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Professional Development

Five Thoughts on Sir Ken Robinson’s Talk

Written by Paul Needham, TE Instructional Coach

After watching this animation accompanying a speech by Sir Ken Robinson, I am struck by several thoughts.

  1. I needed to watch this video again in order to allow the drawings to add to the message, rather than distract me from it. I would encourage anyone who remembers 2-3 drawings more readily than 2-3 arguments of the speech to re-watch the video as I had to. What do you remember most?
  2. My biggest take away from this talk was the idea that the world has changed dramatically and that the educational system has not changed much in over 200 years. What worked a few generations ago, even when 20-something year-olds were in school, is no longer a best practice. This resonated with me because it was difficult for me to let go of the ways I was taught when I became a teacher. If I were to give you all a piece of advice, it would be to enter the 2012 Teaching Excellence Induction with an open mind. I truly believe that what you will be trained to do over the coming weeks and months represents the cutting edge in educating students to succeed in low-income areas and in today’s social and economic climate. What do your students most need for you to get at Induction?
  3. All of our students bring tremendous value to our classrooms. Simply because the current structure of the educational system values academic intelligence does not mean that only a sub-set of our students who easily excel in this area are worth our time or are worthy of success in school. It is our charge as dedicated educators to discover, celebrate, and leverage the unique strengths in all of our children to allow them to become their best selves. While this includes academic success and achievement, it goes so much further. What about this idea may be challenging for you, given your own educational background?
  4. My other thought upon digesting this talk is the charge to make aesthetic experiences for our students. The notion of creating experiences in which “all senses are operating at their peak” is one that is incredibly challenging but one that fills me with hope as well. Sir Ken Robinson evokes this idea when discussing the arts specifically, but it is even more powerful when considering it as a challenge for every lesson our students experience. If the arts capture our students’ interest so well because they evoke their senses in such a strong way, how can we create lessons in math, Spanish, writing, or world history that do the same things? What three adjectives would you like your students to use in describing your classroom lessons? 
  5. The last thought that I will leave you with is a word of caution and relates to Sir Ken’s thoughts on ADHD. Certainly there are students who are improperly medicated because they find it difficult to focus on boring school lectures that do not attempt to engage them. A teacher would be wise to consider many means of engaging students and helping them focus prior to believing that they may be afflicted with this condition. However, contrary to the brief portion of this video that addresses it, ADD and ADHD are very real conditions that do not limit a child’s potential and still change how they best intake information and interact with peers and teachers. I would not want a new teacher to assume that a child who has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD is lazy or faking it any more than I would want a student to be improperly medicated when it is not necessary. What other “labels” can adversely affect a child’s educational experience? 

I think what Sir Ken’s talk does best is illuminate the fact that the education system is trying to solve new problems with tools that are two centuries old. The best schools, administrators, and teachers create tools that allow their students to have as many choices open to them as possible. The educators that are being left behind are the ones who bemoan the fact that their students are not conforming to the methods that “worked for me when I was a kid.”

As a new teacher who may be joining us for Summer Induction, or as a veteran teacher who follows our blog – what were your takeaways and thoughts on this excellent talk and animation? Please feel free to answer any of my own italicized questions or pose your own for people to respond to.



274 thoughts on “Five Thoughts on Sir Ken Robinson’s Talk

  1. A few things about Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture struck me. First the comparison of schools with factory lines really hit home to me. When I was in High School, I made the comment once that I felt like I was living in a factory where we were all going to be exact cookie cut shapes of each other. I felt as though every class was set up the same way, in the same form, and “producing” students to all think, look, act and be the same. Our dress-codes made us look alike, our teachers told us there was only one answer and we were made to be the same. It was interesting that he made the connect about factory bells, separating class subjects and how standardized tests test every student in the same “cookie cut” way. Something that surprised me was the tests on kindergarten students for divergent thinking. The test revealed that student’s tests degenerated test scores as they grew older. This boggled my mind. We have kindergarten students that scored as genius on the divergent thinking, yet the test scores lower as the student gets older. All students have the capacity for genius divergent thinking, which is something I have believed my whole life. Yet, why are these students unable to continue on thinking divergently? It makes alarms go off in my head that clearly something is wrong with the “cookie cutter” factory that the education system has become.

    As a new teacher who may be joining us for Summer Induction, or as a veteran teacher who follows our blog – what were your takeaways and thoughts on this excellent talk and animation? Please feel free to answer any of my own italicized questions or pose your own for people to respond to.

    I really liked the animation. It helped to keep me interested and I even felt it was stimulating my own divergent thinking process. It was a good tool to keep my following the talk and understanding the concepts presented. I did watch it twice as advised, once to pay attention to the animation, once to re-listen for key concepts in the speech.

    Posted by Danielle Aguirre | May 20, 2013, 3:07 pm
    • One image that stood out to me was the factory production of students, or as it is stated above “cookie cut shapes of each other” the unfortunate aspect is that is not relative to kids today. Based on the divergent thinking test we are taking young student’s creativity, and oppressing it. Kids today are living in a whole new world. I liked having the visual as he spoke; wish I had that ability to implement it in the classroom.

      Posted by Patricia M. Tonche | May 22, 2013, 4:27 pm
      • We watched this video in one of our CS sessions and it was really interesting to me. I enjoyed thinking about how the current education system was put in place for a completely different time and a different type of people, while he notes that it is always changing, in reality much about the system of education has not changed since the time it was instituted.
        A few things about Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture struck me. The comparison to the factory lines was interesting. I feel that way often in Woodson when I look at the behavior expectations set in place for the students. I feel like students are not often given the opportunity to be free and express themselves. What is looked at as a “disciplinary problem” is often normal behavior. Everyone is cookie-cuter, walking robots.
        I do feel as though I need to re-watch the video to allow everything to sink in more.

        Posted by TaQuana Williams | July 9, 2013, 11:51 pm
    • I was not sure where Sir Ken Robinson was going with his claim that public education has not changed much over the last 200 years, and how it was rooted in industrialization. In college, I took a course that specifically looked at how public education in America has changed from local community schools led by untrained teachers to the standards-based model today. However, his point was clarified very well when he described schools (both now and in the past) as factories: organization around a bell schedule, separation by subject/content, grouping students by age and not ability – the comparison was striking, and aided all too well by the visuals.

      One of the other key ideas I took away from this TED talk was the bit about Divergent Thinking. After watching it twice, I finally realized what the longitudinal study reminded me of: Peter Pan. In Peter Pan, only those who are young and still “believe” are able to travel to Neverland, an imaginary world of endless possibilities and wonders. Kids who grew up and wrote off Neverland as childish could no longer return there. This forms an eerie analogy to kids who get older lose their proficiency with Divergent Thinking. Many other relationships between the story and the study can be made, and I encourage you to form your own thoughts on it as well.

      Posted by tgilfillan | July 6, 2013, 2:11 pm
      • I found this Ted Talk to be not only informative, but also so eye opening in the way that I should see me kids. I want to foster learning in a collaborative environment, where each student is still able to contribute their own ideas and also succeed. I also found it very interesting in the way that the education system is compared to a factory, turning students out by age and package. These are definitely things that I will need to take into account in teaching because I want me students to be able to exceed from their own levels and expectations, passing the tests, without being molded into the system.

        Posted by Molly Haas | July 9, 2013, 8:34 pm
    • The part where he says that there are many “non academic” people who are brilliant really caught my attention. This was powerful for me because I have always understood that many people are judged for the wrong reasons, but it has never been put so succinctly for me. So many people are judged to have learning disabilities and are just drugged to the point where they have trouble unleashing the brilliance that is in them. In doing so, we are hurting society as a whole because we are not utilizing the talents of a large portion of the population. This is something that needs to change so that we can tap into every person’s inner brilliance which in turn would help not only themselves, but society as a whole.

      Posted by Andy Rachlin | July 7, 2013, 6:33 pm
    • This video reminded me so much of the cliche ed reform documentary, Waiting for Superman. I watched this about two or three years ago and I remember so vividly that the main lesson I took away is that our education system is serving a wrong set of values and an old set of interests. The system is outdated, and it was nice to be reminded of the same concept in a different light and through a slightly different explanation in this TED Talk.

      Additionally, I learned so much about the ADD “epidemic” and about the information age about how this might be affecting my summer school students and my students in the years to come. I have been working hard to make very engaging lesson so they can learn in more ways than one and really be stimulated, which is something that the TED Talk mentions. ADD medication seems like an easy fix and a way to categorize students, but it does not address the real problem at hand which is that this is a new generation of kids, a new world, a new economy, and therefore, the teaching methods and curriculum should be changing too, and at roughly the same pace. We cannot expect children, particularly low-income students, to realize on their own that education is important and that even if lessons are boring they have to listen and learn, and if we keep expecting this, more and more children will be left behind.

      Posted by Maria Paula Nunez | July 9, 2013, 8:12 pm
    • There is always a temptation to stick with what you know when starting something new. For many of us who are newer to teaching this may mean that we try to emulate the teaching styles that we experienced in out own education. While this worked for many of us, myself included, I think it is important to keep many of Robinson’s points in mind. The education system has not changed much in the US for decades. While individual teacher’s may be more progressive, the accepted public schooling process often seems not to apply to preparing students to work in a globalized, progressive world. This TED talk reminded me of something I have been told before: it doesn’t matter if you think you’ve mastered something as a teacher, best teaching practices are constantly developing and growing. To be a lifelong master teacher, we too must be consistently updating our practice to counter some of the archaic demands of public school education.

      Also, as a special education teacher I found Robinson’s to perpective on a false ADHD epidemic. The diagnosis of ADHD has exploded over the last 20 years and I’ve had many students who have been given the diagnosis and been medicated based on very loose criteria. As Paul pointed out above, ADHD is a very real condition that serious affects some students learning. However, I found his points that there are environmental factors that can contribute to symptoms of ADHD.

      Posted by Katie Larsen | July 10, 2013, 11:32 am
    • I really enjoyed this TED talk because it opened my mind to a new way of thinking about how our education came into being. I also found the section about medicating children interesting because that is something that I wondered about prior to watching this video and no, after seeing this I realize that there is probably something wrong with the fact that so many children are so heavily sedated.

      Posted by C. King | July 10, 2013, 10:42 pm
    • I agree with you Danielle about all students having the capacity for genius divergent thinking. It’s very interesting to see that a kindergarten student can score a genius on divergent thinking, yet as they get older that concept of divergent thinking diminishes and they can’t live up to the expectations created in kindergarten. Until, I watched this video I never thought about why the school system has failed. I realized that something was wrong, but could not trace where the problem laid. Is is the students? Is the teachers? Or is it the education system as a whole? Going into induction as a new teacher I will pay attention to techniques and solutions to help craft a change in the education paradigms.

      Posted by Somi Ogunsuada | July 23, 2013, 9:23 pm
    • I watched it twice as well. Like many others here, I ponder on how can I stimulate this idea of divergent thinking with my students? How can I do it on a daily basis with core subjects that students have to be tested over? Better yet, how can I stimulate such thinking when I know that I have been a product of convergent instruction?

      Coming from a working class community and school, it is videos like this that remind of the limited education I received. It’s bittersweet for me. On one end, I think of all the work I have to do to push my mind to think in divergent ways. Simultaneously I am pushed to ensure that children who look like me get an opportunity or better yet access–to what I didn’t receive–a stimulating education based on formulating answers instead of being given them.

      Posted by SaMone Ballard | July 14, 2014, 7:32 pm
  2. I truly enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture. Many of the topics discussed were not new to me, because I previously discussed it in some of my education classes in college. The concept of the educational system appearing as a factory line was a very intriguing concept to me. I have a question for Sir Ken Robinson that I was confused with in the video. I know he felt like students being arranged by age group is not necessarily the most effective plan, so would he rather them be grouped by their level of “intelligence” or areas in which they excel? Creativity has always been a topic important in helping assist great students. I learned that creativity is nothing without the use of divergent thinking being utilized.

    In response to the italicized questions:

    I have seen students wrongly diagnosed with ADHD for various reasons. It is critical to know the difference between a student with this disorder and one who is wrongly accused. Another label that I have seen placed on students which could affect a child’s educational experience is saying the child has special needs. They are sometimes labeled this way due to behavioral problems sometimes associated with boredom. This label is placed on them by some teachers not willing to look deeper into the situation.

    Thinking about my future lessons the initial three words that come to mind that I want my student’s to think about my lessons are innovative, challenging, and engaging.

    Posted by Ngozika Mbadugha | May 21, 2013, 1:51 pm
  3. My dad is an avid TED talk viewer, which means that I constantly receive emails telling me to watch videos. I first watched this Ken Robinson video about a year ago, when the goal was still med school. Watching it then, I thought it was a really interesting concept, and while I was intrigued, I never thought I would be at the forefront of changing the education paradigm.

    Watching this video now, I see my classroom and the ways that I have to adapt myself as a teacher as well as the subject to my students, in a different way. I have to make the learning creative, I have to make my students not only understand the material, but also be able to use it in a way that empowers their creativity. I remember times in my classes when my teachers would start talking about a subject, and a million questions would pop up in my head, however, I never asked those questions because I had been programed to understand that it would interfere with the class, and I would get in trouble. I want to have a completely different kind of classroom, I want my students to feel comfortable in their curiosity and creativity and I think that an environment like that will power their learning.

    I also really found interesting the idea of how the system of education is set up in such a way that we clump students by age. I took an ed.psych. course and learned that the one learning difference that truly exists between students is time it takes to master something. Many people say, “I’m not good at math” but in reality, they didn’t have enough time to master math, therefore making it undesirable. It is interesting to think that every child could learn anything, if they are given enough time. This, however, clashes with many other constraints such as allotted class time, and the school calendar, which do not allow all students to have the necessary time to learn. This brings up the ideas of after-school work and saturday tutorials which could be instrumental in giving students the amount of time they need to achieve mastery.

    Posted by Isabella Morana | May 21, 2013, 3:50 pm
  4. I agree with Sir Ken Robinson’s thesis that we need to rethink our current model of public education. Sir Robison seems to make two points regarding why we need to rethink our current model: i) it was not very well designed to begin with and ii) kids today are different. I agree with point one. Historically, secondary education was only considered important for a fraction of the population. Therefore, if the system worked for most upper and middle class kids and some economically disadvantaged kids, then it could be considered successful. Different levels of success among kids could be attributed to kids who were or were not “cut out” for higher education rather than the success of the secondary education system in meeting the different learning styles of different children. Historically, there has been little effort put into designing an education system that works for everyone.

    I’m less convinced by the second point that “kids today are different”. I’ve heard a number of educators say that technology has made today’s kids more difficult to teach and therefore, we need to change our methods. Every generation of adults claims that “kids today are different” and usually that “kids today are not as good as kids were yesterday”. It seems more likely to me that our secondary education system has always done a poor jobs for a significant portion of the population. It today’s society, where secondary and post-secondary education are more important than ever, the limitations of the current system are more obvious.

    Posted by Thomas McHugh | May 21, 2013, 4:27 pm
  5. I found this TED Talk to be enlightening, since it made me think about the underlying assumptions and theories that structure how I was taught, and how many classrooms function today. I had heard the “factory” comparison before, but I had never truly considered how deeply it infiltrates the entire educational system. Sir Robinson made me think about not placing students into “academic” versus “non-academic” boxes, which ultimately affect their performance and their view of their own intelligence.

    Perhaps most importantly, it made me think about how I will treat my own students. While there will be standardized tests and other exams, I also need to recognize the individual talents of each student and engage the students in ways that engage and cultivate these natural strengths. For me, that is exactly the biggest take-away point: do not overlook the potential and value in every one of my students, even if the current system does not highlight these strengths.

    Posted by Claire Taylor | May 22, 2013, 9:20 pm
  6. This video is very good at detailing the education system’s problems, but rather than diving into detailed solutions, it leaves us with questions as educators about how we might avoid falling subject to these obsolete paradigmatic traps. He discusses the arts here as being suppressed by our current educational system, but in another video he explains the importance of fostering creativity in more detail:

    I love that in the video we are discussing, he talks about how as we grow older, we lose our innate knack at divergent thinking. Alison Gopnik, in her TED video, describes developments in our understanding of children’s minds especially regarding divergent thinking:

    I agree that education plays a major role in suppressing this way of thinking, but after watching the Gopnik video, I’m more inclined to see this change in human thinking as a biological phenomenon of species survival that is linked to aging. However, I completely agree that there should be no imposed suppression by our education system. Shouldn’t we develop a system of teaching that allows our children to guide themselves? How do we create an environment that maximizes self-regulated learning? I believe this would remove suppression by adults (with diminished divergent thinking skills!), because they will be more removed from the learning process. I greatly enjoyed watching the following video by Sugata Mitra that suggests that the learning process will flourish the most when the creative mind is given space to explore.

