Thursday, December 1, 2011

Video response: Sir Ken Robinson Speech--

I was pleasantly surprised with how funny and engaging Sir Ken Robinson is to watch! He tackles real issues and raises important questions—all while making us laugh! It is such a delight to watch him speak about the Arts and Education! If only more speakers could have his amazing presence!
As I was watching his video, I was constantly jotting down strong quotes and phrases that were said. I felt like I was being overwhelmed with amazing insight! There was such an abundance of valuable information, yet was somehow effortlessly and eloquently presented in this rather short speech!
I hold a large amount of value in his entire speech, to be honest. Sentence after sentence of thought-changing information! I wish every educator would watch this video. Heck, I wish every person would watch this video. It sure would change some minds about how we run education today!
There are several quotes that stood out in particular to me and I would like the chance to respond to them and expand.
-“Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not…because the things they are good at are highly stigmatized." I find this to be extremely valuable and extremely true! There is such a stigma about what qualities and talents are valued in education and which aren’t. But, why? Why are the arts constantly being put on the back burner? Why are they so undervalued?
-“Creativity is as important as literacy.” And “We are all born creative. The goal is to stay creative as we grow.” Amen! While the value in math, science and English are clear; skills like imagination, creativity, and art- making are under-valued. As a result, we are fostering students who can write a hell of a paper, who can do calculus and chemistry with ease—but who are not fully prepared for the real word (for the working world) because they lack the means to express their ideas in a creative way. They lack the skills to create and use their imaginations.  Why can’t ALL areas of learning be seen as equals? Why can’t we strip away the stigma and simply allow people to excel in what they are good at? What they have a natural drive, passion and talent for? Or, as Robinson says, “what you’ve been gifted to do.” Why are we as educators stifling children’s creativity?
-“Mistakes are seen as bad, but if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original!” I think this is one of the largest problems in education today. Even as adults, we are all terrified of making mistakes, of failing—because we have been brainwashed that this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. Being wrong! Making a mistake! Being…a human—oh, no! Where did this come from and why does it hold such a strong hold on learners in today’s society? How can we as educators break this hold?
-The story about Jillian Lane really struck a chord with me. I actually began to cry when I heard this story. It was truly beautiful and moving, but at the same time it made me wonder…what would have happened to Jillian if she had gone to some other therapist? One who didn’t simply see her as a different kind of learner? Who didn’t see her as a dancer who needed to embrace her natural talent and love for movement? Would she have become who she is today? Are we as educators, hindering what our students could do? What they could become --due to our set definitions and stereotypes about learning and what skills are valued or not valued? Is that student who can’t sit still in class unfocused, or do they just need to express their learning in another way? Are they a dancer? Could he/she be the next Jillian Lane? Is the child who constantly doodles during lecture the next Van Gogh? Maybe and maybe not. But if we stifle that creativity-- if we assign values to some skills and strip them away from others—if we try to change who people really are, we will never know.  
If you liked this video, you should watch his follow up video. It is equally fabulous! 

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