📑 Sir Ken Robinson obituary

Bookmarked Sir Ken Robinson obituary (theguardian.com)

Educationist who argued that children’s creativity is stifled by school systems that prioritise academic achievement

Stephen Bates reflects upon the life and legacy of Sir Ken Robinson. One of the things that I am reminded of in reading the obituary is that his famous TED Talk was far from an overnight success. Instead, it was a culmination of years of experience.

Understandably, this was much more enticing to the education profession than it was to government ministers, but it was based not on a single speech but Robinson’s whole career in academic education, which culminated in a professorship at Warwick University (1989-2001), before he became a senior adviser to the J Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles.

In his own reflection, Justin Bathon talks about the way in which Robinson ‘pollinated a shift in paradigm’:

For me, and I think a great many others, Sir Ken pollinated a shift in paradigm. For the millions who watched his videos, read his books, or listened to speeches, he prepared the soil and created the conditions for us to grow our own new notions of how we might help learning flourish. The task of growing the complex, organic ecosystems in which all children might flourish then is left to us. Happily, Sir Ken, and many others, have helped to pollinate these ideas so widely that a global effort to grow these more organic models of school has inspired models of Creative Schools to bloom all across the planet. 

It is interesting the think about his legacy as a mental reference.

Alan Thwaites approaches point of view and personality with the question, are you Sir Ken Robinson, Professor Brian Cox or Rupert Murdoch to your students? This question stemmed from the growing tendency of schools to ask such questions during job interviews to learn more about the applicant. In his post, he discusses what each would do in the position of curriculum coordinator. He then closes with the question as to who your students see you as?

I always felt challenged. However, i was also a little bit sceptical about a call for revolution presented in fifteen minutes.

Provoked, Will Richardson wrote a passionate post wondering if in worrying about feelings we have lost the ability to truly listen and debate. This was then followed by a post from Dean Shareski who suggested that a strength-based approach was a better answer, where instead of giving our attention to what is wrong, we stop and celebrate what is right, reflecting on what works. Although, like Shareski, I see a place for a critique of the system from those compass barers like Will Richardson, Ken Robinson and Seth Godin, I wonder if we highlight those good things enough.

I think that the reality is that I have never read any of his books. Maybe I should.

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