    We should ask ourselves how we might be able to adopt methods that foster self-regulated learning, but at the same time provide guidance and support to maximize productivity. Sir Ken Robinson describes our educational system as one that fails because of outdated formulas for success. Any “formula” used by an educator is going to be inherently limiting, because it directs the student toward a predetermined answer. Educators must look at each individual student and examine as many variables as possible before proper guidance can be given. What are ways we can organize our classes so that we learn more about our students’ needs rather than blindly prescribing treatment?

    Posted by Jeremiah Stones | May 23, 2013, 10:02 am
  7. Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk “Changing education paradigms” is premised on a simple yet powerful idea: the education system should not merely be reformed; instead, it needs to be transformed through a revolution that recognizes the students’ individual creativity and intelligence. In this 2010 talk, and in other talks by Robinson that I have watched online, he is much more focused on reaching a diagnosis than on prescribing specific solutions. This is by no means a critique—he is a gifted speaker, the author of several books, and a distinguished university professor. Indeed, the point he makes is that there is no single solution. The reason he is so effective, in my opinion, is because he eloquently conveys something we all know to be true. And he puts it in such a way that we simply have to agree—even when the millions of people who have watched his talks online probably would disagree if they had to sit down to elaborate a new set of policies, based on his recommendations, for the broken education system. It would be similar to a group of doctors who concur that the patient has cancer but cannot agree on a treatment.

    According to Robinson, the current public education system is in crisis because it was conceived in the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment and in the context of the Industrial Revolution. These twin pillars have shaped a particular understanding of how academic ability should be nurtured and rewarded at school and beyond. The emphasis here is on continuity rather than change. Over the last two centuries, Robinson explains, these two pillars transformed schools across the Western world, turning them into learning factories that operate under a production line mentality that leaves no room for intellectual diversity or creativity. On the contrary, Robinson notes, students are educated out of creativity and forced into a static, pre-ordained model that dictates what they must learn and how teachers must teach. In his most controversial statement, he claims that the increase in ADHD treatment is but one symptom of this crisis in public education. In his view, this increase is not an expression of “a modern epidemic” but of students’ resistance to standardized testing and the tedious daily experience of having to pay attention to “boring stuff at school.”

    Robinson’s words echo a long tradition of critical philosophers, from Michel Foucault to Herbert Marcuse, Paulo Freire, and Henry Giroux, although at times I felt he was needlessly simplifying the analysis. Robinson is more interested in showing how students learn and, if the system is revolutionized, should learn, but less so on how teachers teach, or should teach, in such a future. (I do not mean to say that there are no recommendations—in fact, in just less than 20 minutes, he does a superb job–but that some recommendations are very broad.) Naturally, these two aspects (teaching and learning) are interrelated in his talk, but he tends to pit students against the system while blurring all other actors in a very distant background—if they make it on stage at all. Moreover, Robinson portrays the public education system as an entity that has not changed in the last two hundred years, as it continues to operate under the influence of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. As a historian, I would beg to differ—the world has changed in the last 200 years. Even if he is right, he does not analyze what exactly has made the system so stable and averse to change over such a long period of time. And, if there has been change, who are the enlightened intellectuals and industrial factory owners who drive the system today? In other words, who is now in charge of deciding what our students learn at school?

    I would like to conclude with some reflections Robinson made in a different TED talk. (I ended up watching all the TED talks he gave, and some more…) “Personalized learning,” Robinson noted in a 2010 talk called Bringing the Learning Revolution, “must create the conditions where the students’ natural talents can flourish.” [This TED talk can be found here: To do so, the new education paradigm must express a new understanding of the richness of human capacity and imagination, one that recognizes diversity and dynamism and is able to stimulate curiosity and creativity. To wake up students to what is inside of themselves and stimulate divergent thinking, it will be necessary to change the habits of the institutions and the habitats they occupy. A new institution of this kind, according to Robinson, must be profoundly democratic, personalized, porous to external influences, and open to constant change and adaptation.

    Posted by Cesar Seveso | May 23, 2013, 3:54 pm
  8. After watching the video I have many thoughts on Sir Ken Robinson’s arguments. My comment will mainly be to point out what stood out to me about this video, what I agreed with, what I disagreed with, and what challenged me.

    On the whole Sir Ken Robinson is arguing that the way in which education is approached is outdated and needs to be changed. His specific comparison of our current education system to a factory system certainly stood out to me, and I ultimately have mixed feelings on this comparison. In a sense, a factory represents a monotonous, mundane environment, and I believe that Robinson is accurate in comparing our schools to this environment. More so, he is clearly trying to challenge our perception of public education. I agree with Robinson’s ultimate statement through this comparison, and believe our education system needs to change from being such an unchanging, “only one path to success” type of system. At the same time, I do believe it is valuable for students to learn about working on a schedule, and having a daily routine. Ultimately this is what they will face in the real world regardless of what job they have, and thus learning about consistency is of value. With this said, I believe our education system should try to maintain a level of consistency in daily routine (bells, lunch, etc.), while changing the actual mode in which students are educated.

    Going off of this thought, the other major point that stood out to me was the fact that our education system is outdated. Sir Robinson points out that teachers still try to teach using methods that were successful many many years ago (I perceived this to be the lecturing method). Of course, as Robinson mentions, our world has changed a lot over the past two centuries, and students of today have been raised (for better or worse) in a much more stimulating environment (regarding TVs, smart phones, computers, etc.). This means that simply standing up and lecturing is not working for many students, especially when one considers the many differing learning styles and strengths of students (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.). While I do think lecture holds its value and place in certain situations, I agree with Sir Robinson that teachers on the whole must revamp the way in which we teach our students. Ultimately I believe learning for students should be much more hands on. I know many teachers will struggle (and some will try to resist) to change the way of educating, but I believe it is necessary. The more hands-on teaching that occurs and the more one varies their teaching methods the better the chance is that more of your students will grasp the material to be learned. As a U.S. History teacher I look forward to trying to teach and present material in many varied and creative ways.

    Another point that struck me was the statistic of students losing their capability to think divergently as they become more educated. Obviously this points to some issue with education, especially considering that education should make one think more divergently and with more of an open mind. I will admit that a cynical side of me does believe that perhaps some of the loss of divergent thinking correlates to a loss of imagination as one grows older, but I do also believe at the crux of this statistic lies a shortcoming of education. It is critical that teachers from primary to secondary schooling attempt to integrate more teaching that will condone and cultivate divergent thinking, being that a divergent thinker will be much more suited for success in college and the real world. I am grateful and excited that I will be teaching U.S. History, because I believe history and social studies in general allows much leeway for thinking of many many different solutions and opinions. History is not a subject of absolute right or wrong, it is a subject of personal analysis and opinion. I’m excited to attempt to cultivate divergent thinking through the teaching of history!

    Something that I did disagree with in the video was Sir Robinson’s argument about ADHD. While I do believe some doctors are quick to diagnose a child as ADD or ADHD, I also believe it is a real condition and prevalent condition. I don’t believe that the diagnosis of so many students as having ADHD should be a consideration of blame for our imperfect education. I don’t believe a medical condition can be blamed as one of the root causes of the failures of our system.

    The last point I will discuss pertains to a challenge that the video points out to me. In the video Robinson describes our understanding of “academic,” and he describes how this has led to “smart people” and “non-smart people.” He then goes on to imply that many people who are brilliant are left in the group of those who are not smart because perhaps their intelligence or their way of learning does not match well with our long-standing of being academic. To this point I agree. I believe that people can be brilliant in many different ways. Academic intelligence (performing well in traditional school subjects) is not the only form of intelligence. Ultimately I believe our education system should strive to help all students build upon their strengths and intelligences. The big challenge I see is this: how can our school systems, which are so deeply rooted in this concept of educating students on the academic concepts, help all students cultivate their personal strengths regardless of whether they fall under the typical academic subjects or not? I believe it is still critically important to teach the core academic subjects to students, but I believe schools should also recognize and cultivate other forms of intelligence amongst students. The challenge is how to achieve this.

    I know I wrote a lot. These are my earnest thoughts regarding the video. I hope you found them interesting, and hope they provoke more thought amongst others (whether you agree with them or not)



    Posted by McLean Rabb | May 25, 2013, 1:05 pm
  9. I greatly appreciated the historical context on how schools got to be the way they are today, and found the arguments presented in this video persuasive. I would like to point to a distinction made in the blog above, though, in which Mr. Needham notes that he “would not want a new teacher to assume that a child who has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD is lazy or faking it any more than [he] would want a student to be improperly medicated when it is not necessary.” Rather than calling such students lazy, the video points out a few unique circumstances that correlate with the rise in ADHD medication: much (much much much) more constant stimulation available than ever before, and the rise of standardized testing. Having worked as a “test prep” tutor for some time, I think it’s worth noting that students who can’t or won’t focus on preparing specifically for those kinds of tests are certainly not lazy with or without ADD–those tests are mind-numbingly boring and unengageing. It’s probably worth taking one every now and again, even as a teacher, just to remind oneself what we’re asking our students to pay attention to–and then perhaps find ways to be more creative about our own presentations (LOVED the animation.)

    Posted by Natalia Holstein | May 25, 2013, 11:43 pm
  10. I’m a new teacher joining Teaching Excellence for Summer Induction. I enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson’s talk, and its purpose seemed to be to spark thinking about the way we do public education, rather than to provide specific answers. A few points struck me in particular.

    First, I found the ADD/ADHD discussion interesting, and it reminded me of other harmful “labels”. In particular, it made me think about the disproportionately large number of minority and low-income students who are assigned to special education or who are diagnosed as having a behavior problem or academic delay. While these problems are certainly real, many children are incorrectly diagnosed. What I took away from this point is that the problem, in part, is that we are changing children who do not fit into the current education system (through medication etc) rather than recognizing that the system, not the children, may be broken. The solution requires changing the way public education works to better accomodate all children.

    Additionally, the emphasis on academic intelligence at the cost of recognizing other strengths reminded me of my own academic experience. A unit on “multiple intellegences,” or the idea that people learn differently and are intelligent in different ways, that I had in middle school touched on some of the ideas Robinson talked about, but I did not see these other intelligences recognized much in my education as a whole. While I did not take mountains of standardized tests, academics were always valued above other talents, which were viewed as non-essential “extras.” It seems like this focus on academic intelligence devalues children who have other equally important strengths and even decreases those abilities when children learn that they are not valued. As the test of divergent thinking shows, this singular focus diminishes the genius that everyone has within them. It seems difficult to change this at the K-12 level when academic intelligence is the most highly valued skill in college admissions and curriculum.

    Overall, my takeaway was that we need to remodel the education system to actively support the diverse strengths and learning styles of all children, rather than labeling the children who do not succeed in this system as somehow deficient. This talk made some excellent points and gave me a lot to think about.

    Posted by Hannah Jarmolowski | May 28, 2013, 2:29 pm
  11. I thought this was a very pertinent video that explained why schools are ineffective in the most powerful way. Instead of placing blame in different places, he challenges us to personally change our paradigm of thinking about learning and approaching classrooms.

    A key piece of this piece to me is his analysis of the school system reflecting an assembly line. Just in the simple ways that we divide classrooms by gender assumes norms of the past that have changed even within the past ten years. It seems that in a lot of ways, standardization is an easier path so that we can easily tell who is going to be successful and unsuccessful, but it in fact causes more problems than it solves. The idea that everyone in the classroom can be a valuable addition is easy to believe in theory, but I believe a bit harder to put into practice without proactive steps to create a positive approach with all students. I have always learned in school that there are winner and there are losers. The winners will go somewhere with their life, and the losers will have little opportunity or choice in their life — obviously a flawed mentality. As a future teacher, I hope that all my students have agency in shaping their learning environment and their future, but it will be a process to make sure every student understands their own power despite what they believed in the past.

    Another note that I thought was important was his thoughts on ADHD. My brother was diagnosed with this when he was very young, and he was over-medicated for a very long time. He was so drugged that he was sluggish and tired, seeming to be always in a zombie trance. For me, it makes sense that he was just always over stimulated and distracted by video games, TV and the media. Though I do know people who struggle with the disorder, in my brother’s case limiting stimulation and focuses on harnessing his creativity would have been a much more positive approach. Instead of creating mindless and controlled citizens, our schooling system should be inspiring students who are going to change and shape our world for the better. This definitely helped me think through a lot of things systematic and institutionalzied problems within our schools that we are up against.

    Posted by Kristian Lenderman | May 28, 2013, 5:14 pm
  12. I’ve only been in a classroom for a few months, but as I watched this video I quickly saw how my classroom fit into what he was talking about. We require so much of our 12 year olds, but when kids don’t respond with focus we are quick to lean on medicine to “help” our children.

    I heard 3 abstract ideas on what he believes should change:

    1. Judge people separately
    2. Collaboration is key
    3. Change the culture of institutions.

    I loved this video and it’s message, but I want real solutions. How do I set up a classroom in order to allow this “paradigm” to change? How do I talk with children and their parents to change this mindset? What activities facilitate divergent thinking?

    Posted by Meghan Muir | May 29, 2013, 7:16 pm
    • After viewing Sir Ken Robinson’s video, I totally agree with Meghan. While the video was enlightening and, in reflecting on my experiences, I could see where his ideas and concepts have come into play, I am just frustrated with his lack of supporting where this data comes from. I would like to know the sources of his claims and where his figures are derived from. What sources were used? Who was consulted? I think he makes some very string arguments, but I want to know where his research comes from.

      Also, I agree with Meghan, where are the actually strategies, we as new teachers, can use? How can we make change? Who do we need to reach out to?

      The video really resonated with me and I can’t wait to carry this charge for change into next year.

      Posted by Emily Natoli | July 21, 2013, 9:03 am
  13. Robinson begins by addressing the main reasons for global education reform. Economics & Culture. As I understand him (and I may not), these two define intelligence and dictates the necessity of education standards. So to answer question #2, I think, my students most need for me to learn how we define intelligence in our culture. How can I ensure they understand what it will take for them to know they are valued intelligently or at the very least allow them to discover where they will succeed? Is divergent thinking the standard of intelligence?

    As a P.E. teacher, it is easier to watch athletic students succeed, but what about everyone else? I think my challenge will be incorporating divergent thinking into a P.E. class. Or perhaps pushing students to understand physical EDUCATION is more than getting hit in the head by a dodgeball, and yet still listening to students say that my classroom is fun and challenging and applicable (question #3).

    I appreciate Robinson’s appeal to the arts, as I feel it pertains to physical education as well. This has encouraged me to think about how the standards for P.E. have been written as well. How do we determine what intelligence looks like in the gym? Is it possible to develop a gym class the corresponds with what other academic classes are teaching as well? And I ponder what “labels” adversely affect students physical education experience? Many of the same?

    I am most intrigued by his push for collaboration. Certainly we find more of an aesthetic experience when we are engaged with the person next to us – whether we like them or not.

    Posted by Kyle Stallard | May 30, 2013, 2:39 pm
  14. The speech by Sir Ken Robinson reminds me of something I think about constantly: Are we overstimulated? Is there too much going on to the point that we cannot focus on what is important and what is not? Where is the filter?

    After the Internet Age, it seems like our memories have changed. We no longer depend on long-term memory as much as we would say fifty years ago. If we forget when dinosaurs became extinct, we can look it up again tomorrow. The disadvantage of this is that we are not retaining this information. Memorization is not an effective way of learning but neither is the insignificance of memory.

    Sir Ken Robinson touches on this with what Americans are calling an epidemic of over-medicated kids. We have to get them to focus and the only way to get them to do that because nothing else is working is give them medication to fix them. The issue with that is that it’s not fixing the problem, it is enabling it. The solution is not to fix the problem like thinking of innovative ways to teach them differently or understand what is difficult to focus on. It is a quick fix and it is no longer an issue, until it is again. The goal is to fix it, not hide it.

    Posted by Mary Chauvin | May 31, 2013, 7:45 am
  15. Sir Ted Robinson’s TED talk definitely got me thinking. The standards movement stems from “A Nation at Risk”, which basically said, we have fallen behind the rest of the world in education. As our students have been tested more and more in the past 20 years and have still been scoring below many other industrialized countries the standards movement in this country has strengthened. “How can we get our students to achieve better (as shown on standardized tests) so our world rank goes up” has been the question. The problem with that question is that in one key area, we are not behind the rest of the world, we are actually light years ahead, and that is what Robinson was calling divergent thinking. In fact, other countries, like Japan, are trying to reform their educational system to make it more like ours. We lead the world in the number of entrepreneurs, the number of patents, etc. In some ways our educational system has always been about standardization, but as we focus on it more and more, we lose the part that was allowing for more creative thinking.

    I think that is one of our biggest challenges as educators. How do we balance this need conform to standards and test well, so students can succeed in the current educational system, while fostering more divergent and creative thinking? That is what US companies (and companies all over the world) are looking for in employees, and we do a great disservice to our students if we don’t help them to grow as creative individuals.

