a human process but we don’t treat it as such, and that what is termed “alternative education” is what should be available for all.
    It’s such a pity that so many people’s time is wasted (both teachers and pupils) instilling compliance when there’s so much potential in learning from experience.
    I think I’d add compassion to his list of alternative 3R’s – I imagine it’s implied in this approach but perhaps worth articulating the value for children in instilling compassion for themselves and others, including a nonpunitive attitude to their own limitations

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Anne,
      Thank your for sharing your thoughts. I like the way you have added to Robinson’s ideas with ‘compassion’. I intend to discuss the issue of empathy in a future post and I’m thinking that empathy and compassion are very closely linked. And I love your recommendation for ‘a nonpunitive attitude to their own limitations’. I think this is important for adults as well as children, but supporting students to learn it will have a carry-over effect into adulthood. I agree that it is important to articulate and be upfront about the qualities we wish to promote, otherwise they can be very easily ignored.

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      1. Annecdotist

        Will look forward to your future post on empathy. I’m sure we’ll have lots to discuss.
        I’d also meant to comment about the reference to the “epidemic” of ADHD diagnoses, which I also find quite disturbing. While some kids might have genuine neurological malfunctions, many will be responding as best they can to their environment. It’s a nonsense to label kids distinct from their family systems.

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        1. Norah Post author

          So true Anne. We are certainly products of our environment. I’m not sure that we can ever eliminate all its effects regardless of how hard we try. I always look forward to and enjoy our discussions.

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  2. rosemariethrupp

    Hi Norah,

    I did respond today. I am wearing my cranky pants. you might want to read it and delete it or parts but …. if we are really going to say that Ken Robinson is good we have to dig down into what it means within our system…anyhow, I won’t prattle all over again…leave you to read and delete if you see fit.

    You seem rushed at work. I would like to talk more. I love the depth of your thinking.

    Rosie

    Sent from my iPad

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Rosie,
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment on my post. I am unable to locate the response you mention so am unable to respond to it. I agree with what you say about Ken Robinson. We need to form the groundswell of support for his suggestions and recommendations to revolutionize the outdated systems which are more intent on developing conformity, uniformity and compliance rather than diversity, curiosity and creativity.
      I hope you will be able to resurrect and return with your comment.

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