educational topics

How to escape education’s death valley | Sir Ken Robinson

He fired off by mentioning how ironic the slogan ‘No child left behind’ since this approach is doing the exact opposite by leaving millions of children behind. According to Robinson, the proof of the inefficacy of this approach is the high dropout rates in some parts of America – 60% – and in the Native American community – 80%. He continued that, if these dropout rates were halved, it is estimated that a trillion dollars will be added to the American economy in ten years. Furthermore, it costs more to fix the problems caused by the drop out crises than this potential gain. Robinson pointed out that there are a lot of kids in schools who aren’t going to drop out but are disengaged from and disinterested in learning. The reason being the wrong direction of educational spending and efforts.

According to Robinson, there are three principles on which human life flourishes and these are contradicted by the educational system of America.

First, humans are naturally diverse and different from one another. Under ‘No child left behind’, education is based on conformity rather than diversity. An extension of this conformity is the apparent focus on STEM disciplines. Real education according to Robinson, has to give equal weight to all disciplines – arts, humanities, physical education, etc. He reiterated that kids prosper best by having a broad curriculum that exercises their various talents.

Second, curiosity in kids have to be allowed ready expression. Robinson remarked that this is against the culture of ‘No kid left behind’ which deprofessionalizes the teaching profession. He remarked that teachers don’t just pass on information. They engage, listen to, respond to and stimulate the minds of students while fulfilling the role of a teacher which is to facilitate learning. He commented that under the culture of ‘No kids left behind’, there is an inordinate focus on testing which, though important, should not be the dominant culture of education. He agreed that there is a place for standardized testing, but not to the point where it obstructs rather than support learning…read more….


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