    Posted by John Ciarleglio | June 3, 2013, 8:13 pm
  16. I really enjoyed the way that this TED video showed an overview of current educational practices and the reforms that are trying to occur as our students are being tested to show growth so that they can be successful in an economy that we don’t really know which direction it will take. I never really viewed the current educational system as a factory line until I saw this video. It is true that we are running our kids through the school system in a similar fashion to that of cattle on a feed lot. We adhere to strict schedules, deadlines and we expect each student to excel in everything before we ship them on to the next grade as a finished product. I also liked his correlation between higher incidences of inattention with high stakes testing and the constant bombardment of information in our lives. I know that as an adult my own attention span is shorter than what it was when I was in school because we didn’t have the constant influx of information.

    Sir Ken Robinson highlights that each child has their own unique learning DNA and may do better in some areas rather than others or may be more proficient at different times of the day in a set subject area. I know personally that taking a history or science course in the afternoon for me would affect my personal performance in the course in a negative fashion. I have seen kids who don’t function well in certain subjects after lunch, but if you give them that subject before lunch then they excel. As a result, it really is our job to get to know our kids so we can play on their strengths, to differentiate in the classroom and to make learning accessible to all of our students. It is our responsibility to encourage creative problem solving and divergent thinking as we teach our students. It is also important to make cross-curricular connections so that learning becomes stronger and more embedded into our students.

    This is a great video to view and now we need to learn and utilize the steps to make it a reality. I feel that this video was a great reflection on the current view of education but I would love to learn more how this change can take place, how I can contribute and how we can get kids, parents, the community and institutions on board for these changes that need to take place in the world of high-stakes testing.

    Posted by Cody Elwell | June 4, 2013, 9:00 pm
  17. It seems to me that Sir Ken Robinson’s main point is that every student has his/her own unique strengths and contributions, but the modern education system lumps every student together, puts them in a factory-like setting, and tests them on a standard scale. This “standardization” of education is what we should fight against. I agree with this completely, but I am faced with the dilemma of what is the solution? How can we give each student the custom education that would benefit him/her most? How can an individual teacher implement such principles in his/her classroom? Since Robinson gives us no clear solution, I am left with many thoughts and questions.

    In my opinion, treating different students based on different standards can become similar to the other vice of “labeling.” I hope to teach chemistry next year. On a classroom scale, if a situation occurs in which one student is good at molecular structures and another is good at balancing equations, should I “customize” my evaluation of each student to favor what his/her strengths are? Or should I challenge these students to perform better at their weaknesses? Suppose I did the former, wouldn’t that itself suppress divergent thinking? Telling a student, “it’s okay that you are bad at balancing equations because your natural strength lies in molecular structures,” would likely lead the student down a self-fulfilling prophecy and cause him/her to miss essential concepts of chemistry. Arguably, neither molecular structures nor chemical equations are as important as the reasoning skills (including divergent thinking) and confidence to be gained through learning these concepts. We must remember that our most important role as teachers is to give our students the ability to channel their unique strengths to succeed in the real world, not to prepare them for the next standardized test. However, I am also hesitant to simply label anything a student turns in as creative divergent thinking and give him/her an A. So at what point is an answer demonstrating a truly creative process and at what point is it simply wrong? I think that as teachers, differentiating between the two is an enormous challenge that we can only strive to overcome by carefully examining our students’ submissions and trying to understand their thought processes. What may initially appear to be a wrong answer could reveal much more about the student’s reasoning abilities. I understand that Robinson calls for destandardization on a larger scale than the individual classroom, and I am merely trying to find my place in all this, but I believe the same questions can be asked at a larger scale (Should we give the same math STAAR test to every student? Should we even give every student a STAAR math test? Is math so important that every student should understand its concepts, or can the overall essential skills be learned through History instead?)

    Posted by Wenfei Wei | June 5, 2013, 2:45 pm
  18. Sir Robinson’s model really got me thinking about the “all powerful” Internet. We don’t have to retain information because we can search for any answer to any question on our cell phones, which are conveniently in our pockets at all times. Students aren’t paying attention in class because they have ADHD – they aren’t paying attention because they are too concerned with how many “likes” their Facebook photo is receiving at that very moment. The world outside the classroom has created an infinite amount of distraction, and it’s hard to say if it will ever cease.
    Additionally, I found the segment on divergent thinking particularly stimulating. We assume that those with college degrees are “smarter” than kindergartners. However, the system tells us that their is one answer to every question, one solution to every problem. The narrowing of the growing mind is the actual epidemic – not ADHD.

    Posted by Emily | June 8, 2013, 12:17 pm
  19. The conventional way of thinking is that there are academic and non-academic people. As Sir Ken Robinson pointed out our educational system is based on this paradigm. As he does, I reject it. Unfortunately, this idea has been, and continues to be, perpetuated in educational institutions. I took a class on the History of Higher Education during my undergraduate studies at an ivy league university, the professor of this class believed in the ideal that there is a natural elite that deserves to receive the best quality education. I did not accept this idea and attempted to push him by posing the question: what about the rest? He brushed my question away. Even more disheartening to me was that many of my peers internalized this perspective, which is what allows this fallacy to persist. I have a friend who never did well in school, hated it, dreaded it, and lost a lot of confidence in the process, but, without a doubt, I would say that she is the smartest person I know. She would score at the genius level of the divergent thinking scale. Her way of thinking was not accepted at school, but she was unable to stifle it (thankfully!). She has suffered because of this, but she never ceases to amaze me with her “out of the box” thinking. In my classroom, I intend to encourage different ways of approaching an idea and posing questions that do not have one answer. I will also push my students to engage with different perspectives.

    Posted by Sara Llansa | June 9, 2013, 2:33 pm
  20. I found the talk inspiring–I love the idea of education as being something that can constantly be reworked and revamped. Taking a “we’re going to do it this way, because this is the way we’ve always done it” stance in any situation is an almost-certain path to mediocrity.
    I found myself wondering what Sir Robinson’s “ideal” would look like when taken out of the theoretical and put into practice. How *do* we organize students, if not by age? How do we allow students to come up with divergent answers when, speaking practically, we teachers are going to be tasked with instructing roughly 100 students? How do we as teachers manage all of their divergent thoughts and interests? How do we foster the flourishing of individuals when we have so many individuals in our classrooms?
    It is true that students should be able to chase their interests, and we should avoid subjecting students to the dreaded “busywork.” What if your junior English student announces that he’s not particularly interested in reading Hamlet? If we’re committed to this non-assembly-line method of education, do we tell him he can read a play of his own choosing? Or does the teacher work with the student to connect the text back to the student’s own interests?
    Simply put, I look forward to seeing what how this inspiring theory of education looks in practice.

    On another topic: I strongly agreed that Sir Robinson that schools should not be training grounds for the work force. When I, as a teacher, am constantly instructing my students when to stand, when to sit, when to be speak and when not to speak, there is a certain level of guilt that I am involved in a system that’s producing human beings that will be fit for the work force, but may be miserable throughout the process that molds them into future workers. It is not good for the human spirit to be constantly directed when to sit, when to stand, etc.–and yet, speaking practically, order must be maintained in the classroom. It is certainly a delicate balancing act.

    Posted by Anne Derrig | June 10, 2013, 12:49 pm
  21. What I found most interesting/ challenging/ worrisome is, as many have already mentioned, the idea that the way the education works now-a-days isolates students from their natural environments. Growing up, we are often discouraged from collaboration within the classroom. Assessments are all individual, and working together is labeled instead as “cheating”. However, as Robinson argues, this is not how the real world works; everything in reality is a product of group efforts. We often miss this in the classroom and mistakenly emphasize the wrong strategies.

    However, the minds of new teachers are trained in a similar way as are their students’. Therefore, the challenge is not only creating a thriving classroom environment for the students, but about US getting over the ways our minds are trained and embracing concepts such as group work.

    Also, as teachers, we all have to tackle the task of changing students’ mentality if we want to teach according to divergent thinking. How could you tell a student that there is more than one answer in a word of standardized testing? However, we owe it to the students to expose them to more expansive ways of thinking.

    I would also like to leave off with a question: When we meet a person, we do not judge them solely on their academically-defined intelligence alone, but we consider their personality traits. So my reaction when thinking about this topic is why do we think that this one type of intelligence is so important when on a day to day basis we do not value it as highly? We all know that people have varying strengths to contribute, and our education system should reflect the same thing.

    Posted by Daniela Iliescu | June 10, 2013, 4:34 pm
  22. As impressed as I was by this excellent talk, it left me with concerns about my role as a teacher. Nothing I’ve read of heard about tells you the best way to foster this kind of learning in your students, but yet it seems so NECESSARY. As an incoming science teacher, I feel that this type of divergent thinking we should be encouraged and this kind of group think environment is exactly what you do in science. You think outside the box. You think of tons of answers to the same question. You ask questions about the question. You interpret the same data a multitude of different ways. In order to be a scientist, you must be able to do this. (More specifically, in order to do anything VERY well or at an academic level you must be able to do this.)

    However, what does this look like in a classroom? What does this look like in a classroom bounded by standardized testing restraints? I don’t see how this is at all going to fit within the constraints the system has put in place. Until the system changes, how do we integrate this theory within the requirements that are set forth?

    Definitely food for thought as I begin my Teach for America training.

    Posted by Caroline Flowers | June 10, 2013, 8:15 pm
  23. I watched this lecture over a year ago for a class that was preparing me for my student teaching. At the time I thought the lecture addressed some key points, but once I was in the classroom full time during student teaching I saw how correct Mr. Robinson was on so many issues. Now, watching this lecture as a soon to be first year teacher, this video excites and overwhelms me! He brings up so many crucial issues of education that so many educators choose to look the other way on or blame someone else for, when really it is the responsibility of every educator to address these issues for the benefit of their students.

    He talks about in public education how students are categorized as either academic or non academic. During my time in the public schools as a student I saw this first hand. Entering high school you were either placed on a college track or a non-college track. This is letting so much un-tapped potential go to waste! We need to strive to see the strength and potential of every student. When you truly believe that every student can succeed and you offer them the help and tools necessary to do so, it is amazing the results that the students can achieve. This all begins with teachers believing in ALL of their students.

    Mr. Robinson touches on the fact that children are living in the most intensely stimulated time of any time on earth. All you need to do is go to a college library to see this first hand. Students are studying while listening to music, watching videos on their laptop, or even talking to friends. These are all students who were successful and motivated enough to make it to college, and even they feel the need of our modern age to constantly be stimulated. As teachers we need to not run away from this new issue, but rather we need to meet students where they are. If students need to be stimulated more at school, then we need to find a way to make our lessons more engaging and interactive. Mr. Robinson said it very well when he stated, “We shouldn’t be putting kids to sleep, we should be waking them up to what they have inside themselves!”

    Another topic from the video I found very interesting was the longitudinal study on divergent thinking. I honestly was not surprised by the results; I can see myself as an example of this. Going to school I always wanted to do my very best, and as a result I was always searching for the one exact right answer. I hated questions when there could be more than one right answer; I wanted to know without a doubt that I had the one and only correct answer. I realized throughout college that there wasn’t always one answer, and that I not only HAD to think “outside the box”, but I learned that thinking critically is important. It is essential that we help our students realize the importance of divergent thinking at an early age, and help them to not lose the ability.

    I continue to enjoy this talk by Sir Ken Robinson. I believe it highlights many issues facing education today. Lectures like this are a great way to get teachers thinking about and talking about the changes that need to be made to our current public education system. I am excited to learn more about these issues and the different strategies YES Prep uses to tackle them!

    Posted by Jenny Stuckenschneider | June 11, 2013, 12:05 pm
  24. I really appreciate this talk and the perspective it brings to our educational system. Even from the beginning with the two reasons for educational reform, economic and cultural, it is a huge task to prepare students for who they “need to be” in society. This notion has changed over the years, which speaks to the 200 year old ideas that are still being used. Personally, I think that some “old” ideas like work ethic and structure certainly still have their place. However, what speaks to me more as I prepare for my first year is how to balance the sheer volume of children that we are now enlisted to educate with the resources that we now have. I think that much of the task lends itself to fully understanding how to utilize every single resource we have. Many people would not like me to say this…but standardized testing crept in as one of these tools long ago, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s more of the economic side of things if we take the right perspective on it. Many new ideas and theories have come about to address this, such as incorporating more technology into the classroom or flipping it entirely. There is this notion now that our students need only be “good” in one area, usually science or arts and certainly not both. My question has now become: what happened to the well-rounded individual that could contribute to society in many facets? This is important as our economy becomes driven more and more by collaboration, which is becoming even more highlighted in classrooms. Our students are seemingly being limited because these are the paths we have carved over centuries of teaching and learning, but we have to reverse this method of thinking with the first opportunity.

    Another point that resonated with me is that for the who don’t see the point of education due to the non-gaurantee in our society today is that we have to align our educational system with how we now operate as a society. This is a major concern on my part. As we grow more industrialized and mobile, our schools and institutions are so stationary, monotonous, and predictable. Nothing about our world is predictable anymore. We are constantly surrounded by chaos and turmoil fed to us with apps and different devices. Most of our students probably believe that if they can just come up with the “next big thing” that they will be better off. I always point out to my students that many of today’s leaders and praised innovators were college students before they pursued many of their ideas. We have to inject some of the 21st century into our classrooms, but in a constructive way. How do we make the “boring” academic nature of our schools fit in with what we really rely on in the 21st century? This is a question that I hope to address in my teaching so that I can bring more life to my students’ experience in my own classroom.

    One thing concerning the ADHD tidbits is that those concerns begin so early in education that we need to really adjust our reform in the entire system. We have many initiative for high school and pre-school at this stage of reform, but what happens in our elementary and middle schools? I believe that we cannot answer those questions because we are investigating what happens before and and after the crucial changes for our children. Adolescence and development are heavily addressed for our middle schools, but what about academic progress and carrying over the divergent thinking processes that happen when we are young?

    This talk certainly addresses many points and creates many stirring thoughts on how to move forward. There are so many aspects of change and many possible avenues to get there, so we just have to keep striving for perfection in education!

    Posted by Brittany Alexander | June 11, 2013, 1:56 pm
  25. Being a Biology major in college, many of the critiques that Sir Ken Robinson had of the current educational system resonated with me. In most of my classes, the tests were multiple choice. There was one right answer. However, in lecture, the teacher would propose many different answers to a question. My teachers would encourage us to think outside of the box, but all methods used for measuring how much we learned were in the form of one answer tests. There were the “smart” kids in class – the ones who got the highest grades and talked the most in class. There were also the “not-smart” kids in class. But where do these labels come from? The “smart” kid in one class could be the “not-smart” kid in another class and vice versa. To one student, a class can be extremely boring, but to another, it could be the best class they had ever taken. While there are definitely students who make great grades not matter if the class is boring or interesting to them, I think that most students do well in the classes were they are genuinely and actively interested in learning.

    The argument he made about ADHD was very interesting. I believe that ADHD is extremely over-diagnosed; however, there are people who have ADHD and need medicine to cope. I do not think that the increase in availability of ADHD medicine is the reason for lack of interest in the classroom. Lack of interest in the classroom is due to the individual interests of students and the presenting of materials in a boring way. Of course there are certain topics that are inherently boring, but teachers can do their best to present it in an interesting way.

    The study showing the level of genius of kindergarteners compared with their levels 10 years down the road was awesome. If I were to try to think of how many ways to use a paperclip, I would come up with this terribly sad list: to hold paper together, to use as a hook for fishing, to get something out from underneath your fingernail, to hold a rip together from clothing, and that is literally it. If I were to think of how I would answer that as a kindergartener, I know I would have the craziest and most interesting ideas. I wish I could still think that way, but the current educational system has taught me to only answer the most logical way, and to disregard the crazy ideas, that are also equally correct!

    Posted by Melissa R. | June 11, 2013, 4:38 pm
  26. I feel like I’ve seen this video before, and I really enjoy the message that it gives. I think the government should change how its education is set up, giving the fact that students are struggling to pass these standardized tests.

    One point that grabbed my attention was the fact that back in the day, going to college could almost guarantee you a job. Now, that is clearly not the case. I worked with high school seniors last year, and many of them brought this up when talking about going to college. It was hard to convince them to go to college, when there isn’t a guarantee that you will be having a good paying job. I would just ask my students what other options they had in mind besides college. A lot of them just said working, and I could almost guarantee that you will make more at most jobs with a college degree than without one.

    I thought it was interesting that the more you go east, the more cases of ADHD there is. Maybe there should be another alternative to being diagnosed with ADHD. I would like to learn all the different ways to keep my students engaged in order for them to not be bored in the classroom. I am very eager to start this new chapter and make an impact on students in the Houston Area.

    Posted by Lilibeth Marroquin | June 13, 2013, 4:30 pm
  27. Watching this video made me realize how fortunate I was to have teachers who encouraged me to think for myself and ask questions. It has also motivated me to bring the arts into my classroom as much as possible and to really pay attention to the tone I am setting every day.

