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Sir Ken Robinson's Radical Question: What if Education Was Rooted in Diversity?

Skip the standardized tests and bring on the creativity.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDhhIghXxfo&feature=youtu.be

How do you get people to pay attention to the conversation about education? Forget the stuffy academic lectures, and take a page from the U.K.'s Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce's playbook. Back in 2008, they turned an hour-long talk by creativity and education expert Sir Ken Robinson into an 11-minute animated video spelling out how the real problem in our schools is our antiquated, industrial-age education model that promotes conformity and a narrow view of intelligenceand millions of people around the globe watched it. Fortunately for us, Robinson's still teaming up with the RSA and they're still animating his thought-provoking insights into what's wrong with our schools and how we can fix it.

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Earlier this year in the Curtis School community, we asked teachers what they want their students to become. They used words like compassionate, cooperative, creative, critically thinking, and curious. We asked parents and guardians to identify the words they'd use to define the future "success" of their children—they used words like independent, open-minded, self-motivated, resilient, and engaged. And we asked 8 to 12-year-old students to describe the very best they hoped to become—they used words like balanced, flexible, enthusiastic, honest, cooperative, and determined.

In October we invited similar input from participants at "Teaching and Learning at Home and at School", a conference held on our campus in Los Angeles for passionate educators and parents/guardians—engaged members of both public and private school communities—to reflect on our common commitments to the lives and the learning of school-aged children at school and at home. The 600 participants were stakeholders from 125 schools and districts—yet nobody used words like accountable, competitive, distinguished, or exceptional.

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Why Is the Most Popular TED Talk of All Time About Education?

What creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson has to say keeps resonating with us.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

It's been six years since TED began making its informative talks available online, enabling the world to watch some of our most brilliant thinkers and activists share their ideas. There are so many good ones that watching them can be addicting. But what's the most viewed TED Talk of all time? According to the TED blog, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson's 2006 talk on why our education system is killing student creativity and why we need to radically rethink our approach to schooling has a lock on the number one spot. As of this writing, Robinson's talk has 13,409,417 views across various online platforms.

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What Does the School of Your Dreams Look Like?

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson shared his vision with some California teens.


Plenty of educators and policymakers have big ideas about how to innovate and transform America's education system to meet 21st-century needs, but have you ever asked yourself what the school of your dreams looks like? It's not an easy question to answer, in part because it's tempting to start making a mental list of all the reasons—lack of funding, school district bureaucracy, political bickering—why change can't happen right now. But at a recent conference in California, world-renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson had no hesitation about sharing his vision for a dream school with representatives from a middle school press corps.

To start, the teens took the money issue off the table by presenting Robinson with a hypothetical blank check—which they promised to sign after he answered their questions. Their first question was pretty easy: What would he call his school? Staying true to his belief that the purpose of education should be to explore ideas, Robinson said he'd name it "Explore Academy." As an advocate of intergenerational learning, Robinson also said his campus would be open to students of all ages.

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