Monday, March 12, 2012

Sir Ken...

TED Talk: Ken Robinson

Look out educational reform is occurring. It has been, is, and will be for many to come. In this animation video of TED Talk, Sir Ken Robinson explains the gist of the reform focusing on...
1. Economic reform- How do we educate children to take their role in our ever-changing economy?
2. Cultural reform- How do we educate our children to continue their cultural background and beliefs while being a part of globalization?

Our current education model is not so current and seems to be failing. Built for an earlier time, this model is not challenging students of today's society. He suggests the thought of "changing paradigm."  Let's go in the opposite direction of our education system and break learning down. Can there be many answers to one question?


The problem Robinson brings into play is the overall education system itself. 
Raise standards...Raise standards. 
We all have heard that, but really that is common sense. No? The question now is... how  do we raise the standards? Our education model, as previously stated, is based on the time it was created. The cultural and intellectual movement of the Enlightenment paired with the economy of the Industrial Revolution saw rise to the first "fitted" education model...which we are basically still using today. Taxation paid for free education for all.

However times are different and our children are growing up under very different circumstances. So shouldn't our education system fit that? Students use to partake in the system, get the education, and get a job. Today they can get the degree, but that doesn't guarantee a job at all. So what's the point? The children are losing interest.

Robinson points out the methodological and and systematic approach of factory like schooling. We herd kids in and they go through the line. Divided subjects, divided classes. Here is the question. Give the answer. Don't cheat.

It seems the major thing our children have in common is their birth year. Why are we grouping them this way? Students excel at different rates through different ways. We all know that 2 students the same age can be at very different levels. So why build a system on that premise?

Robinson reaches his conclusion that we are hindering each child from reaching their potential because of a failing factory-like system.  The economic imperative and model of the mind has resulted in 2 types of people
1. Smart vs. not smart.
2. Academic vs. on-academic.

Because of this we stop learning. Brilliant people are out there that don't even think they are. There is chaos. We have to reform the way in which we think in order to reform the way in which we learn.

With divergent thinking students can perform on a genius level. Coming up with hundreds of answers to one question, most of these thinkers are found at the kindergarten level. (98%) Thusly, after a few years, around the ages of 8-10 this cuts down to about 50%. So it seems that as the education continues the ideas of thinking freely deteriorate.


Robinson introduces the modern plagues of ADHD.  

Children are being diagnosed daily with a "fictitious" epidemic. Running wild with ideas and distraction, we must make them focus. To do this we are medicating the "hyper" students with calming medicine. 

In reality, our students are living in the most stimulating times ever know. With technology everywhere, they are being bombarded with information. Instead of taking all of this information and waking the mind of students, we are shutting them down with medications and focusing on one thing at a time. Thus we are making them uninterested and cutting down their learning capacity.


As a teacher, if I continue to teach the same basic method I will be limiting my students. Even in this class we all stress on getting the right answer and making the grade. But what if there is more than one answer?

We must think on our own and get out of this conformity. Think outside the box.


As a pre-service teacher, I can take this idea and reform the way I think. The importance is not in the answer but in the question. How do I see it? How can I answer it? Are there even limitations?

Once I get in this mindset I will be able to start challenging my students to as well. 

Going away from this, I take one main challenge. We need to think differently of the human capacity. We seem to be limiting ourselves more than challenging our minds. Group thinking , thinking for our surroundings, and thinking from different viewpoints can all affect the way in which we learn.

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