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?


10 comments:

  1. Hi Ros - I saw that Sir Ken had died ... and I had listened to his talk a few years ago - but definitely want to re-listen ... as he's inspirational in his thoughts - sadly ... he was. Someone who could help with much goes too early.

    So I totally agree with you - please take the opportunity to listen to his talk ... so well worth it ...

    I must check out the daily TED talks ... thanks for the reminder ... take care and stay safe - Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary. Good to hear from you. I agree. Sir Ken was inspirational and yes he went too soon.
      You take care and we all need to stay safe in this weird world of ours x

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  2. Stuart Langford30 Aug 2020, 10:02:00

    Yes, a very engaging speaker, and that excellent TED talk from 2006 tried to make the argument that so many art, design, music, dance and drama teachers have always being trying to make...that the curriculum needs to get some balance, so that the arts can thrive, and be valued. All the talk of the arts being a 40 billion pound industry mean nothing in the face of a Tory-driven system based on their own stifled educations at private schools, and Eton! 'Facts laddie!!' they claim to be the basis of their own successful educational journeys. Yeah, I'm off to learn my kings and queens like some idiot Eggheads contestant...So long as the arts continue to be starved of funds, support and belief, we won't see a glimmer of Sir Ken's dream in the current system. His legacy seems to be a credo so many recognise and believe in, but so few have the chance to implement.

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    1. Hi Stuart, I know that you're in a better position to say what is actually going on in schools at the moment (Covid-19 permitting) rather than myself but I know that our voices are not lone cris de coeur. Organisations like Arts Alive are apparently fighting to ensure that creative arts subjects are not squeezed out of the present curriculum. Let's hope they win the battle and that the government doyens manage to see beyond and around their Etonian blinkers.

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  3. I have mixed thoughts on this. I do think if home school is done right (and I have friends who really put a lot of thought into it) kids can truly expand their horizons and explore their interests in greater depths while still staying on task with necessary basics. But I do think regular school serves a purpose for those with working parents and less opportunities. It's tough all around and I don't envy our educators today.

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    1. I agree with you, Joanne. Home schooling done well can really develop individual strengths and interests and I accept that regular schools can't do that but here in the UK they concentrate too much on English, maths and science and not enough on such areas as music, dance and the fine arts. Why don't they deserve an equal portion of the curriculum?

      I also agree about not envying today's educators. I'm so glad I left teaching when I did.

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  4. Gosh - I had no idea that Ken Robinson had died. How sad. I remember this talk very well from when I first heard it quite a few years ago. He expresses the importance of the arts and creativity in our educational system so well, as he always did.

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    1. Hi Ann, yes he put his point across both clearly and in an entertaining way - the mark of a true orator.

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  5. Ros, I so agree. I LOVED Ken Robinson's talk and have watched it on YouTube several times. I and several of my teaching colleagues thought of him as a beacon of light, but sadly, nothing has really come of it. I was very sorry to hear he'd died. By the way, I too am a fan of TED talks in general. I've learnt so much by watching them.

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    1. Maybe something will come of his ideas. Maybe we can all push for more creativity in schools. Just maybe. Who knows.

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