Sir Ken Robinson

Random Question: Did you know that Sir Ken Robinson contracted Polio at age 4?
Watch him on a video, you’ll realise that he walks with a limp.  Does it help you understand the man somewhat, to know that?
I love Sir Ken Robinson!  I think he’s got a GREAT name!
First name anyway. I don’t think much of his last name.

I also love his British humour and his style of speaking.
I love both his TED speeches, and especially how he ended both of them with powerfully poignant stories / poems.

I think the first one ended on a story about a young girl who couldn’t sit still.
And I think the second one ended with a poem from Yeats about treading softly on dreams.
Love them both! Go listen!

I think the important thing to take away from this latest presentation is the realisation of just how much we have polarised our education systems (and indeed our worlds) into the “Academic” and “Non-Academic”.

And an interesting point is that I think that the education system in Singapore may actually be ahead of the curve in understanding Sir Ken’s point!
We seem to have done some good for the students who are less academically inclined.
We have recognised that some students may have talents in non-academic areas and have provided for such through ITE and such.

Of course, they’re still marginalised in the sense that people think of them as less intelligent than those who are academically achieving, but that’s a societal problem that isn’t going to be fixed in a day really.

I love the fact that Sir Ken, as an academic himself, can stand up and say that the system that produced him, one that he benefits rather tremendously from, is in fact, flawed.
And I agree with him completely.

Too much emphasis is given to the academic, and too little to the many other branches of knowledge, skill and overall intelligence that falls outside of this narrow view.
Our children grow up thinking that academic grades is the be-all-and-end-all of their existence, and feel inadequate when faced with someone who scored one mark higher than them on the latest English test.

“He solves questions I can’t solve, so he must be smarter than me.”
“He knows words I don’t know, so he must be smarter than me.”
“He scored 1 mark higher than me, so he must be smarter than me.”
“He scored 1 grade higher than me, so he must be smarter than me.”
“He went to a better school than me, so he must be smarter than me.”

Do you, as an educator, find yourself thinking that way sometimes?
If it does, does it surprise you when your students do the same?

What can we, as educators do, to break this dichotomy?

East meets west

I’m gonna have problem finding the coat for my size.

I spent 2 hours in two malls looking for trench coat. Oh! How I regretted not bringing mine over! Ken and I came over with just enough amount of clothing and told ourselves that we could buy more here. The temperature is dropping each new day and we decided that it was high time to go out for those thick clothings, a coat in particular.

So, down the street I went, to my favourite store and the one facing it. I tried out a few which caught my eyes. They were small but looked bigger than my frame when I put them on. They hung on me.

I eventually found one and it’s size 2. The price, however, was rather steep and after adoring it for a while, I decided to hang it back. I need to discuss with da man.

It was to the supermarket that I went, in search of rice flour which I need for the Chinese Carrot Cake that I intended to cook later. By the time I reached home, I was carrying a heavy bag of groceries and a body of tiredness. Shopping is indeed tiring.

I was greeted at the doorway by a parcel and my box of piping tips has arrived! Yipee! And I was raring to cook the carrot cake but after reading the recipe, realised that I have to cool the steamed radish OVERNIGHT. Sigh! I had to think of an alternative for dinner. Looking into my fridge, there were my leftover curry paste, bean sprouts and lobster chunks. Ok. Let’s make a east-meet-west dish, all in a non-stick skillet.

What you will need: Garlic cloves and onions, finely chopped, handful of bean sprouts, lobster chunks and whole-wheat spaghetti.

Fry the chopped garlic and onion.

Heat up the curry paste.

Cook the spaghetti, 8 to 10 minutes.  Put the bean sprouts to the boil too, but for a while.

Toss the spaghetti in, together with the lobster chunks and bean sprouts and you have a meal!