Ken Robinson on passionate learning

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson by Sebastiaan ter Burg

[Sir Ken Robinson's] early career focused on bringing more arts education into British schools and from there he became an internationally known authority on the value and power of creativity. He’s advised governments around the world on arts education and innovation…

Robinson challenged the audience to create schools that are more personal and give students rein to explore topics that match their aptitude and passions. Too many people don’t like their jobs, and it shouldn’t be that way, Robinson said. “If you’re doing something you love, an hour feels like five minutes,” he said.

He urged educators to stop teaching subjects in isolation — algebra I, chemistry, American literature and so on, and instead bring history, science, math and art together — just as they mingle in real life. Remove architectural barriers that put the English faculty in one wing, the math people in the other, Robinson said. Principals, he said, are the heart of education and they need to be allowed to lead.

And while he conceded that there are forces blocking the path to more creative schools, Robinson said there is more room for innovation in contemporary schools than some might think. He reminded the crowd that Shakespeare managed to write very fine poetry without veering from traditional sonnet form.

“There is much more freedom in the system than what we choose to exercise,” Robinson said.

In: Noted, Transformation

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