Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sir Ken Robinson at EduTECH – in the flesh!

Sir Ken in person has been a highlight. The anticipation was high and this often leads to a bit of a ‘let-down’ moment, BUT not this time.  Despite him being so out there in the on-line world (I stalk him on Ted Talk, own and have read his books  - spent most of 2013 gushing over ‘The Element), his presentation was fresh, provocative, funny and serious all at the same time. 

I loved his analogy of our traditional education system being like industrial farming:  caged, controlled, dictated, system and outcome driven – producing the same.

The challenge is for Educators / Education  to become ‘organic’.  Check out Claire’s blog on Sir Ken that explains the 4 principles of organic farming that need to be applied to education:

  • Health – create conditions for well-being.  With the emphasis not on the output, but on the culture.
  • Ecology – cherish diversity, not a single culture.
  • Fairness
  • Care
I also loved his reference to human resources being like natural resources – they are there, we just have to keep digging and exploring.   Ultimately our job is to create a climate for growth and this growth comes from beneath.  Sir Ken talked about change happening through growth bubbling up from beneath – it won’t happen from the top down, or if it does – it won’t be healthy growth.

He is a real storyteller and between weaving in and of very funny tales the message was clear that the need to take action and do things differently is urgent.  There is an urgency to make a pedagogical shift and to see education as the tool to be innovative and to make a difference.  Sir Ken talks about the potential everyone has to be creative and talked about creativity as a metaphor for thinking about education differently.  The need to focus on the culture of schools, not on the tests and assessments and results (the outcomes) reminded me of growth mindset and the need for educators to questions what it means to be a ‘teacher’.  Sir Ken reminded us that a lot of learning and knowledge our kids acquire, is what they learn themselves. (Example; We don’t teach out kids to speak, they learn).  Our role is to encourage, facilitate and guide. 

To sum up:  Change our minds and change our practice.  Rethink and reimagine school culture.  Our role as educators isn’t to impart our knowledge onto / into our kids, but to unleash potential and to foster and guide growth from the inside out. 

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