Saturday 29 August 2020

Daily TED Talks

I blogged recently about how much I'm enjoying listening to Podcasts. Since then I've gathered quite a list of regulars. My most recent addition to the 'Favourites' tab is Daily TED Talks. A new TED Talk is posted up every day. A few days ago they posted a talk called 'Do schools kill creativity?' It's from the archives but was repeated because the speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, sadly died last week. He was an accomplished speaker, winning the audience over with light-hearted banter and then subtly dropping the serious stuff in. I won't spoil any of it by telling you my favourite bits from his talk because I'm hoping that, if you haven't already heard it, you go and listen. It's well worth sparing 20 minutes out of your manic day. The link is below.

I have very firm opinions about the subject matter. Yes, schools do, indeed, kill creativity. When I taught in a primary school I used to love watching the nursery children bounce into the hall for school assembly, broad grins on their faces, keen to find out everything they could about the world. As each year group filed into the hall the smiles faded and by the time the Year 6 children (aged 10 to 11) arrived there were few smiles and too many glazed eyes. What did we do to those children during their formative years?

That's a rhetorical question. I know full-well what we did. We followed the National Curriculum guidelines. I have to admit to being rusty about today's primary school curriculum but I suspect nothing much has changed. The National Curriculum instructions for the teaching of English was lamentable. I was disappointed, upset and quite honestly I was angry when we were told that we could no longer read a story to the class at the end of the school day. There wasn't enough time and the only fiction they would receive in the classroom was to be short pieces of narrative to be analysed laboriously. 

I have vivid memories of story time when I was their age. I can even remember some of the stories our teacher read. Dr Doolittle was one of my favourites, long before the film was ever thought of.

I could go on to discuss the shortcomings in other subjects but Sir Ken Robinson tells it much better than I do so go along and have a listen. As I said, it's only 20 minutes and when you've heard what he has to say do pop back and make a comment. I'd be interested to hear your views on the subject. 

Do schools kill creativity?