The Legacy of Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson, a British author and speaker who shook up the education world with his talk that questioned “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” passed away on August 21 from a brief battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.
With 66 million views, his TED Talk in February 2006 is the most viewed presentation in their organization’s history. According to Robinson, creativity is as important in education as literacy, and he challenged educators to radically rethink their view of intelligence to see our children’s creative capacities for the riches that they are.
“His legacy is a clear and powerful takedown of the world’s current educational paradigm,” wrote Brandon Busteed in a memorial column for Forbes. “Schools, he argued, focus most of their time on things like rote memorization and knowledge-mastery. He provided compelling evidence that not only do schools do a poor job of promoting creativity, they actually kill it through a system designed to produce students in factory-style outputs.”
Robinson believed that formal education was guilty of strip-mining children’s minds solely for particular commodities that help students get into college. Instead, he hoped to challenge educators and teachers to be willing to try something different. That message may be especially relevant as schools begin another year in the context of the coronavirus.
“As the world grapples with a global pandemic and educators, students, and parents navigate the challenges of the upcoming school year, it is a perfect time to reflect on the wisdom of Sir Ken Robinson.,” wrote Busteed. “Can we stretch our own thinking about the kind of thinking we want students to engage with? Can we create more opportunities for them to ‘draw from a blank canvas’ and put their ideas into applied action? Can we find more ways to allow students to flourish in their own unique ways using their own unique strengths?”