    Posted by Anne Walzel | June 14, 2013, 12:25 pm
  28. As with everyone else, I really enjoyed this video. I went to school right when technology was really starting to take off and change quickly, and I noticed that teachers had very different responses in integrating it into the classroom. As a teacher now, we have to understand that our students face all of these different distractions, and integrating those tools into our lessons will help engage the students in a way they are familiar with. The old education models just don’t apply as much anymore.

    I also really liked the section on divergent thinking. Any time I speak with a child under kindergarten age, I am amazed by the creative way they think. I remember the age when I used to think like that, as well. With standardized testing, there is no creativity involved. It only allows for a “right” answer or a “wrong” answer, regardless of the thought process that went into it. Schools have adjusted their teaching to fit the standardized tests, and the arts truly have lost out. The workforce now requires more creative thinking, especially with how quickly technology changes (and how integrated it has become in our lives) and students whose teachers encouraged collaborative, creative thinking will be more prepared for that.

    I want my students to describe my classroom as thought-provoking, collaborative, and suportive. I want them to feel like they can answer a question without feeling like they will get it “wrong.”

    Posted by D'Arby Kondratowicz | June 14, 2013, 1:02 pm
  29. I enjoyed watching this video. The world has changed dramatically over the years and it does seem that education is very much behind. Several times I remember telling people to stay in school and go to college, that is how you get a career instead of a job. I had to swtitch how I was seeing education because the sad truth is that my previous thought is not true. I know several people, teachers actually, who graduated and will make amazing teachers but have no job at all. And I wonder how many people are just not “school” people. Some children are very hands on. However, how many english, world geography, math and science classes taught in a way that fit their needs? I don’t remember many classes that did. Some yes, those were the better classes. But those children who are hands on tend to not make it very far in education because they get bored, some of them are labeled ADD or ADHD, and they fail because they do not know how to engage themselves in what they are being taught.

    I do believe that there are children who are ADD and ADHD and do need medical intervention. However, I do see a trend of people believeing their child is ADD when really the child is energetic. I do believe that some kids are labeled ADD and ADHD and even other disorders when there isn’t anything wrong with them. Parents insist to get a child tested over and over again until the tests show the results they want to see. I think most kids show ADDD tendencies because most classes are taught by direct instruction. I know adults who can’t focus in those classes. I was even told that I was on the line of ADD because of my lack of focus and doodling at times when being taught. I think every person has some ADD tendencies. Children get bored, it happens but instead of looking at the child and seeing what he or she needs independently, some push them off and do the “easy” thing of labeling them with a disorder. Once again I do believe that some children do need help and do have ADD or ADHD.

    Sometimes people forget that although education says that an 11 year old is ready to learn this material, who said that he or she was. Each child develops differently. How many times how you heard that? But yet we do not factor it in when teaching. And it is getting harder and harder with the more standarized tests that come out. In class you may have a child who although he or she is 11, and should know the material maybe his or her brain is only comprehending last years material. What about those with a language barrier? Even if it is in their own language. They are being taught most likely in english. They may not understand what is being taught in english so it doesn’t matter if they are taking the test in their native language.

    I do think that at one point, when eduation was new, people appreciated having the opportunity to be in school. And since it was new, society only knew one way to work, through a productive line. But time has changed, technology has greatly changed and what we teach has greatly changed. If society wants to have productive and well informed students graduating and creating our future, then the past needs to be revamped for the future. Teachers need to be able to reach children in a variety of ways other then lecturing. And children need to be taught the importance of learning and that it is fun to learn. When students get discouraged, typically with math, they then believe that they can never do math and they give up. They didn’t get FOIL so how are they supposed to get anything else. That’s where they stop growing. They are stuck on FOIL and can’t get passed it. So they fail. But it is not because they aren’t smart or can’t learn the material. It is because their brain is stuck on FOIL. All it takes is the help from a teacher, to help bring their confidence up, to show them what they need to know, and then their misconception begins to diminish.

    Posted by Sarah Murray | June 15, 2013, 7:54 pm
  30. There were several things that ran across my mind while watching Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on Changing Paradigms. First, I agree with Mr Needham’s statement “all of our students bring tremendous value to our classrooms”. The public school system should not be separating students between academic and non-academic students. Our public school system is supposed to offer everyone an equal chance for success in life (going to college, landing a great job, making lots of money, living the “American Dream”), but the attainment of these goals become complex when you’re dealing with a society of inequality (different races, cultures, genders, family backgrounds, Social Economic Status, educational histories, etc.).

    There are so many factors to consider, such as differences in social and cultural capital among families that can contribute to a child’s success in school, and socioeconomic status where families have differences in terms of income, educational level, occupation, and wealth. Studies have shown that the higher the socioeconomic status the higher the child’s reading and math scores and the lower their socioeconomic status the lower the scores. Thus, when I come across a student who is struggling at school and is labeled as non-academic by other educators and everyone around starts to give up on him/her. I take on a different approach. I prefer to look at all the other factors that could be causing the student to struggle in school and as a team with other educators who also don’t want to give up on that student, we should try to help find a better solution to the problem. Each student brings some value to the classroom, no matter his/her age or background.

    Public schools have been trying to give every student an equal chance as demonstrated by the various school models for equality of opportunity, but neither the common-school model, sorting-machine model (as illustrated in the video as a factory line), or high-stake testing model delivers 100% success. Each model has their strengths/weaknesses. One of the strengths of the common-school model is that all children receive a common education, but one of its weaknesses is difference in family backgrounds. The sorting-machine model where teachers, counselors, and the use of standardized test separate students by ability and placing them in tracks — cannot truly give every student equal chances if you are providing them different educations to begin with. High-stake testing make it quick and easy for college admission officials and employers, for example, to admit you into a program or offer you a job, but they are not a true measure of the test taker’s intelligence.

    I like Sir Ken Robinson’s reference to Divergent Thinking because it allows for innovation, creativity, and imagination and is what leads to inventions, cures to diseases, and helping solve some of societies problems.

    Posted by Mike Angel | June 16, 2013, 6:51 pm
  31. Watching this video demonstrated for me how the power of an ascetically pleasing delivery can help reinforce a message. As a student, I really thrived in lessons that contained vibrant visual aids. This intimidates me as a new middle school math teacher. How will I make my lessons engaging enough in order to keep my students from “shutting off their senses”? It seems I have my work cut out for me, but I am determined to make it happen.
    The portion of the video that spoke about schools stuck in the factory days opened my eyes. There was a group of teachers in high school that seemed to try and break this barrier. They had music playing when we were switching classes, they had costumes days for specific lessons, themed hallways and much more. They did what they could to deter you from the fact of how boring the typical system could be. Students loved their classes and typically excelled in them as well. I remember always taking the long ways to classes so, even if for a glimpse, I could feel like I was having fun in school. I didn’t realize all this until after this video, but I know what to be those teachers for my students.
    I know that my public school education did not prepare me for the rigor of a private liberal arts college in the least bit. In high school I was at the top of my class and had mastered the concept of multiple choice testing. There is ONE right answer so find it and move on. My three years of college took me for a rollercoaster ride. Through Physics, Spanish, Finance, or World History, NO MULTIPLE CHOICE TESTS EVER EXSISTED. I graduated and never had the pleasure of a multiple choice test. Each test I took was open ended questions that made you explain YOUR view of the right answer instead of the ONE we had been taught to find. It forced you to think outside the box, and negotiate with professor if you felt you had a reasonable explanation to his/her question. Looking back, I started my learning process as a freshman in college. The years in secondary school were about figuring out the system and beating it (TAKS Tests, Multiple Choice Tests, Open Book Quizzes) I wasn’t taught how to learn, I was trained how to maneuver through the “factory system” most effectively. At one point in history, I believe this concept proved success for students. But people aren’t coming up with new discoveries and technology because they work assembly lines. Times have changed and we need an education system that enables ALL of our students to be equipped with the tools to enhance our world.

    Posted by Katie Hendrickson | June 17, 2013, 11:03 am
  32. Sir Ken Robinson’s talk struck me as very energetic and I think that speaks to his point about how kids need an awakening experience – an aesthetic experience, in the classroom. The education system also needs this awakening experience as it reforms itself to a new paradigm not so closely based on the economic and intellectual model.

    While I don’t think the viewers got to see his entire message, one point that seemed oddly incomplete to me was the narrative kids are told: work hard -> go to college -> get job. This narrative, he freely admits, is no longer believeable by the kids and so we must have a new story to tell them – one that is credible, encompasses and is relevant to an ever-changing global economy, results in prosperity, and offers an aesthetic experience.

    That, to me, is an incredibly worthy goal, one that should be pursued, and one that is likely the correct trajectory for the educational system to take. It is also seemingly in the opposite direction of the solutions and programs enacted by the establishment. While Sir Robinson addresses his causes for the problems in the educational system, he does not address what new narrative solves the problems he sees nor does he address the ways and means to legitimize the new narrative and modes of teaching.

    As I start my new career as a teacher I hope to help frame and develop the reformation of the education system and be an active participant in a system that awakens kids to take their place as productive members of society.

    Posted by Jon Denning | June 18, 2013, 12:13 pm
  33. I enjoyed this particular talk because it opened my eyes to how the academic environment has had to adapt to changing time, even since I was in the classroom.

    Growing up in a Montessori classroom, I fully agree with the message that kids learn differently in different situations. It was great to see kids who may have struggled during group work also have the opportunity to work by themselves, and vice versa. Kids were able to figure out how they learned best, and were also set up for success by the structure of the classroom.

    Classrooms were structured in groups by grade level (1st-3rd grade together, 4th-6th, etc) This allowed the material to be grouped by developmental stage and the students worked through the material at their own pace. This addressed what Sir Robinson mentioned about learning in assembly lines, with nothing in common but their date of manufacture.

    As I begin my career as a teacher, it is important for me to set my students up for success in the classroom, and I hope we can figure out how to overcome some of the obstacles mentioned in this video.

    Posted by Jenny Stiles | June 18, 2013, 1:03 pm
  34. The first thing that struck me about Robinson’s talk were the statistics that he gave about the dropout rate. I was pretty surprised that the dropout rate was that high. However, I was even more surprised about the economic benefits of just halving the dropout rate. How much more do we stand to gain by keeping all kids in school? Also why isn’t this being brought up more often, especially when discussing budget cuts for schools?

    I also really appreciated Robinson’s emphasis on diversity when it comes to subjects studied. It always frustrates me to only hear about math and science scores. Is that all that really matters? Aren’t there other areas of study that are just as important in their contributions to society? I will acknowledge that creativity is pretty hard to measure on a standardized scale, but then tests can be overrated, as Robinson points out.

    Which brings me to testing. I really liked Robinson’s point about how testing should be diagnostic. I know that as a student I always viewed tests as an end rather than the means to an end. I would learn something for a test and then forget most of it as the class moved on to the next unit. Instead I should have been using the tests to understand what I had learned and what I still needed to learn. I think part of the reason for this were final tests. After the final test was over, it was like I had permission to just forget what I had learned for it, which is a less than ideal mentality to have now that I look back.

    A fourth idea that rang true to me was the delegation of authority. Delegating authority to those who are in the schools everyday improves the problem solving because they are able to act in a quick and efficient manner, rather than waiting for others who are not directly involved in the situation to try and make decisions on a matter that they may know nothing about. Why is a congressman from Maine more qualified to make education policies for a school in Texas than a school teacher in one of those schools in Texas?

    The last thing that came home to me about Robinson’s talk was how undervalued teachers are, especially compared to other professions. In the last few months, I have gotten all kinds of comments when I tell people that I am going to be a teacher. The general theme seems to be “Good for you, that is something I could never do. Its too under-appreciated of a profession.” People are acknowledging this as a problem but not doing anything about it, but maybe one day this comic will come true.

    Posted by Janna Lauer | June 19, 2013, 2:46 pm
  35. What I found most interesting about Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk was how many aspects of our educational system that appear natural or normal are actually residual effects from an Enlightenment era approach that was responding to conditions of the Industrial Revolution. Understanding that education is historically and contextually grounded underscores the importance of having a view of learning that is flexible enough to adjust to shifts in culture.

    When he was elaborating on his factory line metaphor, Robinson questioned why we sort students into “batches” by grade level, asking “Why is the most important thing they have in common in their age?” He offers several more reasonable criteria for organizing students—those who are more ready to learn in the morning, or afternoon, those who work better alone, or in small groups. Perhaps one of the most challenging tasks of being a teacher is accommodating all of these different needs and learning preferences while in the same classroom. How can a teacher first identify under what conditions a student most successfully thrives, and how can s/he then create those ideal conditions for every student? While this sounds like an impossible puzzle, I believe that Robinson is hinting towards applying divergent thinking strategies for educators as well. It is not only that we should be fostering critical and lateral thinking skills for our students, but we as teachers should also approach old, perhaps outdated and ineffective educational models with new and creative strategies.

    I received my undergraduate degree in Media Studies, and I found the discussion about aesthetic versus anesthetic experiences to align in interesting ways to themes that emerged in my studies. We do indeed live in an intensely stimulating environment, with many forms of media competing for our attention. However, I believe we can view our collective increased media literacy as a unique opportunity to expand our modes of engagement. We have many more tools at our disposal, and we can use these tools to have our students’ “senses operating at peak” to achieve the aesthetic experience Robinson lauds.

    Posted by Rachel Vogel | June 19, 2013, 10:35 pm
  36. I really enjoyed the video, the fact that it was animated just brought life to his discussion. I strongly agree with him when he says that “students learn differently.” Some people are so stuck on living in the past it is hard to adjust to the things we face today. The ADHD talk was very interesting, the reason being because I can remember times in school when teachers pointed that out. Us as students knew who the ADHD students were. Some days they are up and alert then other days they actually look like ghost. I agree with him when he says that we should be trying to wake the students up instead of medicating them. I am originally from Louisiana so it was interesting to know that we were one of the states with high cases of ADHD. The topic about testing the students when they were in kindergarten and continuing to test them as years past was not complete to me. Yes, he told us that as they got older they deteriorate, but I would have liked it better if we would have known the actual percentage rates. I would actually like to know why do we deteriorate as we get older. The fact that we are attending school to learn it seems as though we learn what it takes to move forward to learn something new, but then disregard what was previously taught. I know it is impossible to remember every single thing you have ever learned. But how can we really instill in our students that everything they learn must be carried forward? I also agree with the fact that culture has a part in learning.

    Posted by Ja'Niqua Kendrix | June 20, 2013, 1:04 pm
  37. I have many reactions to both Sir Ken Robinson’s talk and to the comments left by many of you.

    First off, the beginning of Robinson’s talk reminded me of another video I watched, sponsored by I highly recommend watching it.

    In Robinson’s talk, he discusses the idea that we still teach students using the same model created during the periods of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. The video agrees with Robinson in that solely teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic are somewhat outdated because this model was designed for a previous era. For example, the reason our education system focuses so much on math was because of a great focus on farming. Additionally, because the Bible was so important, reading became a very crucial skill. Unlike the Robinson talk, the video provides possible solutions to this dilemma. One of the speakers in the video, for example, explains that the notion of focusing mainly on reading, writing, and arithmetic could be replaced with emphasizing reading comprehension, the ability to search for information, and “how to believe”. He backs up this notion by saying that these skills will better prepare students for future years, as opposed to just the current time.

    One of the points that I found most fascinating and conflicting in Robinson’s talk was the idea that working hard, completing school, going to college, and getting a job no longer is the case. I found it fascinating because I think it is true in many ways, especially for my previous students who were particularly artistic. I find it conflicting because as a YES Prep teacher, one of my goals is to get kids to college. When they realize that college may not be the answer to success, I am not so sure of how to respond.

    Regarding the conversation on ADHD, I have to say ADHD is real. Yes, the number of ADHD students has increased in the last decade, I do not believe this increase is due to solely false identifications. Though it could be due to overstimulation, as Robinson suggests, it could also be due do increased reporting of incidence. The truth is that we don’t know exactly what has caused this perceived increase in ADHD and/or other intellectual disabilities.

    Lastly, I agree with Robinson that “great learning happens in groups.” Based on my practicum and student teaching experiences, I have to believe that education is moving in the direction of increased group work. Every classroom I worked in was trying to incorporate group work in some way. The problem is, however, the classroom environment does not necessarily facilitate group work. For example, if we are so focused on group work, why do our classrooms (at least in Nashville) only have individual desks as opposed to tables? Just as Robinson noted, if we want collaboration in the classroom, we must mimic that natural environment in the classroom.

    Posted by Cara Rosenthal | June 21, 2013, 1:40 pm
  38. The information/ideas delivered in the clip regarding education reform were thought provoking and very interesting. I wonder if in another part of the video he offers more detailed suggestions on how to restructure the educational process – I think such ideas would be equally or ever more valuable. I think most people, even without educational training would quickly tell you that great teaching involves more aesthetic and kinesthetic experiences, but the more valuable information is which techniques/changes are most valuable in not just getting students college ready, but career-competitive and career-ready. Should the whole idea of spending the majority of out time in a desk in a classroom be re-considered? Or the order in which students study specific topics? How can students be introduced and become familiar with their most prepared and qualified competition (globally)? I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED how the speaker pointed out that students are moved based on grade or age level (and it limits a child).

