Schools kill creativity - education expert

Education expert Sir Ken Robinson wants to revolutionise how education works, saying the current system prioritises a narrow definition of intellect.

"There was a time that being educated meant you could speak Latin. Then there was a time that it meant having gone to university. I'm trying to get people to think differently."

Sir Ken, a professor at the University of Warwick, says education systems worldwide have become overly focused on a narrow kind of ability that we call "academic work".

"What happens is we often confuse academic ability with intelligence more generally and I think that's something we really need to revisit."

Sir Ken has given a TED Talk on the subject, titled 'Do schools kill creativity?' viewed over 50 million times online.

He says being educated should mean understanding the world around you and how it came to be the way it is.

"Being educated means being literate in a cultural sense."

He says that while subjects such as science and math are important, equally important subjects such as art and music and drama are being pushed out, to children's detriment.

"I think it's important that everyone practices the sciences in a creative and inquisitive way but I think it's equally important for them to practice the arts".

When discussing standardised testing, Sir Ken says the evidence everywhere is that they don't work. He says an emphasis on grades has caused us to "los a sense of the vitality of education and how it ought to work".

"We aren't manufacturing sprockets. These are people. Young people whose education has a crucial bearing on the life they lead and whether or not they discover the possibilities that lie in themselves."

He says education should be more personal to the individual student but acknowledges that there should be a broadly agreed framework for the curriculum.

"What personalisation means in this case is making sure that teaching is differentiated to the different talents and rates of learning of individual children. Teaching isn't just a process of transmission, it's a relationship."

Sir Ken thinks that teaching is as much about knowing how to engage students as it is about being an expert in your field.

"My contention is that creativity is as important in education as literacy and should be given the same status."

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