I recently watched Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk How to Escape Education’s Death Valley, and it made me smile, then worry, and finally, hope.
Sir Robinson made me smile with his quick wit, clever wording, and honesty throughout his TED Talk. His three main points, human beings are naturally different and divers, curiosity is essential, and human life is inherently creative, made me glad and grateful to hear the ideas that I did not have the words share validated and more clearly understood. If I had seen this video before I wrote my philosophy of ed the first semester of grad school, one it would have been a better paper, and two it would be much more true to what I think my education and teaching should be. I live in hope that inspiration knows far better than I do the prime time to strike so it is probably for the best that I am only now watching and writing about this.
The TED Talk made me worry. I was not worried for the safety of the speaker, the audience, or even the lecture. I was worried about the reason this talk needed to be given and shared. It is not a good thing when America’s educational system is compared to Death Valley. Deserts do not just pop up out of nowhere, there are conditions and ingredients they need to exist as well as the lacking of the conditions and ingredients that keep the desert at bay. One main factor in America’s desertification of our educational system is the top down decisions that lead to schools and education being viewed as a mechanical process that’s worth is solely measured in standardized test scores. Long sentence. Long messy sentence. Our education system here is also long, long overdue for some changes so that the mess generations of students have been put through can be tidied up.
Sir Robinson’s talk made me hopeful. His message was well received by the audience and seems to echo what many teachers believe and what studies know to be true about teaching and learning. For learning and not just education to occur there needs to be outlets and opportunities for all students to learn through the arts, humanities, physical education, and the STEM that everyone has been raving about. We need to let children be children and find what subjects and experiences they like, dislike, challenge them, and inspire them, and cause them to wonder and create. The only successful way to do all of that is to provide diverse and holistic learning opportunities for every child without limitations and with compassion and support. I am hopeful because there are those out there who believe and teach this way. It is my goal to be one of them because both students and teachers deserve and educational experience that can bloom.