    These thoughts bring remind me of a conversation I had with a friend from London. I vaguely remember him explaining that their high school are career specific. Does such a system allow a student to excel in subjects they are naturally inclined to be successful in?

    Posted by Amanda Garza | June 22, 2013, 10:19 am
  39. I agree with most of Ken Robinson’s points about how we need to differentiate and diverge our system of public education right now. I think we are really at a tipping point, where people are beginning to recognize our schools have largely remained the same for generations even as our society has grown and developed at a very rapid pace. One easy example is that of technology. We have technology surrounding our students all day outside of school, but seem to hardly use it in school. I think we need creative individuals in education, ones that can harness technology in new ways to educate students and bring the best out of them.

    Another point I enjoyed from Mr. Robinson’s talk was that we should be striving to pull the best things OUT of our students, not trying to cram new information INTO them. That is the definition of education if broken down from its Latin roots, “to draw out from within.” All students have the abilities and potential to do great things; it is the teacher’s responsibility to bring that potential out through meaningful, rigorous learning opportunities. If we can do that, then it will open up opportunity for millions of students all over the world that would otherwise fall by the wayside.

    Posted by Brad Petersen | June 22, 2013, 1:21 pm
  40. I always enjoying listening to and/or discussing issues in education. I found Sir Robinson to reveal many points that I had not previously considered. (For instance, why do we place students together according to “manufacturing date”? It seems so much ingrained in our current system that I had never thought to question this.) I very much agreed with his comment that our current educational system is attempting to “meet the future by doing what was done in the past”. I find that many students do not see the same benefits of school that they may have in the past, where there was a clear trend of hard work = college = job. However the benefit of quality education cannot be understated and I think this gets into the heart of what Sir Robinson was saying. He emphasized changing the current system so we move away from the industrialized version of education. It is necessary to bring the students and content to life, which cannot be done through a multiple choice test.

    One thing that I kept thinking about while watching the video was “what would this look like in a real life classroom?” I find that it is easy, or at least easier, to point out flaws, but it is difficult to say what would be a realistic solution. The idealist in me was thrilled by the possibility of building divergent thinking, fostering collaborative learning, and being able to provide each student with the individualized teaching practice that he or she benefits from the most. My inner cynic wanted to know how this would be funded and allowed in a time that schools can be closed based on multiple choice tests. While I enjoyed the ideas presented in the talk, I would have liked an end that provided some more tangible solutions to the problems he exposed. I understand that exposing the issue is simply the first step, but I like to dedicate more time to exploring ways to “fix” it (for lack of a better term).

    Posted by Kara Higa | June 23, 2013, 11:58 pm
  41. Sir Ken Robinson’s arguments about the current state of education bring to light many interesting issues and concerns. From the very beginning of his speech, Sir Robinson indicates how every country in the world is reforming education and currently exploring questions about how to improve the state of education. Therefore, clearly there are issues with the current ways we are operating with regard to education. We have not yet found a way to cope with economic and cultural goals for education, as highlighted by Sir Robinson.

    I found Sir Robinson’s point about alienating kids in school particularly profound. He mentions how students don’t see the point in going to school. Unlike in the past, even though it may increase your chances, school does not necessarily guarantee a job. I feel like this is a central issue preventing learning in the classroom, true creativity, and divergent thinking, which Sir Robinson mentions later in the talk. From my own experience speaking to students, school seems to be an unwanted task and many students seem to question the real purpose of school in asking, “When am I ever going to actually use this?”. For me, this common question reveals the sentiment of students Sir Robinson is describing where kids don’t see the purpose of school. As a result, the minds of our generations are not being cultivated to their potential and students, who may be learning information and facts, are not learning to think. The creativity and divergent thinking Sir Robinson discusses is exactly what I find the classroom often lacks. While schools currently focus on the “boring” tasks Sir Robinson mentions and drills students with methods, memorization, and rules, the classes lack the ability to teach students higher order thinking skills, develop multiple solutions for questions, and interpret questions in multiple ways.

    In Sir Robinson’s final summarizing comments on the “gene pool of education”, he mentions another significant argument in stating that we must begin to change our view of the capacity of humans with regards to learning. I agree with his statement about our current labels of “academic” and “non-academic” people. I think our current model of education struggles with labeling students and as a result, the non-academic, or students labeled as lower-performing in some fashion, begin to believe they are not intelligent and do not have potential. This is an issue I believe greatly inhibits learning in the classroom and prevents students from reaching the potential that they do in fact contain, but do not believe they have. When Sir Robinson mentions the difference between an aesthetic experience and an anaesthetic experience, I agree that we need to move towards creating a more aesthetic experience and that we should be waking up even these non-academic students to believe in themselves and pull out all of their potential.

    There are many issues that need to be addressed and it is time to begin changes in our cultural mindset towards the institution of education. However, the question now is what practical and tangible steps can we take to make these changes?

    Posted by Rebecca Kott | June 24, 2013, 11:37 am
  42. As a pre-school teacher for five years I do have to agree with many points made by Sir Ken Robinson. This past year was my hardest teaching year because I had two ADHD students and an Autistic student in my class. The only one on medication was the Autistic child, I was ready to quit by October. It wasn’t until I realized that what I was doing wasn’t going to work and I changed my teaching style to fit the students. I exactly what Sir Robinson had said, yes there were still times where I wanted to pull my hair out but when I became fun Ms. Mayra everything became great.

    He states that we shouldn’t group students based on their age, which is true for the most part. Not every child is the same and they definitely don’t learn the same. I do believe there does need to be a change in the way classrooms are set up. For example, in the pre-school I work at we have three pre-k classes they are first assigned to the classes by age (months). Once in the classroom the students are assessed and based on the results they either move up, down, or stay in that class. We do need to acknowledge that even though they may be intellectually ready for an advancement we must make sure they are ready in other aspects. For example, I had one student who was extremely smart but lacked small motor skills and was definitely not emotionally or socially ready for an older class. I worked with her all year and tweaked my lesson a bit to continue challenging her while at the same time helping her with the problems she was having difficulty with.

    Almost every point that Sir Robinson pointed out made sense to me and I could relate to based on experiences. The problem is that at the end of the day the way we are suppose to teach and what we are suppose to teach is set in stone by the government. We hear a lot about budget cuts when it should be the opposite. Education should be given all the tools we need in order to teach efficiently. With class sizes so big now how is a teacher to give one-on-one attention to a student who needs it. This is where the alienating begins, once a student doesn’t get the help they need they begin disliking school because it is “hard”. By the time the student hits middle school he has a discipline problem and is eventually forgotten about because he is labeled as a “lost cause”.

    Posted by Mayra Medina | June 24, 2013, 9:35 pm
  43. I enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson TED talk. He had so much information to give and great examples. When he spoke about how students are labeled in school “academic (smart)” or “non academic (non smart)” it reminded me of when I was in grade school. Teachers would place students in these two groups and sometimes ignore one group. I also enjoyed when he spoke about waking up the students instead of giving them medication to try to control them. Another point that caught my eye was when he talked about aesthetic learning students “need to be alive”. I completely agree students need to involve in their learning and work together to reach a common goal. Students need to be guided but not controlled in this video it also talked about how students need to work together and be let go of so that they can be their true self. As a teacher I agree and I want this for my classroom and for my students. I am a big believer that collaboration is important for students and their growth.

    Posted by Marla Trujillo | June 24, 2013, 11:59 pm
  44. Having seen this video a number of times I continue to be impressed by the speed and quality of drawings and the ideas that Robinson raises. I agree with many of his points about the issues in the education system, such as tracking and boring students. The issues of tracking that we see today with AP, honors, and tech classes are rooted in a long history. With these practices, we diminish the value of vocational classes and the students who are in them. I always find it interesting that we have created such a narrow picture of what success looks like many feel these classes are something of an embarrassment. It would be interesting to mark and explore the time in history that we turned from looking at our students as individuals and to looking at standards and averages. Tying into this issue is that of creating students who can do rote tasks but lack an understanding of their strengths and passions that lie within. When we forget to look at our students as individuals, it’s hard to play to these needs.

    I agree these and many other issues highlighted by Robinson, but I think the most telling thing of the video is that he offers no real solution. He does mention that divergent thinking is something of value that we should strive for, but there is not instruction of how this can be done. I think this is reflective of the greater world of education. No one knows all of the answers. We don’t have one fit-all solution. We can learn from our own practices but it’s unlikely one systemic change is going to meet the needs of every child. What’s important is to keep those children at the forefront of our minds when considering changes that could/should be made.

    Posted by Kirsten Arritt | June 25, 2013, 7:20 am
  45. I suppose I shouldn’t feel so guilty about this, but unlike my peers, I had a wonderful experience in the public school system. Because I was in the Gifted program, I had teachers who worked on the individual needs and strengths of each student. Classes were exciting, conversations were controversial, and there was no emphasis on standardized testing because teachers knew that we’d pass anyway. And honestly, what Sir Ken Robinson is encouraging, is the education I had. I think Gifted teachers believed all their kids would learn the content they needed to learn if the teacher could figure out how to inspire them. Maybe I just had a lucky draw with my teachers, but I’d like to think that not just the “advanced” kids could learn from this type of education. That, the reason they were advanced to begin with, was that their teachers and parents had this kind of mentality from the get-go. This mentality gave the students a head start and a curiosity to continue further.

    I do think that Sir Ken Robinson made a mistake in trying to lead the viewer into thinking the diagnosis of ADHD could have some kind of causal or meaningful correlation with standardized testing. “ADHD has risen parallel to standardized testing.” So, what? It has also risen with the amount of high fructose corn syrup children eat and also the number of children getting vaccines. A lot of people have plugged these numbers to make a point, and it is irresponsible to do so. There happens to be standardized testing on the West side of the map (probably an equal amount in California, Texas, etc), but there’s less prevalence of ADHD diagnoses. Why? Perhaps cultural or economic factors. ADHD diagnoses have been increasing because now people are looking for signs the child has it. The same way now there’s an increase in the number of people diagnosed with cancer. There’s more screening, so less people are dying unexpectedly from something that’s been growing for years. Of course there are other factors that can increase the prevalence of cancer or ADHD besides advanced screening, such as environmental factors or biological factors, but Sir Robinson’s argument of ADHD rising with standardized testing was a straw man.

    I worked in a clinic with kids with ADHD and autism, and I’ve also worked with children as young as 7 who are clinically depressed. I’m horrified whenever I heard people say that ADHD and depression are not real diseases. That ADHD kids are just kids who lack discipline, or depressed people are just people who don’t appreciate the beauty of life. Psychologists do not give drugs to children so that they become robot zombies. Its to help a child learn to control themselves by making it easier for them. I liken it to teaching a child, who had never been in water, how to swim in an ocean without water wings. Sure, some may learn that way, but others may be so traumatized by the experience and so afraid they’ll fail that they never want to go into the water again. ADHD drugs are the water wings. You eventually take them off, little by little, once the child gets used to it.

    While I support most of what Sir Ken Robinson has said about what a child should have in order to succeed in life, I do not like that he used a correlation between ADHD and standardized testing to promote his agenda without verifiable evidence.

    Posted by Alondra Kristine Torres Aponte | June 25, 2013, 12:59 pm
  46. On an aesthetic note: There should be animation for every lecture on the internet. Awesome.

    Back to serious matters. I unflappably agree with Sir Robinson’s argument that the ADHD epidemic is a myth, and I’d add that whenever a child is given a label, whether it comes prepackaged with medication or not, it builds an obstacle she didn’t previously see and thus at times keeps her from achieving her full potential. I had one student whose father insisted she get tested for ADHD and after the diagnosis, she completely checked out from class. Before the diagnosis, she struggled but showed interest in the lessons; afterwards, though, she fell asleep in class, couldn’t be roused to answer questions, and ran to the nurse’s and counselor’s office at every opportunity, making her fall even further behind in class because she wasn’t present. I don’t deny ADHD reality — but I’m worried that the quick diagnosis of students leads to consequences as pointed out by Sir Robinson: shutting down the senses of children before they get a chance to really open up.

    Adding to that, another label that I think holds students back is what has become a quick and easy adjective: “crazy.” In a certain context, it has the connotation of loose, wild, fun, out of control. In another, however, the context I most often see in the classroom, it is the diagnosis of a child who suffers mentally. More students of mine than I could imagine have taken or are taking medication for mental health issues: bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, anger. I don’t deny these realities either, but at times I felt like these large, heavy labels weighed my students down — along with their medication. Being told, “You’re crazy” thus, “you’re not like everyone else,” thus, “you’re not normal,” in my opinion kept me from meeting who my students really were — instead I met the projection of who they were *told* they were: a “crazy person,” and they started acting in a way they believed they were expected to act.

    Some people mentioned that Sir Robinson doesn’t really present a solution, but on the contrary, I believe he does, but not in such a forthright manner. It starts with dispelling myths — that’s the purpose of education, isn’t it? Dispelling myths, revealing truth, but also encouraging students to discover multiple truths/answers (religion, for example). In addition, we should allow students to work together, as I’ve seen in YES Prep classrooms, because so often two heads really are better than one. I did not get to this position in my life by myself. So frequently I didn’t know the right answers, and I went (i.e. ran) to others for help, guidance, and advice. This is true in Grown Up Life — why not encourage it in school?

    Posted by Celeste Prince | June 25, 2013, 2:03 pm
  47. In my opinion, everything in this well-crafted and animated argument by Sir Ken Robinson comes down to this statement: “We have to think differently about human capacity”. In this compelling Ted Talk, Robinson brings up many different topics to chew on. I think it is important that we take time as educators to ask tough questions, search for answers, and put our common practices to the test. While watching this clip, I was reminded of Stephen Covey’s (author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) principle of Production and Production Capability. Covey uses the story of the poor farmer and the goose that laid the golden egg to discuss the tendency people often have to focus solely on the production, the golden egg, at the cost of the production capability, the goose. I think this is the common tale of failing schools and school systems. There is too much emphasis on the golden eggs – the objectives, the grades, the scores, the outcomes – rather than thinking about the human capacity of the students. I believe this idea is exemplified by the divergent thinking study that Robinson refers to in this video. The education system is genetically built to give students the answer rather than awaken students’ potential for creativity and higher-level thinking. Our students’ capacities are immense and innate, but until education systems turns their focus (which education reformists are currently doing) to the geese rather than the golden eggs, they will continuously be disappointed and bewildered at their lack of production.

    And if you haven’t already read 7 Habits, I would highly recommend it. It will surely change your paradigms in several areas of your professional and personal lives.

    Posted by Tiffany Steele | June 25, 2013, 6:34 pm
  48. I was introduced to Sir Ken Robinson’s “Changing Education Paradigms” in college before I thought of education as a potential future career. This video definitely changed my perception of the education system then, and continues to fascinate me even now.

    Two of his points really affected me as I watched this video again. First, I think that Robinson is extremely accurate about the necessity for today’s youth to have access to higher standards of education in order to meet the needs of 21st century society. There is an almost impossible expectation for students to meet incredibly high standards in a system that has continually proven to not always provide students the tools they need to meet these standards. I truly believe that banishing the old perception of human capacity and improving the culture of educational institutions would help students to better reach their educational goals today. Second, Robinson’s point about the “industrialist-style” education system really helped me to realize how divergent thinking decreases as students move through school. I also thought that this video’s visuals played a huge role in driving home the speaker’s points..extremely successful platform!

    Posted by Ellen | June 25, 2013, 9:57 pm
  49. This talk raises a host of issues, of which for me the following stand out:

    Holistic learning for holistic results: Sir Robinson points out that the current, antiquated educational system privileges native intelligence (i.e. traditional academic prowess) over other skills and privileges standardized testing over other models of measurement. A revamped system that provides students with capabilities in non-traditional intellectual tasks with something more than resignation to the bottom of the class – that is, a system that is less analytical and dissective and more synthetic and inclusive – could help more students perform better and be more engaged in school, and to parlay that learning in academic and non-academic ways beyond the classroom. In short, kids are people and people are different – we need to recognize their differences to raise the tide instead of focusing on a select few intellectual boats.

    Aesthetic exposure: The current educational model’s focus on the 17th-century idea of intellectual ability allows for little of what Robinson calls the “aesthetic experience” – that moment when a person’s senses are fully engaged. But such experiences are often what we remember most, and are, for many, more fun than pure intellectual argument. If our aim is to reach all students, we need to embrace aesthetic exposures because such experiences can be enjoyed by – and instructive for – all, not just the traditionally recognized “smart kids.” (I’m thinking of, perhaps, using basketball to teach the economic principle of arbitrage…)

    Dissonance between individual and group: Robinson notes that the current system atomizes students in learning. If, as he says, most learning is achieved in groups, atomizing students inhibits learning. That doesn’t mean that individual work should be discarded – there are surely benefits to individual work, especially in a holistic learning environment. Rather, teachers (and the systems they work within) should adapt to create partner and group learning models so that kids can learn from one another and not solely on their own.

