Last week, I watched a TED Talks by Ken Robinson and was very inspired. In his presentation, Ken Robinson explains “How to escape education’s death valley”. As he states, the education legislation in the United States “No child left behind” is very ironic. There are millions of children left behind, there are millions of children who dropout of school. The education system right now is based on conformity and not on diversity as it should be. Humans are naturally different and diverse, therefore, we should be offering support and resources for a diversity of students, students that are all unique.
Although education is based on stem disciplines such as math and science (yes, they are important), the arts, humanities and physical education are the disciplines that stimulate children’s imagination. Ken Robinson said that there are three principles that are crucial for the human mind to flourish.
These are :
1. A broad curriculum that embraces various talents
2. Curiosity (as children are natural learners)
3. Human life is inherently creative
The principles are a starting point to ensure that students are engaged and that their imagination is stimulated, as a result, they are learning. Education is seen like an industrialization process, but really, it is a human system and it is about people. As every human being is different and diverse, we should be able to adapt our learning and teaching so that every person can explore the natural talents that are buried beneath the surface.
“Human life is inherently creative. It’s why we all have different résumés. … It’s why human culture is so interesting and diverse and dynamic.”— Ken Robinson
Ken Robinson gave the example of Finland, where they employ a broad curriculum, where there are no standardized testing and where the dropout rate is 0%. How can the dropout rate be at zero? As we are all different, we learn in different ways and different things will stimulate our imagination and our curiosity. If we are not stimulated, then we are not engaged or interested in learning, therefore some students can dropout for those reasons. Then again, there is a specific reason that is different from one student to another as to why they would decide to quit school. In Finland, they offer services and have multiple resources available to help and support the students (wether they want to dropout or not) in their unique situations. By offering the support and resources necessary, there is no reason to dropout.
There are many other aspects of Robinson’s presentation that I want to explore, but I will end my post with the story he told about Death Valley. Death Valley is a place where nothing grows and nothing has grown in a really, really long time because it never rains. In 2005, 7 inches of rain fell upon the valley and the next day, the valley was covered in little flowers. “Death Valley is not dead, it is dormant. Seeds of possibilities are hidden underneath the surface”, this statement marked me as he previously explained how humans are organic beings, therefore even if we are looking at a student that we consider a “lost case”, we are wrong. There are many possibilities and talents that are hidden beneath that student’s surface and if we give them the proper resources and support, then everything is possible.