The textbook-style of writing makes Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education a little boring to read. However, a lot of what the late Sir Ken Robinson wrote contains elements of truth that cannot be disputed, e.g. the damage PISA has done to our generation of learners, particularly the price being paid by students and teachers in the massive international effort to move up the PISA ranks.
“Education is about living people, not inanimate things. If we think of students as products or data points, we misunderstand how education should be. Products, from screws to airplanes, have no opinions or feelings about how they are produced or what happens to them. People do. They have motivations, feelings, circumstances, and talents.”
Robinson argued that schools operate under the paradigm that kids are naturally lazy and need to be forced to learn. What happens over the course of seven or eight years is that this becomes self-fulfilling. If you force kids to learn things they're not interested in for seven or eight years, after a while you tend to extinguish that natural ability to learn.
The author also went to great lengths explaining how systems of mass education were designed around industrial principles. The standards movement, applying these principles, is based on compliance in curriculum, teaching, and assessment, organized as a series of stages, from elementary school to high school to higher education.
While many of the concepts highlighted by the author sound like common sense, the devil is in the details.
Some of the chapters may not appeal to you, especially if you're neither an educator nor a principal. I would suggest you skip those. It will not lessen the key takeaways from the book because many of the concepts are repeated elsewhere under a different topic or a different case study.
Neil Johnston recorded this song with 400 students at Gaywood Primary School to demonstrate how teaching student music works by having them play songs rather than simply study songs.
Books mentioned in Creative Schools that you might be interested in:
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Proud father of two lovely kids, who at times pushed me to seriously consider editing out the word “lovely” from this sentence. (I am not alone in this.)
Our aim is to help our children discover their talents, realise their full potential, and develop a passion for life-long learning.