    Updating our narrative: Our grandparents’ narrative that good performance in school leads to college, which leads to a good job is not false but is antiquated. Kids today (and young teachers, too) know this. We need a newer, truer, realistic narrative to illustrate the importance of performing well in school and what that means for success in college and beyond.

    Reform: Just as happened centuries ago, our need for educational reform is driven, and will be bounded by, both economic and cultural necessities. We need students who are able to improve the economy with their input, in whatever form, but who act as culturally aware humans in an intermingled society. Our economic and cultural systems have changed, but their importance in our lives as individuals and as communities has not. Meaning, any and all educational reform that aims to do any real good must blend its idealism with pragmatism for those ideals to manifest in the real world, which is governed by the realities of our cultural practices and available tax revenues.

    Posted by Brennan Peel | June 25, 2013, 11:03 pm
  50. Just like everyone else, I had about a million thoughts about this as I was watching, and it’s tough to distill the sense of unease about the way educational institutions are set up into a practical set of strategies to change our practices. Toward that end, there were a few ideas that resonated with my own best learning experiences and my ideas about how my classroom should run for maximum engagements:

    1) the aesthetic vs. anaesthetic: I loved the description about the aesthetic leading a learner to “resonate” with the excitement of a sensory experience. I’m teaching English, and literature is all about the aesthetic. There is very high potential to make students vibrate (a verb taken from my impression of the very excellent animation accompanying this talk). They need to feel excitement. They need to have all of their senses engaged. That means, obviously, that our instruction needs to be designed to foster that. That notion leads to two other ideas that hit home for me: collaboration and classism.

    2) collaboration: as Sir Ken noted, collaboration is often called cheating. For students to be optimally engaged and successful, it is critical for them to work closely and exchange ideas with teachers and each other. Although they’re on their own for standardized testing (just a fact…embrace it), we can and must establish the means and time for them to experiment with ideas and practice in collaborative ways.

    3) Institutionalized classism: the current education paradigm is shifting, especially at places like YES Prep. However, it still stems from a “gene pool” filled with the tainted water of classism and the assumption that “street kids” can’t learn because real intellectualism is reserved for the privileged. Clearly this doesn’t work, and it’s a vestige of the early American struggle to establish educational systems that addressed social problems and economic realities that have changed dramatically since the inception of our system of (particularly public) schooling. We all have to be aware of the ways this mindset may have infected our own thinking. After all, we are products of it, too. I was especially struck by the comment that “many brilliant people think they’re not.” This is a function of the antiquated way in which we collectively think about learning and the capabilities of our students, and the surest way out of it is for us to open ourselves to new categories of brilliance…then assume that everyone has their own brand.

    Posted by Erica Lapen | June 26, 2013, 1:41 pm
  51. What jumped out at me was the thought of using 19th century methods to teach 21st century students. As an incoming World History teacher I can’t wait to talk with my students about this time period and how different our world has become in only two centuries. We use new methods for politics, travel, cooking, entertainment, and seemingly everything else so why aren’t we using new methods when it comes to entrusting knowledge to our posterity. It seems like while we have learned from experience and grown in most other aspects of the human experience, but for some reason education just hasn’t caught up. However, I believe that now we have called attention to the issues inherent in our system and with caring teachers, faculty, and students we can make progress.

    I also enjoyed Sir Ken’s segment on the anaestethics of the classroom. I want my students to be able to leave my classroom not only knowing a few more dates, but feeling personally connected to someone from the past. This is where a blurring of subjects is needed. When it comes to teaching history you have to teach the theater, science, politics and everything else of a different time period, so why restrict the information you give your students to a few key facts.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and look forward to being part of the change he believes in.

    Posted by Douglas Waldrep | June 26, 2013, 10:39 pm
  52. This is one of my favorite TED talks that I have actually watched a number of times before. In fact, I highly recommend watching SIr Ken Robinson’s other TED talks, particularly “Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.” Returning to this particular TED talk, there were several points Robinson made that caused my mind to go off on a tangent in my thinking and connect to some personal experiences.

    He talks about how our model of education is completely outdated and not meeting the needs of the students. They are bored. With the emphasis on standardized tests, we end up focusing on accomplishing a list of standards as quickly as possible throughout the year and then play a quick game of catch up and review in a cram session for several weeks before the big, mean state test. I was hired this spring to work on a federal grant that’s focus was to have teachers take small groups of students who were on the bubble of scoring “proficient” on the state test, and spend an extended amount of time working with them to raise their scores. The remaining students, mostly those who scored below basic or low basic on the test, were left in the classroom with a substitute teacher and busy work. The grant made it seem very fancy and a great cause on paper, but my description is the true, simplified version of the model. As one of the only certified teachers in the group of substitute teachers, I directly observed the students left behind, who had spent the school year barely getting by and lacked a depth of understanding of almost all of the standards. We need to move away from quick, rote learning and encourage divergent thinking. As a math teacher, I see this as allowing students to develop algorithms on their own through collaboration and critical thinking, rather than encouraging memorization of formulas.

    Another tangent my brain traveled down was the standardization and conformity created by our emphasis on the state test. While I think there is a place for standardized tests, it should not drive education. I was recently having dinner with a Harvard professor of education and we were discussing the challenges she faces when advising undergraduate students. We typically consider those accepted to Harvard as being really smart people, so why worry about them? I am not fully disagreeing with this idea, but I want to offer a counter argument to consider. Many of these students have this cookie-cutter plan they have possessed most of there life: graduate from high school in the top of the class, go to Harvard (or another Ivy school), graduate with high honors, go into the work force and be successful (often making lots of money is part of this plan). However, many never had a chance to discover there passion and purpose in life. Instead, they were really good at good grades and scoring above average on tests. Many also are following a plan set by another person, instead of a personal drive. We have failed these students. This professor described the crisis some of these students face who never learned what they loved and enjoy. We educated them out of creativity, curiosity, and divergent thinking. How can these successful students change the world without knowing who they are and what they love? Yes, this is a generalization and certainly not true for all successful students. However, it is something to consider with our push for conformity with the large emphasis on standardized testing.

    ADD/ADHD are such a hot topic in education. I have to agree with Ken Robinson that it is not an epidemic, but a result of our education system. Far too many young children are prescribed high doses of these drugs to keep them in their seats and quiet in order to educate them out of who they were designed to be. As a math teacher that has worked with children as young as Head Start programs and as old as 7th graders, one of my favorite books is “Yardsticks,” that discusses the developmental expectations for children at each age in life from 4 to 14. Young elementary students learn best through play, physical activity, and variation, yet most elementary schools expect students to listen to a teacher lecture for extended times and have scheduled recess maybe every other day for 15 minutes. What? This is not developmentally appropriate for kids! While I am a firm believer that ADD and ADHD are real, it is not an epidemic. I think it essential to figure out how the student will learn best and make learning exciting.

    Posted by Grace Anne Francis | June 27, 2013, 4:29 pm
  53. I appreciate the question posed in the original post regarding labels and the damage that being improperly labeled with ADHD/ADD (and subsequently medicated) can do to our students. This made me think about the implications supposedly “good” labels can do as well: advanced, gifted and talented, smart. Psychology studies abound showing that students (especially white, male ones) who are labeled as gifted or advanced receive more attention and praise in the classroom. To the detriment of those who are not so fortunately labeled. I recently met with the Dean of Instruction for my campus and was a little shocked when she informed me that over half of my future 9th grade English students were reading and writing below grade level. Silently, I calculated how many “advanced” or “smart” students I had left and started to feel really nervous. I’m a bit ashamed of myself for quickly judging students whom I hadn’t even met yet. Thoughts of lazy, unmotivated students filled my mind – too far gone. This video reminded me that tests and various forms of standardized evaluations are insufficient in measuring a mind. I appreciated when Sir Robinson said, “Many brilliant people think they’re not.” And, it is no wonder this happens when their teachers (ahem, me) psych themselves out when confronted with a challenge or a non-conforming mind. It’s easier, more efficient and more in line with the values of a neoliberal, globalized economy to leave the stragglers behind and focus on those that are already succeeding. The only critique I have of Robinson’s video regards these values that I believe he could have been more critical of, but he by no means ignored them and I am thankful for the conversation started. I am even more thankful for the inspiration it has given me to see all of my students as capable (per the 98% of Kindergarteners who display genius level divergent thinking!) of critical and creative thought. It is up to me to find ways for them to shine and display their unique capabilities.

    Posted by Lena Silva | June 27, 2013, 4:56 pm
  54. This was the first video we watched in my very first education class in college. I being so excited that I changed my major because I wanted to help change the paradigm just like he talked about in the video. I tried to approach all of my education classes with this video in mind.

    It did not take me long to figure out however that not everyone shared my goal of change. Many of the teachers I observed were buying into the paradigm. Not only that many of my classmates were as well. It then became my goal to reach as many students as I could given my current situation, but I wondered if I would be able to find a school that had the same goals that I did.

    After my internship on the original KIPP campus, I became determined to find a school where everyone was focused on shifting the paradigm. I saw how high expectation and a culture of excellence could impact students in a positive way and I wanted to find an environment like that. I was thrilled when YES offered me a position teaching geometry because I knew they had a culture that was very similar to KIPP and everyone would be focused on shifting the paradigm.

    His demand for education reform is well articulated and appeals to a wide audience, but what is perhaps his most important challenge if to foster an environment for divergent thinking. As a math teacher I love to show students many different ways to work the same problem so they see there are many ways to approach the same problem. Yes, in math there is typically only one correct answer but there are several paths to get there.

    This video has been an inspiration to me since my first education class and I am excited to work with a group that is working towards shifting the paradigm.

    Posted by Alyssa (Allie) Davis | June 27, 2013, 5:33 pm
  55. Soon after I watched Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, I went back and revisited a video I was introduced to a few weeks previously:

    In this video, a teacher in the 60s attempts to recreate the feelings of racism and segregation in her white, middle class, 3rd grade classroom. The idea was that when talking about segregation of African Americans, Native Americans, etc. in our country, these children say they understand what these people are going to, but in reality they can’t unless they’ve gone through it themselves. By segregating the students into the blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and then declaring that one was superior to the other. Throughout the day those declared superior had privileges that the inferior group did not, such as playing on the playground equipment at recess, having extra time at recess, drinking from the water fountain, etc. As the days went on, there was concrete evidence that “superior” group was performing better academically than the “inferior” group. To more thoroughly test this hypothesis, the teacher switched the superior and inferior groups the next day (i.e. the blue-eyed group was superior one day and the brown-eyed group was superior the next day). Again, the “superior” group performed significantly better than the “inferior” group, even though that “inferior” group was “superior” just the day before.

    Aside from the many great parts of this experiment and the realization that this teacher and these kids have, I absolutely love the point that the above paragraph drives home: labels matter. They effect the way people see themselves, the way they act, the way they succeed or don’t succeed, whether it’s conscious or not. Just as labeling a child ADD or ADHD can adversely affect a child’s educational experience, so can labeling a child with anything that may have a negative connotation. I really want to strive to check these labels at the door of my classroom (and hopefully school) and have my students to the same. A predetermined label should not affect the experience a child has in the classroom, and in order for all students to success we must give them all their best opportunity to do so.

    Posted by Lorri Marlow | June 27, 2013, 5:37 pm
  56. I absolutely loved the Ken Robinson talk. I saw this video a couple of months ago, and the thing that immediately caught my attention was the fact that we were not simply looking at a man delivering a speech. Through a very unique and grasping method, Ken was able to deliver a message through the use of creativity, an area he highly emphasized in his lecture. Through doing so, he was able to demonstrate the value of “thinking outside the box” when it comes to education. Our education system has changed very little over the last hundred years, but how can that be so? We live in a world where our economy, culture, technology are changing so rapidly, but we still haven’t modified our education system to keep up with these new changes. As a new teacher, I am very interested in learning how curriculum and educational methods can be altered in a way that better speaks to students.

    I took away three major points from this lecture. First of all, we cannot just teach to the test. In today’s age, a college degree will not guarantee a job or success anymore. We must teach the whole child, focus on all his/her strengths and weaknesses. We cannot view a national test as the sole determination of a student’s ability. We have to teach students the value of collaboration, teamwork, motivation, hard work, and accountability for oneself and for one another (fellow classmates). We cannot simply teach according to a textbook; if we do so, we are only encouraging a student to read the lines, not read in between the lines. Teachers and faculty must encourage an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity; one where a simple textbook explanation is not enough and where no question is out of line or unnecessary.

    Second, the point about collaboration really stuck with me. It always seems that a student’s success is solely based on his or her ability to succeed individually (on an assignment, on a test). There does not seem to be much emphasis in our current education system on the importance of collaboration and the results it brings. Collaboration forces students of all different opinions and views to come together and reach an agreement. One student’s weakness can be made up for by another student’s strength and vice versa. Through collaboration, students learn to lean on each other, to ask for help with their weaknesses, or give help with their strengths, and to be held accountable to fellow classmates.

    The last point that I found very interesting in Ken Robinson’s talk was the idea that public education depends solely on the culture of the institution. YES Prep is a school that contains the culture necessary for success; we as teachers must bring this positive atmosphere (one of encouragement, reassurance, accountability, determination) into our classrooms each and everyday. We must always promote an environment of curiosity, enthusiasm, accountability, friendship, and trust. The day our students stop asking questions or collaborating with one another is the moment we should stop and redesign the culture in our classroom.

    Posted by Nicole Maarraoui | June 27, 2013, 5:45 pm
  57. After watching Sir Ken Robinson’s talk, it became apparent that one of the greatest issues that we will face as educators is keeping students engaged in the classroom. In our society, students are exposed to various forms of media outside the classroom, which in turn, challenge student’s performance. These technologies are highly sensorial in comparison to what they are exposed to in school and therefore make it difficult for a classroom setting to compete with those standards.

    Robinson mentions how the arts have the ability to highly engage students because they offer aesthetic experiences that keep students entertained. He briefly mentions how this is also possible for the math and sciences. I believe that all subjects have the ability to incorporate aesthetic learning much like art classes do. (Although, Robinson doesn’t address how to do this)

    Robinson reminds us that the education system has remained unchanged for over two hundred years and in order to implement effective practices, it is necessary to reevaluate the way schools approach teaching. When schools were first started it was believed that not everyone was capable of becoming educated (a great fallacy) and I believe that this idea is still present today. It is important to acknowledge that all students are capable of learning and different individuals have different methods of acquiring information. By deconstructing the way we teach, reflecting upon current cultural trends and recognizing what is effective for all students, it is possible to make a difference in education.

    Posted by Enrique Vazquez | June 27, 2013, 6:33 pm
  58. Too often people ask, “What is the role of creativity in education?” Creativity is treated as one of many educational processes, included alongside memorization, reading, writing, addition, and experimentation. Furthermore, creativity isn’t at the top of the educational process pyramid! It is the stuff of art, frivolity, and impracticality. Creative types are punished by the industrial school system for their divergent thinking. By treating children as information receptacles – or, to borrow Robinson’s phrase, the products of data manufacture – we stifle the creativity with which they are naturally endowed as children.

    After watching Robinson’s TED Talk, I am convinced that the aforementioned question reflects the old, industrial mode of thought. Modern educators should be asking is “what is the role of education in creativity?” Perhaps education should be the process of improving and expanding creative capacity. English gives students the language to express their creative thoughts, science fosters their ability to experiment and innovate, and the social sciences promote using information about humanity to solve social and economic challenges. Robinson uses the arts as an example of academic creativity, but I believe all academic subjects, from language arts to history to biology are simply ways to structure creativity towards a useful, satisfying outcome.

    If we consider the classic intellectual model in the framework of education as a means to creativity, I think we can conclude that while the process of education and standardized testing is off-base for the modern world, the classic intellectual brought up in the liberal arts is the best chance we as a society have for addressing the problems and challenges we are up against. Robinson critiques the classic intellectual early in his talk, but I do not think he would disagree that maximizing creativity in today’s students requires a well rounded education that is rich in exploration of different academic (and “non-academic”) fields. Rather than isolate these fields as science, math, English, history, and art, why not illustrate the connections between each and encourage students to create more of their own? As a tenth grade English teacher in 2013-2014, I will strive to use my classroom not as a factory for passing along information, but as an outlet for fostering my students’ creative thinking about the books we read and their connections to the world, past a present.

