The TES post Sir Ken Robinson: ‘The education system is a dangerous myth has an exclusive extract from Sir Ken’s new book Creative Schools: revolutionizing education from the ground up. As I read the words, I can hear Sir Ken delivering his serious message in his inimitable dry humour. Read this short extract for example:
Abattoirs are designed to kill animals. And they work. Very few escape and form survivors’ clubs.
He follows this amusing analogy, with his main educational message:
If you design a system to do something specific, don’t be surprised if it does it. If you run an education system based on standardisation and conformity, which suppresses individuality, imagination and creativity, don’t be surprised if that’s what it does.
There’s a difference between symptoms and causes. There are many symptoms of the current malaise in education and they won’t be relieved unless we understand the deeper problems underlying them. One is the industrial character of public education. The issue in a nutshell is this: most developed countries did not have mass systems of public education much before the mid-19th century. These systems were developed to meet the labour needs of the Industrial Revolution and they are organised on the principles of mass production. The standards movement is allegedly focused on making these systems more efficient and accountable. The problem is that these systems are inherently unsuited to the wholly different circumstances of the 21st century.
Creative Schools: revolutionizing education from the ground up by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica is published by Allen Lane. http://www.penguin.co.uk
This theme is one that Sir Ken has talked about very eloquently before, e.g. in February 2006 at TED2006. It would be good if someone in government had taken notice.