Thursday, June 24, 2010

The education revolution that is needed...

Ken Robinson talks about how if a person is doing something they enjoy, rather than just enduring it (ie waiting for the weekend!) then time will fly!  An hour can seem like 5 minutes or 5 minutes seem like an hour.

The way education is delivered in schools can either follow an 'endure it' model (the old industrialised model) or the 'enjoy it' model (a revolutionised model that aims to personalise learning).  However, by developing this fully it may come into conflict with 'tyranny of common sense' (national standards??)

Sir Ken emphasises the point that a human community depends on a diversity of talent - not a singular conception of ability.  A linear and standardised education system just does not suffice anymore.  He uses the illustration that you don't describe a 3 year old as half a 6 year old!

While we have a national curriculum that gives license to localise things like National Standards show the conflict that we are still embroiled in.  Sir Ken talks of how we need to rise with the situation (not to) and to think and act anew - to disenthrall (cool word) ourselves from the current situation!  He references this from a quote taken from the closing remarks of a speech that Abraham Lincoln was giving to the 2nd annual meeting of congress in December 1862 just One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation:

"The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

What enthralls us that we must disenthrall ourselves from?
What excites our spirit and gives us energy?  What does this for our students? 

The battle of systems or models must move from the industrialised one to one that is more organic in nature - as Sir Ken says - based on the principles of agriculture.  

I believe that at Myross Bush School we are working to develop a curriculum that gives conditions for our people - both teachers and students - to flourish.  By thinking about what each curriculum area means in our local school context and the 'Big ideas' that we are looking to develop across the different strands will help build a framework that will support the direction of our inquiry learning.  Tying this in with our values and how the KC's could develop across the levels and ages will give us a profile of the Myross Bush learner and further scaffold the structure of our thinking curriculum!

Sir Ken concludes with a poem from W. B. Yeats (that is below) which he used to illustrate the picture of how our students - and indeed ourselves(?) - spread their dreams everyday as they go about their learning.  

I wonder - how often do we lift these up dreams up?  Or how often are they trampled? 

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

    HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and half-light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams...
    William Butler Yeats
The full TED TALK is here for your enjoyment and reflection!


  1. This is inspiring. Thanks for sharing it with us. It makes you think about why you are a teacher and how you need to fight to retain the interest, motivation and passion of and for teaching and learning - both for students and teachers.

  2. He's rewriting his book. Shall we order it?? Might make for some very interesting professional reading.