Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blog Post #12

How to Escape Education's Death Valley

Summarized by: Keri Brown
Sir Ken Robinson begins by giving us a statistic that states "in some parts of the country 60% of kids drop out of high school, in the Native American community it is 80% of kids." This is a very sad fact to think about in our educational systems. One estimate about this is that if we half that number, that would create a net gain to the US economy over ten years of nearly a trillion dollars. Mr. Robinson explains that American spends enough money on education, America has small class sizes for the most part, and we have hundreds of initiatives to improve education. All of these impacts on education are good, but they are all going in the wrong way.

In this video, Sir Ken Robinson outlines three principles that are crucial for the human mind to flourish and how current education culture works against them. The first principle he discussed was that human beings are naturally different and diverse. The education under the No Child Left Behind Act is based on conformity not diversity. Schools need to start focusing on the arts, humanities, and physical education more rather than just the core subjects. One estimate says that nearly ten percent of kids are being diagnosed ADD and ADHD. Mr. Robinson says that "children are not suffering from psychological condition, but yet childhood itself. Kids prosper best with a broad curriculum which includes all of their interests." The second principle Robinson discussed is curiosity. He says that we are all natural learners, we just need something to spark learning. Teaching is a creative profession, and in this profession we need to mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage our students. Education is all about learning, and as teachers we have to facilitate learning. Robinson says that standardized test should not be the dominant part of education. They are good, but they are not everything. Standardized tests should support learning, not obstruct it. Instead of curiosity we have a culture of compliance and teachers are encouraged to follow "routine algorithms" rather than to excite that power of imagination and curiosity. The third principle Robinson addressed was that "human life is inherently creative, it's why we all have different resumes." He talked about how we create our lives and we can re-create them. Robinson compared Finland to a state in America by saying that when he was at a conference and someone asked their educational leaders about their drop out rate, they looked funny and stated they do not have a drop out rate because when kids have trouble they get help and they have a very broad curriculum. In the United States of America we need to begin by individualizing education and learning. The responsibility of this should be on the school level to "get the job done." Education is not an industrial process based on mechanics, it is a human system. Sir Ken Robinson ends his discussion by saying that "the culture of the school is essential. The "Death Valley isn't dead, it's dormant. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about."

I loved watching this discussion. I feel like we have lost sight of the creativity that is necessary in education. Mr. Robinson had so many wonderful and true points. I completely agree that standardized tests are good to have, but they should not be everything. I feel that students learn better when they are interested and actively engaged in what they are learning. I hope to be a creative mentor to my future students.


Changing Education Paradigms
Summarized by: Kenesha Brown
In Sir Ken Robinson’s video, Changing Education Paradigm, he explains how every country is reforming public schools. The main reason why public education is reforming is because of economics and culture. With economics, people are trying to figure out a way to educate children in the 21st century, given that people cannot anticipate what the economy will look like at the end of the week (Robinson). With culture, on the other hand, people are trying to figure out a way to educate children so that they will have some type of cultural identity. However, where the problem lies with education is educators are trying to meet the future by doing what they have done in the past.

A lot of kids are being alienated because they don’t know the purpose of their education. Robinson explains how when he was younger he was taught to go to school, work hard and in the long run, hard work pays off; however, kids these days don’t believe in that. As educators, we have to raise standards, but the current system is designed and conceived for a different era. The educational system is conceived in the intellectual culture of enlightenment. Robinson tells us that before the 18th century there was no form of public education. Mostly wealthy families could afford schooling. Public education gives compulsory to everyone. It is funded by taxation and free at the point of delivery. On the contrary, a lot of people objected to public education. They felt as if it was impossible for poor and work class families’ children to benefit from getting an education. People believe that these children were incapable of learning how to read and write.

Robinson explains how public education base kids’ academic ability off of deducting reasoning and knowledge of the classic. Children who are smart are considered academic; children who are not smart are considered non-academic. However, non-academic children don’t know how brilliant they really are. Robinson views the model of education as trouble. He explains that the modern epidemic of education is ADHD; however, this is not an epidemic. “Children are being medicated routinely” (Robinson).In today’s society, kids are living in the most stimulating time in the history on the earth. They have a more advance perspective of how technology works. Instead, they are being force with information. Their attention is being pulled away from every technological platform. Lecturing is becoming boring. Children are getting through education by being anaesthetized. Instead of shutting students’ senses off and deadening them to what’s happening teachers should be waking them up.

In addition, Robinson tells us that education is modeled on the interest of industrialization. Schools are being organized as if they are factory lines. Children are being educated in batches, age groups, instead of ability. Robinson explains that the model of education don’t start from the line of mentality; it is about standardization and changing directions.

“Divergent Thinking is not the same as creativity” (Robinson). Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value; whereas, divergent thinking is an essential capacity of creativity. There are a lot of possible ways to find answers. Teacher should encourage students to find creative ways to interpret a question. Questions can have multiple answers, however, kids are taught there is only one answer and it’s in the back of the book. They are often told not to look or copy because it is cheating, but outside of schools’ walls, it’s collaborating. This is because of the gene pool of education. Sir Ken Robinson made valuable points on how our educational system works. Teachers don’t realize that they are failing our students by not taking advantage of the technological opportunities that is being presented. Great learning happens in groups. Allowing students to collaborate is the stuff to growth in the classroom. As educators we need to embrace our stimulating society and apply real world application to our classrooms. Kids have more advanced opportunities that they need to be exposed too. The educational system from the 18th century has no use for this 21st century generation.

The Importance of Creativity
Summarized by: Chelsea Calvert
Sir Ken Robinson believes that as an educator we have to prepare our students for what the world will be like in just a few years even though we ourselves have no idea. He believes that creativity is just as important as literacy. In every school system the arts at the bottom of importance. Mathematics and English are the two most important things in the education system. Art and music are taught but not on a day to day basis like he believes they should be. He refers to the woman that was a choreographer for the production "Cats." He tells us how even she was a child her teacher thought she had a learning disability because she could not sit still and was a distraction to the class. Her mother took her to the doctor to learn that her daughter did not have a disability she only was able to learn when she was active.

I think that Robinson has made a great point in this video. I had never thought about much the arts get overlooked. Every student learns in different ways and as an educator it is important to meet the students’ needs whatever they may be. Teachers should incorporate the arts into their classroom. Incorporating the arts in lessons would not be difficult to do.

After watching this video, I think the schools are more focused on trying to catch up with today's technology. It seems as if the schools are putting so much money into technology and having less teachers. The school systems have always been low on funding when it comes to teachers so they will get rid of the art teachers first but to be sure that every student has a personal computer to take home.

I think it is important for students to be technology literate but I think that it is equally important for them to be able to express themselves and be creative. The education system needs to find a way for the students to do both. If the school cannot afford to have a teacher for the arts then the classroom teacher needs to be sure to incorporate it into their lessons.

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