    Posted by Annie Tomlinson | June 28, 2013, 10:40 am
  59. I found Sir Ken Robinson’s presentation interesting and informative. The need for education reform is imperative and much of the ways he describes the history of education and the implications of it are astonishing. I agree with the reflection on this blog that teachers should be reluctant to categorize a student with a learning disability as not having one. Sir Ken Robinson makes a bold statement when he states that ADHD and ADD diagnosis is an epidemic. This is something that I am extremely familiar with and have done a great amount of research on. The debate does continue, however, learning disabilities are real and it is imperative that they are addressed appropriately. Is it our responsibility as an educator to determine whether a student was diagnosed incorrectly? I would say understanding that the potential for each individual, regardless of learning disability, is the same and that a learning disability should not impede the success of the student at all because every student is capable of achieving greatness. The role of the educator should be focused on encouraging each student, regardless of learning disability, and finding out how to effectively teach each individual.

    Posted by Chris Sanger | June 28, 2013, 12:27 pm
  60. My initial thoughts as I was watching the video were how radically it would be viewed by those embedded in traditional thought. In concept, I’m in 100% agreement with the ideas behind the shift. I wonder, however, how we begin to undertake such a massive shift, both functionally and intellectually.

    The idea of treating and teaching the students in an environment void of the factory line mentality is exactly how I have always felt the educational model should look like. It’s so hard to change that machine, as it has been so engrained into our society. This, however, is why I am excited to be joining the Yes family. Just by having the dialogue, and exploring the possibilities, we can have the courage to look at the alternatives and step forward into a new ideology.

    The most powerful point made in the video for me was the idea of allowing students to see problems and identify multiple solutions. Giving students the freedom to exercise their natural intelligence, to foster that genetic process, can only lead to a more advanced thinking society.

    Posted by Travis Martin | June 28, 2013, 1:17 pm
  61. As the video states, and as many of us agree, the current structure of the education system has many flaws. However, not completely. Up to this point many successful people have been produced from this “factory line”. Many of us included. It is clear that this method has worked and does work. The problem seems to be that it does not work equally for everybody. Despite the fact that we do not have the power to change the entire education system so that it is fitting for everyone, as teachers, we have the power to make a difference from our own classroom and we should take full advantage of that at all times.
    As someone mentioned earlier, the video mostly focuses in the way that students learn and should learn instead of the way teachers teach and should teach. I am hoping that induction addresses this point. I believe that our students would greatly benefit from us if we learn to practice patience, with ourselves and with the students. We should realize that as flawless as our strategies may seem, there is always room for improvement. What worked last class period may not work with the next group of students, what is working with this student may not work for that student. We should always challenge ourselves to do better and lead as an example so that our students learn to do the same. If we want our students to think critically, we must first do so ourselves.
    My goals are to change any negative thoughts that students have about school. I want students to want to go to school. I want them to want to learn. The only way for students to be excited and interested in what we have to say is for us to be excited about it first. While creating lesson plans we should always think outside the box. The best way to do this is to challenge ourselves to incorporate different learning styles every day. Some of our students may be comfortable listening and writing, others are visual learners, some might need sound and music, some may need to use logic, others need hands on activities, they may learn it best working in groups or individually. It is our job to figure all of this out and adjust accordingly to ensure that we are doing our part so that students can learn to the best of their ability.
    The beginning of the video states that it was previously thought that if you went to school and succeeded academically, it was likely that you would go to college and be guaranteed a job. It then goes on to say that most students today don’t believe this to be true. One of the big goals that we are trying to accomplish in the classroom is for students to further pursue their education, but they have to want it for themselves. like I mentioned earlier, we have the power to help develop great minds, but an even bigger goal should be to help create confident individuals. We should want our students to be curious about the world around them, and wonder even further than what is directly accessible to them.

    Posted by Cynthia Luna | June 28, 2013, 4:46 pm
  62. First of all, I wish that I had enough time to read ALL of these wonderful comments that everyone has left on this blog. I have never participated in a blog before, so I think that this will be an interesting way to collaborate ideas and thoughts about curricula and concepts that are addressed on here. I just hope that I am not overwhelmed to the point that I only have time to “hear my own voice” and no one else’s.

    This video presentation by Sir Ken Robinson was very intriguing. I have watched it before in college, but it was a nice refresher to watch it again.

    While I find other’s comments interesting, and I agree with mostly everyone’s thoughts and perspectives, the biggest thing that I come away with is how education will change over time. What will education “look like” in twenty to fifty years from now? Will it still be run like a factory? Or will the education system evolve along with our society?

    As a new teacher this fall, I just hope that my future students will learn in an engaging and empowering way, that otherwise a factory-style set-up wouldn’t appear to give them. I don’t want them to be bored, or to feel like their voice doesn’t matter.

    Posted by Bonnie McGuire | June 28, 2013, 8:19 pm
  63. I enjoyed this video and thought it was exemplary. It’s beautiful because it becomes what it sets out to prove: namely, that it was challenging to keep up with, yet engaging and visually stimulating. It brings to mind one thing I would like my students to walk away from my lessons with: gesamtkunstwerk, an aesthetic ideal of “totally integrated artwork” or “total work of art.” I want my students to view the material as well as its presentation as a work of art that makes use of various works of art so they can have multiple facets of comparison to the world outside of the classroom. I want them to walk into another classroom and make connections. In this increasingly globalized culture it is very important to not compartmentalize education in a way that restricts students from seeing the whole picture. I loved the statement, “collaboration is the stuff of growth.” Even Rousseau emphasized discourse as the missing piece that guides mankind out of the state of nature and into a rational state. This discourse should be open and vast to combat the over-standardization of education and the diminishing capacity of divergent thinking.

    Posted by Xochitl Safady | June 29, 2013, 5:20 am
  64. I loved how Sir Ken Robinson combined a number of important points about education into one single talk. I have heard many different speakers and writers mention some of these issues, but Robinson’s speech was an excellent summation of these points. The pictures were so creative and very helpful to retaining the information.

    The part that stood out to me the most was the study on divergent thinking. As a society we are stuck in a system that is actually harmful to our children and discourages them against expanding on information and ideas. Our system as a whole needs to change so that every kindergartener can continue to engage in high level thinking and reasoning for their entire educational career.

    Robinson discussed the idea that the best learning happens in groups. I believe that this is true, but can also be somewhat intimidating, especially for new teachers. Most teachers are most comfortable addressing each student individually. Initially, it’s easier to always send the “gifted” students on their way and take students who are struggling aside for individualized teaching. Not to say that this can never happen, but students learn so much from hearing their peers speak and contribute to discussions. Group learning is less predictable and requires teachers to prepare more, but overall benefits the students greatly.

    Many people disagreed with Robinson’s statements about ADD/ADHD diagnosis, but I don’t feel that he was trying to accuse but rather challenge teachers to change their way of teaching to engage students struggling to focus in the classroom. If classrooms were places of engagement and excitement there could possibly be fewer diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. Some students genuinely struggle with focusing in the classroom, but medication should be a last resort. Robinson agrees that ADD/ADHD is real, but he is focusing on what can be done in the classroom to lessen the number of children on strong medication.

    Posted by Meridith Dyer | June 29, 2013, 10:20 am
  65. These past weeks during our sessions during Institute we have talked a lot about archetypes and how that effects our teaching. We have talked about what our image is of a good student, parent, and even how a school “should” look like. Something we never talked about was how schools were actually structured. Sir Robinson talks describes schools as factories, pushing out students and organizing them by age and year. I had never thought about this before because it is the norm, everywhere. However, after my first week of teaching and as I am getting to know my new third grade students, I have some reading at fifth grade levels while others are at a second grade level. Furthermore, those students reading at a second grade level are excelling at math and those students on a fifth grade reading level are struggling in math. Why are these students constrained by grade levels? Even through differentiation, our students are still losing the collaborative piece that Sir Robinson said is so essential in school. This idea seems crazy, but how long will we continue with a system that is over 200 years old and is failing our students? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. How long will we continue to run schools like factories pushing our students into molds we think represents a “good student” a “scholar” or even a “bad student”? It is time we dissect these “norms” in the education system and challenge our personal archetypes.

    The time when teachers stood at the front of the class and did all the “teaching” is over. We have all had a teacher that has done that and we have all counted down the seconds until that class was over. This doesn’t benefit our students. Our students like to be asked questions and interact with each other. This goes back to the point Sir Robinson made about students learning “boring” stuff. Unfortunately standardized test now narrow what a teacher can teach. Due to all of the topics and “essential” knowledge these tests say our students should know, a teacher needs to move on quickly from one topic to the next and is unable to dive deeply into a specific topic or go off the cuff. Standardized tests are the ultimate archetype or mold. We prep our students for these big tests at the end of the year that determine if our students can go on to the next grade or not. Just one test determine what college we can get into. Why? Why is a number more important than character? I have been deduced to a number, you have been deduced to a number. That is not a good feeling, everyone wants to be more than just a number. Then why do we continue to deduce our students into numbers? Some people may think that Sir Robinson is crazy for speaking against the norms, but we truly need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are truly benefiting our students or inhibiting them.

    Posted by Aryn Rapp | June 29, 2013, 11:00 am
  66. Was anyone else reminded of of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”? The music video and the song both depicted schools operating like factories and commoditizing students. The young protagonist attempts to express his creativity by writing song lyrics and is punished and humiliated for it. While that may have been the experience of some going through English schools in 1950s -70s England things have changed a great deal but the underlying structure of schools still resembles a factory in the ways that Sir Ken Robinson pointed out.

    Sir Ken Robinson was right to call attention to the short comings of the educational system, however, I understand why those problems occur. It is easier and perhaps more cost effective to disregard a student’s individuality, evaluate them based only on the easily testable, and only pay attention to academic intelligence. However, it can be difficult for teachers to recognize the different intelligences that students value because, on a whole, I think that teachers tend to be academically intelligent, and may value something that they recognize in themselves. I know that I have had to work on that myself. I’m sure that many teachers also enjoy the school system that they were brought up in and would like to remain in that environment.

    However, I am not convinced that divergent thinking has lessened due to education. Since I am not familiar with the test in question it is possible that the evaluation could be flawed. However, critical thinking and creativity are vital and must be nurtured along with student curiosity.

    I overwhelmingly agree with and support what Sir Ken Robinson had to say. The few differing opinions that I had were more interesting and I thought that they added more to the discussion than the many points I completely agreed with him on.

    Posted by Alex Perry | June 29, 2013, 12:28 pm
  67. This TED talk was extremely interesting for me to watch. Sir Ken Robinson brought up many ideas that I had never taken the time to think about. I always accepted that our students go through school with individuals that are their age. I never questioned why we used this system. In fact, some students do take longer to grasp ideas. There is a negative view in society when a student needs to be held back to repeat a grade. I also never took the time to think of all of the distractions that exist in society today. Students are forced to focus on boring material, when there are so many distractions going on in the world. Of course students would rather play video games than listen to a boring lecture. When students cannot sit still, they are punished. Students are either medicated or labeled as bad students.

    After watching this video twice, I have many questions left unanswered. Although Sir Ken Robinson discusses how the current educational system is failing students, he does not address how it can be fixed. The current educational system has been in place for a long time. I am curious what his suggestions would be for correcting the current system.

    Posted by Kim Woodsum | June 30, 2013, 9:58 am
  68. This video, in my opinion, provides a very insightful perspective on our current educational system. I am particularly drawn to the section that characterizes the current generation of students as purpose driven individuals . Students are motivated by a sense of purpose and progress. Therefore, as the video points out, when the guarantee for a good job and financial success no longer have a direct correlation with completing an educational course the question “why?” becomes a roadblock. Without resolution, said question can be more devastating and distracting than the “fictitious ADHD epidemic.”
    It has been said that our youth are a generation who hear with their eyes and think with their hearts. To clarify, our students don’t just take our words blindly. They want to see that school will deliver on its promises. Beyond seeing they also want to believe that it is attainable and doable in their own lives as well. This requires a sense of conviction, a solid belief, on the heart level. The video does a great job of proposing that these dynamics are new but the current educational system is old. To be honest I am very excited that TE would expose us to such a talk for the sake of considering that change may be necessary… even if only on the classroom level. Its so easy to stick to tradition. It is easy to label the students rather than the institutions. It is easy to ask the students to adapt rather than to adapt the schools, and blame them when they don’t fit the mold rather than changing its’ shape to ensure their success.
    I have yet to lead a classroom so my opinion is based on observation and by no means am I an expert. Nonetheless, I strongly believe in the potential of each person, if only the right amout of time, attention and leadership is provided. That, ultimately, is what I believe education can provide and what I hope to do next year as a teacher.

    Posted by Aaron Randolph | June 30, 2013, 2:26 pm
  69. I am no expert when it comes to the educational system in America and around the world for that matter. Nevertheless, I was really amazed at how easily Sir Ken Robinson explains how educators must in a way change their ways when it comes to teaching current and future generations. Educators must strive to allow students to achieve all of their potential, and I am well aware that this easier said then done. However, one must begin somewhere and I am pretty sure that educators before hearing Robinson’s talk were already aware of this. To create significant change all significant stakeholders must be on board as this is no easy task to accomplish. This video is almost a decade old and I am not really sure if I have seen much change after all. I am new to the teaching and I can only hope that I am equipped with the right tools to try do my part.

    Posted by Willie Castrejon | July 1, 2013, 11:53 am
  70. I enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson’s Talk and found the historical background fascinating. I never knew the roots of our current educational system.

    The argument of Academic vs. Non-Academic stuck out to me mostly because black & brown students think Academic vs. Athletic or Athletic vs. Entertainer. His notion is correct, we have to re-define success and opportunity for these students while not undermining the hopes of a typical kid. I think his argument about aesthetic experiences could function as a bridge from students’ interests to their needs.

    I agree with the speakers’ argument for collaboration and group work. Not only do they continue to develop their social skills, but it reveals to them their ability to perform with limited teacher guidance. Of course there are bad experiences that can happen but ultimately their enthusiasm, attention, and ability to produce have the opportunity to shine.

    Posted by Terrell Quillin | July 1, 2013, 12:43 pm
  71. Being a psychology major I was fascinated by Sir Ken Robinson’s comments on ADHD and the supposed “epidemic.” I very much agree with his assessment of the impact environment and culture has on our children and coincidentally their ability to focus.

    I never quite thought about the idea that the medications we are giving children are actually deadening them to the world in order to learn things they find unimportant. They are being asked to conform to one thing in school and then an entirely different world outside,

    I fully believe that the current structure does help to set the students up for success in the world in some ways, (i.e. self control, focus, social interaction) but I also agree that the current system does not provide education that fully sets the students up for success in this current time and economy.

    Posted by Rachel Carawan | July 1, 2013, 4:07 pm
  72. I found the portion about our system for “batching” students based on age most thought provoking. Although I do not believe that our schools will be changing the physical requirements of how we determine grade level in the near future I do believe that this brings up an important point regarding the importance of providing a variety of different approaches to learning and accessing material within the classroom. As Sir Ken Robertson said, children exhibit their strengths in a variety of ways including different subjects, different times of the day and different learning environments. It is important to provide a variety of ways in which children can learn and be assessed so teachers do not miss out on understanding the strengths and abilities of a diverse classroom of students. It is important that educators do not stop at one approach for teaching a topic or subject.

    The assertion by Robertson that all students bring tremendous value to the classroom stands contrary to the traditional approach that our education system employs when it comes to measuring a student’s ability to succeed academically. Many times students that can’t meet the cookie cutter standard are left without room to excel in a subject due to the lack of more non-traditional learning approaches that could help foster their success. As our society continues to evolve and demonstrate that future success is not necessarily dependent on student achievement within one subject, I believe that it is very important to look at student ability holistically and cater to the specific strengths of students. We should be working to achieve academic results that give our students confidence rather than create a barrier of “I can’t do this.”

    Posted by Jamie Reyes | July 1, 2013, 4:19 pm
  73. What struck a cord with me was his illustration of “The Arts are Victims” mentality. I couldn’t agree more. Academics have long been the center of why we get an education, but throw creativiy out, or in Sir Ken Robinson’s words, “Aesthetic vs. Anaesthetic,” how are we teaching our future generations to have any vigor for living? Being a Theatre major and now a Theatre Educator, it saddens me to believe the narrow path the arts plays a part, if any, in our public eduacation system.

    I know something that YES Prep takes pride in is “Classroom Culture”. What would that mean if the arts, particularly theatre arts, wouldn’t exist? The games we all are anxious to play on the first day of school with our students, “Icebreakers”? Yes, those my friends are what we in the entertainment industry call Improv. These type of games break down walls the “too cool for school” student can’t resist, because even he or she will want to show off. If the teacher has some sort of connection with their student, it is because of the arts. I believe it is the freedom that comes with teaching Theatre Arts that allows a student to want to make that connection with you. Theatre or any performing art for that matter raises their intelligence, promotes teamwork and builds confidence within themselves.

    I am also a member of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) and am helping to advocate for theatre education. Here are some interesting facts you might find intriguing:

    56% of corporate executives and 79% of school superintendents agree that a college degree in the arts is the most significant indicator of creativity in a prospective job candidate. -Source: Ready to Innovate.

    A national poll of voters indicated that 91% believe that the arts are essential for building the capacity of imagination and 73% felt that the ability to imagine is just as important as basic academic skills for all students. -Source: Arts Education Partnership/Lake Research Partners, 2008.

