Tag Archives: Sir Ken Robinson

I found it first!

Launching soon - readilearn2

In my previous post Not lost but found I discussed the notion of adopting the title “Founder” when describing my relationship to readilearn my soon-to-launch website of early childhood teaching resources. The title both bemused and amused me at first but I have now accepted its appropriateness. In fact, I realise that readilearn is not the first thing I have founded.

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

Create-a-Way was perhaps the first that I founded. It was a home-based business offering educational sessions for children of before school-age and their parents. The impetuses for founding Create-a-Way included:

  • The decision, made before Bec was born, that I would parent and educate her (The alternative to keep teaching the children of others while entrusting her education to another didn’t make sense to me.)
  • A dissatisfaction with playgroups that were simply bitch and coffee mornings for mums and squabble sessions for children left to their own devices
  • A realisation that parents didn’t stimulate or foster their children’s intellectual growth because they didn’t know how, not because they didn’t care

I saw a niche that would honour:

  • My passion for education and need to be doing something in that area
  • My firm belief in the importance of early years learning
  • My appreciation of children’s innate curiosity and need to learn coupled with the joy of sharing their sense of wonder and creativity
  • My certainty in the power of reading and education to improve the lives of individuals and society
  • A conviction that there are better ways of educating than simply accepting the status quo.

And best of all, I could do it with Bec! (Although she is not in this photo.)

Guiding parents in play sessions for parents and children.

Guiding parents in play sessions for parents and children.

I express this passion and these basic beliefs repeatedly. They are what make me. They are my driving force; the threads that weave their way through everything I do, holding them and me together. They were the basis for my attempt at founding an alternative school; they guided my classroom pedagogy and now the preparation of resources for readilearn.

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

It’s funny looking back now at the documents I wrote, it seems almost a lifetime ago (well almost all of Bec’s lifetime and more than half of mine), on an Apple IIE computer. I’m still proud of what I offered and truly believe in the value of sessions such as these. However, I can see that, while there has been little change to my passion and beliefs over the years, if I were to do the same thing now I may update some statements to more closely match my current understanding of a growth mindset.

The thought of doing the same again now is not far from my imaginings. The format of Create-A-Way sessions forms the model of another project I would love to found The Early Learning Caravan. Maybe Steven’s suggestion of crowdfunding would be appropriate for getting it started, but that’s not a project for the immediate future.

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

I wonder if my inability to simply accept what is could be considered rebellion? What is a rebellion? I’m thinking of these terms as this week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a rebellion.

rebellion definition

The rebellions of which Charli writes are of a larger scale, more in keeping with the first definition.

In this TED Talk Ken Robinson urges us to Bring on the Learning Revolution making “the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish. I’m proud to be a rebel fighting in the same revolution as Sir Ken.

In addition to these larger scale rebellions and revolutions there are many that take place on an individual and daily basis in our families and classrooms, and on our streets. Some of the battles, such as  teenage rebellion are fought for justice, independence and identity, a natural and necessary part of growing up. But the need to establish one’s individuality, one’s separateness as a person begins years before that, as anyone who has ever had anything to do with a two-year old can testify.

Sometimes the same battles are played out over and over and parents wonder why the children just don’t accept that they need to clean their teeth, wash their hands, put on their shoes or whatever, rather than battle over it each and every time. It is this early childhood rebellion that has inspired my flash fiction response to Charli’s challenge this week. I hope you enjoy it.

crying

You’re not the boss of me!

Eyes blazed defiance, daring a struggle which could end only in tears and frustration, or a standoff with no real winner. She was ready to flee the moment there was a hint of movement. Our eyes met. I contemplated my options. Did we have to do this now?

Again the challenge: “You’re not the boss of me!

I pretended to read.

Another volley, quieter: “You’re not the boss of me.

No response.

Soon she was snuggling beside, pointing to pictures.

I read aloud.

We laughed at the antics.

As I closed the book I said, “Ready? Let’s do this.”

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Are you a lemon or a grapefruit? – Ten articles about creativity

I am a great fan of creativity.

Imagination and creative thinking are what inspire and drive improvement, innovation and progress.

I affirm my belief in the power of creativity in my header: ‘Create the possibilities . . .’

In this post I share articles and blog posts that discuss creativity. It is not an exhaustive list, just a few to get you started. You will notice that many, but not all, are from Edutopia, a website that is ‘dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process through innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives’; and TED, an organisation of people who ‘believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.’

  1. In this article on Creativity and education Judy O’Connell says that

‘Every student is creative in some way, and the job of educators is to release and support that creative talent in an appropriate manner.’

She adds that

‘Teaching creatively and for creativity entails taking students on a creative journey where their responses are not predetermined.’

In her article Judy lists some features of teaching for creativity and includes a video of a new school in New Zealand that she suggests fits the criteria. It is quite exciting and worth a look.

  1. In this article shared on Edutopia Do Standards Kill Creativity Claus von Zastrow suggests creative ways of teaching creativity while teaching standards.

Linking of subject areas, as we used to do through ‘themes’ in the old days, or more recently ‘integrated units’, before subjects were divided and each given their own slot in the timetable, was one suggestion.  A number of varied and interesting comments accompany the article.

  1. I have previously shared this TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson on How schools kill creativity here and here. If you have not yet listened to it, please do. As well as sharing a very important message, Ken is a very entertaining speaker. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

4. Following on from that talk is this article by Bruce Price shared on examiner.com Ken Robinson and the Factory Method of Education. The article shares an animated talk by Ken Changing Education Paradigms.

Bruce does not agree with Ken’s views and warns readers to be sceptical of information imparted by Ken. He says that Ken’s opposition to traditional schooling is unhelpful and argues that, unlike most others referenced here, that creativity cannot be taught.

5. In this article by Deepak Kulkarni Recreational and Educational Value of Math Puzzles shared on Edutopia the suggestion is made that creative problem solving can be taught using maths puzzles.

6. A variety of Techniques for creative teaching are shared on the Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching website which states that

in order to teach creativity, one must teach creatively’.

7. In yet another article shared on Edutopia, Andrew Miller states enthusiastically Yes, You Can Teach and Assess Creativity! Andrew provides suggestions for recognising creativity as well as teaching and assessing it.

8. Also on Edutopia, Diane Darrow talks about Creativity on the Run: 18 Apps that Support the Creative Process.

9. In this rather long TED talk on his life, authenticity vs karaoke culture Malcolm McLaren postulates that ‘we’re living in a karaoke culture, with false promises of instant success, and that messiness and failure are the key to true learning.’ He talks about his own schooling and attitude to creativity.

10. Michael Michalki shared an article on Edutopia regarding what he considers the 7 Tenets of Creative Thinking, including:

Believe you are creative

‘While creative people believe they are creative, those who don’t hold that belief are not.’

Work at it and ‘produce an incredible number of ideas — most of which (may be) bad. He says that

‘more bad poems were written by major poets than by minor poets’.

Go through the motions – ‘Every hour spent activating your mind by generating ideas increases creativity’; visualise what you want and go for it.

On his own website Creative Thinking, Michael Michalko suggests many more ideas for getting you to think creatively.

The header of Michael’s website states that “A grapefruit is a lemon that took a chance.”

lemons and grapefruit

So which are you: a lemon or a grapefruit?

I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post and let me know whether you agree or disagree with the value of creativity and if it can be taught.

Thanks for reading.

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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