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Why Making Creative Schools Requires Radical Change

Forget those plans for a "creativity hour". Education expert Sir Ken Robinson says we need system-wide change—and he's not talking about more testing.

Schools are under pressure to teach creativity and conceptual thinking to students to prepare them for the 21st-century workplace. But at a recent imagination summit in Los Angeles, internationally recognized education expert Sir Ken Robinson warned against the tendency to treat creativity as something you can "add on" to the classroom.


In this video, Robinson discusses his encounters with education officials who hope he'll "recommend a creativity hour, on a Friday, after lunch," as a solution. But that's not enough, he says: with a 30 percent high school dropout rate, "if you take the idea of creativity seriously," it "requires radical change."

And Robinson adds that the emphasis on curriculum-narrowing standardized tests is hurting the cause. Although tests do have a role, he says, the problem is that "they've become the culture of education, the purpose of it, rather than a support for it."

As a result, kids drop out because "education has nothing to do with them,"—and Robinson doesn't blame them for leaving. "They've become fodder for test scores," he says.

Robinson again raised the call for a highly personalized educational experience and a broad curriculum—one that gives students more opportunities to be successful—similar to high performing national education systems like Finland's, which doesn't have a dropout crisis. Ultimately, he says, being creative is simply "a way to do everything more effectively," so it should infuse every aspect of our educational system.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user epSos.de

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