I have decided to do a series on education. Not because I am opposed to the public school system (which I am, on many levels), and not because I think everyone should homeschool (which I do, more or less), but because all of us are affected by the way we collectively educate our children. And if something we place so much stock in could be improved, or is perhaps even harmful to some children, shouldn’t we all be willing to consider alternatives?
“I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my 25 years of teaching — that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aids and administrators but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard the institution is psychopathic, it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to different cell where he must memorize that man and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.” John Taylor Gatto, Teacher of the Year Acceptance Speech
And while I think there are many different ways to educate a child (precisely what this series is about) and so not “a” right way, our greatest dilemma is thinking that there is only one way to educate–by the same classroom method you and I were taught, the same method proving substantially lacking for producing well-rounded, equipped-for-life individuals. (I keep envisioning a t-shirt that says, “Everything I’ve ever learned, I learned after graduation.”)
There are so many problems with the current system of education, we will have to take them one at a time. Ken Robinson gives a brilliant, hilarious and deeply thought-provoking spin on the tragedy of killing our creativity in the system (and why that is so bad), and what it does to swarms of brilliant kids. He also briefly mentions a little about the history of the system and why it was created, which should give us great pause. This is a talk you don’t want to miss!
“[Reform] in education is no use anymore. Because that is simply improving a broken model…this has to be transformed into something else.” Ken Robinson, Bring on the Learning Revolution
Robinson’s follow-up talk, Bring on the Revolution, given four years later, is equally brilliant if not more helpful in revealing the problems of our current educational system.