Last night I went to hear Sir Ken Robinson speak about Education, Innovation, Creativity and Following Your Passions.
Sir Ken Robinson is this guy
Have you ever heard of TED talks? If you have then this next sentence will mean something to you. If you haven’t, then I guess you may be lost for a brief second.
Sir Ken Robinson is the most watched TED talks video ever posted on the internet. His lectures have been viewed over 200 million times on the internet and has been proven to be more popular then the lectures on TED talks from the late Steve Jobs and many other exciting speakers.
If you don’t believe me, check out this link of the Top 20 most viewed Ted Talks lectures
I want to say that Sir Ken Robinson was by far the most inspiring person I have ever heard speak, not to mention the funniest. He had the most captivating lecture and for the first time in years I sat still for an entire hour and a half. The time flew by within minutes and I actually felt as though I was mourning the loss of the lecture once it ended. After about 30 minutes of feeling like I was in some intellectual trance listening to this man speak I decided to get out a piece of paper and furiously write everything that was coming out of his mouth.
I am now going to detail what I heard this man say last night in no particular order. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. It was really inspiring and has had me thinking all night into this morning.
Note: This is not what he said verbatim but it’s pretty close. Unfortunately my short-term memory and ability to jot down in real-time what people are saying cannot be 100% accurate. I tried my best though. I have put some of my favorite lines in bold text to stand out.
- Life is organic, not linear yet our education system sets out a linear path for us to conform to.
- In no way is it the teacher’s fault that our education system in America is failing our children. It is the system that needs to be changed.
- Our education system is set up to be standardized and for children and young adults to conform to a plan set out for them by people who do not have their best interests passions and drive in mind or at heart
- He used a parallel example of fast food……These places have a standardized menu, you know what you are going to get, it never changes. This same menu has created a diabetes and the obesity epidemic. On the other hand, Zagat allows for creative freedoms and passion and doesn’t tell restaurants what they can serve, can’t, how they should decorate, what time they open and close etc. etc. and what has evolved from that system of diversity and freedom is a choice of excellent establishments and places that people want to go, explore and enjoy. We need to apply this same philosophy to school and teaching our children.
- The way we treat human talent in children and young adults needs to be re-evaluated.
- 1 in 33 people are incarnated in the United States and most of these people are school drop-outs, were not supported by the education system, their own families etc. The majority of our spending is on the punitive end and not in education. This needs to be in reverse.
- We narrow the education path and force our children to walk along and don’t allow for personal choice or interests. We don’t value diversity as much as we say we do.
- The school system divides courses into what opinion has deemed useful and useless. When our children or young adults have passions and interests that fall in the “useless” category, the system will try to convince them to change their minds to take a more practical journey or study a certain degree. This does not work. People end up being suffocated and ripped away from what truly drives them, ultimately landing them in careers or jobs that they do not feel connected to or doesn’t make them happy which ends up affecting every aspect of their life.
- Baby Boomers were promised jobs. A degree was a passport to a job. This is no longer the case. People with advanced degrees are out of job and struggling. This does not mean that degrees are worthless, it means that the world is changing. People need to figure out what they want to do before they get pressured into attending college, possibly spending a lot of time and money on a degree that they do not feel connected to or interested in. If people go to college because they feel pressured they may very well graduate with their degree, enter the real world and still have no idea what to do next or where to go. GIVE PEOPLE TIME. Support their interests and passions.
- Communities depend on all courses of life, passions, trade, talents etc. Many people are surviving without a degree. It can be tough at times but if people are choosing to live a life that they want and feel connected to then we should support that and not belittle it.
- Every single human being is unique. No one person is alike. Our lives are filled and made up of our experiences, triumphs, failures, thoughts, talent, energy, passions etc. The life we are living today will never be the one that we completely, 100% envisioned for ourselves when we were growing it. It may look similar or not. The people we married, the people we left, the people we spend time with, the community we live in etc. was unpredictable and evolved organically. Opportunities arise out of our creativity, meeting others, networking, seeking it, exposing ourselves to experience. This entire philosophy and truth to the human experience is not supported by our education system and contradicts it the human experience.
- He gave some really cool examples like how Elvis was not allowed in the Glee club at his school because they were worried that he would ruin their sound. Sir Ken Robinson is friends with Paul McCartney who told him that in the 50’s he was in a music program at school which he hated. The teacher told him he had no musical talent. George Harrison went to the same school and had the same experience. Clearly, these teachers and clubs were wrong about these people. Clearly. They were basing their opinions on conformity and a standardized program that they wanted all children to follow.
- Children are over-diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. There are children that are in fact diagnosed correctly but a lot aren’t. We need to stop blaming the children or pretending like it’s as simple as saying they have a attention-deficit disorder. We stick our children in systems that tend to be boring. They can’t concentrate because of the boredom and therefore act out. We are making them sit for 8 hours a day doing clerical work and then we are confused when this doesn’t work.
- WE AVOID THE RISK OF ALLOWING PEOPLE TO TAKE THEIR TRUE COURSE OF ACTION. THIS COMES WITH A HUGE CONSEQUENCE FOR THE INDIVIDUAL AND OUR COMMUNITIES.
- “To be born is a miracle-what are you going to do with your life?”
- Use passions to drive talent, to contribute to ourselves and our community and to live the life we want for ourselves.
I am going to end this “highlighted lecture section” with one of my favorite things he said last night. It was this:
Death Valley is known as a place in California that does not have any life due to the lack of water. In 2005 there was a storm that brought water to the plains of Death Valley resulting in the blooming of flowers and beautiful life.
What this proved was Death Valley is NOT dead. It was dawned. Organic Intervention = the flourishing and growth of Death Valley for that brief moment of time. Harsh Environments = Major difficulties in growth and at times, death. This same idea and evidence can be applied to human life and our experience with what we do with the time we are here.
Here are some pictures of Death Valley after their organic intervention 🙂
If you are interested in hearing Sir Ken Robinson speak you can Youtube one of his many videos or you can just watch this one:
Thanks for reading!