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?

2 thoughts on “Sir Ken Robinson

  1. In another video, Sir Ken mentions that “we’ve come to confuse standardisation with raising (or raised) standards.”

    I think that’s something worth thinking about.

  2. Decided to post my comment here since i remarked the lack of yr posts lately haha

    Dun hv answer to yr last question but I can say as an educator I was hv tension on getting my students to do well and yet also frm experience, results/paper qualification ain’t all… But think our system recognizes that the ‘non-academics’ are increasingly impt and is attempting to make changes. But mayb sometimes in our haste to get things out fast and furious, we kill the gd intentions of the roll out..that’s another story I guess haha

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