    97% of surveyed school superintendents said that theatre activities develop creativity in studnets. -Source: Ready to Innovate.

    Training in acting classes improves language and memory skills. -Source: Learning, Arts and the Brain, The Dana Foundation, 2008.

    In 2010, students who took four years of arts classes while in high school scored 102 points better on their SAT’s than students who took only one-half year or less. -Source: Americans for the Arts/The College Board, 2010.

    A study of Nobel Prize winners in science revealed that most have arts related hobbies. Source: “Hobbled Arts Limit Our Future,” Pshychology Today/Imagine That! blog, 2009.

    I am delighted to spread the plethera of Theatre Arts knowledge among you all. For more interesting fun facts, go to

    “Shaping Lives Through Theatre Education.”

    Posted by Maida Camacho | July 1, 2013, 7:05 pm
  74. This is video has pointed out some very interesting topics about education. First, students do not value education as much now and do not even think that a degree is very important or essential for their success. This stood out to me because I have worked with children of all ages for the past 5 years and I have noticied the disregard for school. Often times this attitude stemmed from their own family as parents or siblings tell students that they do not need school to be successful, which often times now is sad but true. There are many jobs that do not require a college degree but you still make a lot of money whereas the jobs that do require higher education do not pay as much. The balance of salary and student loans is often a deciding factor for the importance of education at any level. However, it is very unfortanute that we have to beg students to come to school or even to complete their homework. When I was in school, my parents did not have to worry about me having a desire to complete my homework or having the drive to complete school; I knew I wanted to be successful and that drive came from within. I often wonder where is the drive and initiative for students now a days.

    Another thought that stood out to me was the idea of students being over medicated. I used to be a counselor and serve on a crisis team in my school district. I would often speak with students who were overly medicated for problems such as ADHD and I did not understand why many psychiatrists were quick to prescribe them medication due to the “inability to focus at school”. While I definitely agree that some students need the medication, there are many over medicated students in our schools and the medication often times has severe side effects that make it difficult for students to be academically successful.
    Divergent thinking was also a point that evoked some critical thinking for me. I do agree that students often times loose the art of divergent thinking as they get older. I look at how teachers are told to “teach to the test” or provide students with one quick way to get the answer that is proven to work instead of opening up the realm of possibilities. Often times while teaching, there is limited time for each key point and the lesson must move on in order to satisfy times and schedules. This takes away from students creative process and only creates a more narrow minded focus for students thought process. I think back to learning math and how my teacher would give us one or two ways to get the answer although there were several ways of obtaining the correct answer. Time constraints often play a role in the limited thinking we allow for students as teachers often have to rush just to meet educational standards. While unfortunate, this is often a reality when standardized tests set the standards, drive, and purpose for learning.

    These are all ways that limit the learning of our students and must be taken into consideration while teaching. We must remember the big picture and goal of teaching and ensure that every child gets the education they deserve.

    Posted by Jascelyn Gause | July 1, 2013, 9:00 pm
  75. This video is the reality for many publics schools where the district school I live. Because before to be part from KIPP family, my oldest son went to a public school to correspond to our neighbors, and was horrible that the system don’t push the students to advance in the grades only because they come from to other country and they think that our culture is not has the level for education like they have. But the parents we have the opportunity to change that, how? Find other school with different system and educational mentality and multicultural people, like the charters schools, where the kids can development their capacity by their own development, own growing up big goal with their school support. And the teachers help them to meet the not by standards to the education system has for years. I’m a proud parent from three kids to has the opportunity to went at this kind of school; and two of them are in the college and the last one is in 8thy grade, and she wants to combine the pediatric with the engineering .

    Posted by Karina Quezada | July 1, 2013, 11:11 pm
  76. I thought this lecture was very interesting for a number of reasons. 1. This clip was definitely more accessible because of the detailed and engaging drawings. 2. I was hit hard by the study given to the students every 5 years. I am an early Ed teacher and feel the weight and responsibility to engage students early. After they leave my classroom I worry that I will stunt their love for learning with my drive to improve data.
    3. I am reminded that small group at any age is important and can cultivate more learning where students can feed off each other.

    Posted by Alanna Allen | July 2, 2013, 7:24 am
  77. Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture gave me insight into the many issues plaguing our current public education system. He also drew my attention to the many and varied components that must be taken into account when designing lessons and classroom procedures in this changing age. The most eye-opening aspect of his lecture to me is the striking comparison between schools and factories. The one-size-fits-all, mechanized approach to factory production, while allowing for maximum efficiency, nearly always comes with the cost of lessened product quality. The same is true for education. This lessened quality and homogeneous approach to education whose end product simply cannot be standardized due to the uniqueness of individuals, indicate that the entire process is amiss and inappropriate for our students today.

    Additionally, Robinson asserts that students’ overstimulation in the modern age has allowed them to expect stimulation to spark engagement and purpose in their everyday activities. While ADD and ADHD are definitely real, students learn better when they are able to connect with material through mediums that provide stimulation. This and other realities must be taken into account when educators are designing lessons, planning for their students’ success, and explaining why education is important for their futures.

    All of these points made me realize that next year, I will need to be cognizant of my students’ individual needs and incorporate strategies that will allow for stimulating, personalized, collaborative, aesthetic activities that promote students’ divergent thinking and learning. During Teaching Excellence Induction, my students will need me to learn how to reach them as individuals, not as a grouped mass of one kind of student. I need to make sure to apply methods that will allow them to grow and connect with the material in their own way to facilitate mastery. I also need to recognize each of their strengths and use those to find their place in the classroom and therefore the course. Even if their strengths do not include the intellectual definition of intelligence that is propagated in the current education system, they can and should learn as well as master the material. Students do not all learn in the same way, so my presentation of the material should not be uniform. Students also learn at different paces and might need additional time to master material. I will need to be sure to allow for flexibility and reteaching in my course foundations to accommodate sufficient time for mastery, while not allowing the students to fall behind.

    As a mathematics teacher next year, I am confident that there are many varied ways for students to connect with the material through engaging stimulation that allows them to utilize their divergent thinking skills. I am hoping that three adjectives students will use to describe my lessons will be exploratory, fascinating, and challenging. I am looking forward to TE Induction and learning the skills that will enable me to accomplish these goals.

    Posted by Cheryl Holmes | July 2, 2013, 11:09 am
  78. This video was really great and I really like everything Sir Ken Robinson said, including the drawings, the visual really helped keep me engaged in what he was talking about. I really like what he had said about todays schools being like factories and how students are being grouped together by manufacture date, rather than being grouped by their unique abilities. This video itself is a great example of bringing together audio and visual which could benefit multiple types of learners, rather than just a specific type of learner and alienating learners who may not be audio or visual.

    Posted by Michael Perez | July 2, 2013, 11:38 am
  79. Here are my answers to a couple of his questions:

    What do you remember most?
    Interestingly, I was drawn (no pun intended) to the TED-talk more than usual audio clips. Instead of jumping straight to his argument, he captured my attention with historical context and the large-scale framework, within which he argued successfully. He presented the cause and effect of our current issues, the way in which our educational system is flawed, and the strategy to remedy it entirely. I felt as though I read a tightly knit thesis in a short span of time, and I understood the dilemma. Put into an overarching statement: factory lines make the same parts to fit the same cars for the same infrastructure; however, public education must cultivate evolving genius to fit roles that don’t exist yet for the ambivalent, future economy and culture.

    What do your students most need for you to get at Induction?
    I am a new teacher, fresh and bright-eyed. I am itching to get my hands on the books and content I will be teaching my 11th grade kids. However, I know that the most important information will not be “what” to teach, but “how.” The classic American teen sees very little value in literature, grammar, and thesis-driven essays. Low-income public schools may see the worst of this shift (has there really been a shift?Hmmm…). Some, if not most, of my students will be ESL; further, texting, instagram, and facebook have made 100% (rough estimate) of teenagers lose their ability to hold an educated conversation, much less read and write in formal English. Therefore, I have a large task in front of me: I must learn to make academic literature culturally engaging. I am thrilled to soak up this “cutting edge” material, in order to best educate “students to succeed in low-income areas and in today’s social and economic climate.” I can’t wait to learn!

    What three adjectives would you like your students to use in describing your classroom lessons?
    1. Fun
    2. Helpful
    3. Challenging

    Posted by Summer | July 2, 2013, 12:50 pm
  80. Sir Ken Robinson is truly an inspiring thinker and speaker, and it gives me such joy to hear his ideas on the history, the current state, and the possible future of education. Watching his videos also gave me a sense of nostalgia, as I had a professor who had us watch his videos in class about once a week. Thanks, YES!

    The first idea that really struck me, especially being a History teacher, was just how static the education system has been throughout its lifetime. While certain aspects may be different nowadays, most of the core principles of school are exactly the same. It should be on us as education professionals to identify the parts of the system that are not working and change those, whether that be dividing the students into groups other than age, creating classes that are focused on collaboration instead of wrote learning, or something else. It is extremely difficult to change such a wide-reaching system as education, but it is certainly achievable on a small scale, and YES affords us the opportunity to try new things in the hopes of creating better and more focused students.

    I also really loved Mr. Robinson’s point about the amount of distractions available to us today. As someone who can easily get distracted by a TV show or a website, I know how difficult it is to complete a task that seems useless or boring. To help combat this, I think that teachers, myself included, need to work to make sure we are assigning work of real value to our students, and that we make entirely clear to our students what this value is. If I assign a chapter to read or a project to work on, the students should know why they are asked to complete this, and what they will be gaining from their work.

    This video raises so many ideas, asks so many pertinent questions, it truly made me wonder why and how the education system became so out-of-date and out-of-touch. From what I have seen in my brief time in education, however, is that the education system runs on what is easiest for the teachers instead of what is the best practice for our students. This video served as a reminder for me that I can only measure my success by the success of my students, and that hard work and creativity should be the norm in my classroom, not the exception.

    Posted by David Bullis | July 2, 2013, 3:47 pm
  81. I thoroughly enjoyed his message and drawings. He is actually addressing topics of issues that we are facing today.

    How is it that ways of educating have advanced yet the method in which we implement them has remained the same? He really does give you the “big picture” of how our educational system originated and how we’ve done everything except advance it. What sense does it make that we have developed so many different ways to educate or teach someone something and we continue to use the same method we’ve used from the beginning.

    How is it that instead of us looking at the source of our system, we blame the kids and dope them up on medicine to “fix” their issues?

    Furthermore how is it that we see that our method is only decreasing our students intelligence yet we continue to apply it? What really boggles my mind is how we know of different methods yet we choose not to use them.

    So, where exactly do we go from here? The issues have been clearly identified, but what has to happen in order for a change to take place?

    Great talk! I really enjoyed it.

    Posted by Sharline McClendon | July 2, 2013, 6:31 pm
  82. In an 11 minute video clip, Ken Robinson takes on a daunting task of addressing the flaws in the education system, the so-called ADHD epidemic and the evolution of how we measure intelligence. Through both visuals and voice, he takes us on a compelling ride through the history of education. Ultimately, he shows that a great teacher is also great story teller.

    As a teacher, I aspire to be as engaging as this man is. When my future students describe my lessons, I would hope they find them to be entertaining (with a touch of humor), inspiring (to help them redefine possible) and sprightly (because I will be teaching English and what a great word that people should really use more).

    At induction, I hope to learn how to craft a memorable lesson that resonates with students as I think that is what they need most. I definitely have a lot to learn about teaching coming from a background in advertising and business. But, on the plus side, I have been telling stories since around ‘95 and am so incredibly excited about the opportunity to share my passion for writing, English and the arts with my students.

    Though Robinson touched on ‘school’s dwindling stake in the arts,’ I feel confident that we can flip this paradigm upside down and show that mastering writing and the arts can undoubtedly take our students to college and beyond.

    Posted by Michelle Lenzen | July 2, 2013, 9:08 pm
  83. Sir Ted Robinson makes an extremely significant point concerning how the current system of education labels its students. The labels are rigid: there are two types of students, the “academic” and the “non-academic.” This strict system of categorization leads to a few things. First, students who find themselves under the pressure of the “academic” category must do whatever possible to remain there, and this requires constant focus, drive and certain kinds of thinking. In other words, the “smart” kids feel constant pressure to succeed, which might disallow them from experiencing education in more creative ways, undoubtedly because of the fear of failure. The so called “non academic” kids might experience the same thing: under the pressure of a rigidly defined standard of success, students who fail to meet that standard implode with anxiety and discouragement. Second, students labeled as “non-academic,” though not directly placed into this category, begin to internalize a particular identity in the classroom—that of the incapable student. It is this kind of pressure and internalization that this categorization process engenders, I think, that Ted Robinson is most concerned with.

    How do we fix this? We give education to the students; we allow students to be the creators of their education. Leaving room for creative thinking even in the most tedious grammar exercises not only will get students more interested, but will also allow them to view education as their own unique, free-thinking experience. The Harkness table is a good example of this kind of thing, as it allows students to come together in a space where there is no labels; all that is present in that space are creative, unique ideas built off of one another (not argued against) for the benefit of the overall discussion. It certainly is a matter, then, of actualizing the aesthetics in education, thereby allowing free thinking to run its course in the classroom.

    It is the teacher’s job to figure out a way to allow free thinking to build the foundation and knowledge that students will need to succeed in the surrounding world.

    Posted by Jason Kirkwood | July 3, 2013, 11:32 am
  84. What I remember most from the video was the idea of totally shifting the way we educate our children based on how the world is changing around us. I kept thinking of creativity slowly being taken away from our students through the educational system. I think of the research on divergent thinking, and know that it’s true; our kids lose that creativity so fast once they start school. As I heard the talk I pictured many of the different classrooms I have taught, observed, and been a student in. The most memorable ones were the ones that were interactive, creative, multisensory, and multidisciplinary. Then I think about how much more we could revolutionize our educational system simply by allowing ourselves to think outside the box. I think my students need me to come to school on the first day with an open mind. They need me to allow my creativity to take the lead when preparing and writing lessons. Essentially, this is the idea that I believe will be my hardest. After going through the same factory model of education myself, I know it will be hard to change my own mindset. I want my kids to say my class we fun, exciting, innovative, and engaging. Labels related to learning disabilities or deficits related to culture or language can drastically change the educational experience for a student. I always think of the horror I felt when I realized that my freshman classes were all regular instead of advanced. I immediately went to the counselor to get my schedule changed. At 14 I already realized the difference it would make in teachers’ expectations, assignments, and treatment.

    Posted by Susie Velis | July 3, 2013, 12:31 pm
  85. I believe everything in the talk is accurate. In order to get the most out of our children and explore their genius into young adulthood and inspire them to be happy in college and beyond, we must create integrative classrooms where students are really engaged in what they do. We can do this by creating focus groups on students’ passions and having students work in environments where they learn best, in large or small groups or individually rather than solely by age. I believe the ADD “crisis” is not a crisis but a problem with the fabric of our culture which is focused on knowledge of certain facts being categorized as more important as others and ways to promote greater economic growth rather than valuing the individual. As a result minds are dulled because no mind fits in a cookie cutter model we have created in many classrooms. Even as adults, we work best when we are doing what we love in environments most suitable for us, it’s the same for anything or anyone and we have to cultivate our children’s minds the same way.

    Posted by Shadi Kafi | July 3, 2013, 4:53 pm
  86. As an artist, a former art student, and a current art educator, I have always highly valued Ken Robinson’s ideas and the way in which he presents those ideas. This TED talk is certainly no exception, and once again I agree with everything that he has to say. More and more often I see a fear of creativity in this generation of students that certainly has to do with the way in which the educational system tends to value convergent thinking skills, and marginalizes certain subjects and thought processes. This often alienates students who feel that their passions/strengths aren’t as important as students who may have strengths of intellect as it was perceived during the age of enlightenment. This almost exclusively left-brained sense of intelligence is one that is antiquated and, yet, passed on to our students who begin to be exercised early on to think linearly. This often results in one of two outcomes: 1. students fear creativity, as it has many solutions and outcomes, and feel anxiety about the creative process. Students see little purpose in subjects that don’t have a designated standardized test and are, therefore, more focused on leaping from test to test, rather than finding their individual strengths, and growing as well-rounded, culturally and globally significant individuals. 2. Students who have strengths in these marginalized areas feel as though they are devalued within this educational caste system, and, therefore, don’t reach their full potential as adults because they were never lead to see the importance of their passions. “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”- Albert Einstein.
    This is, of course, not always the case. I feel, however, that it is often a reality within students’ educational experiences, and can lead to a resentment of the system, and a deterrence to the life-long-learning that we so vehemently push our students to embrace. While the solution is certainly not simple, I think that Robinson touches on good places to start. Value multiple-intelligences, do not segregate by subjects and ages, but instead, think on broader terms and categorizations. Question the way it’s been done before- we are teaching to a new age, and therefore shouldn’t feel pigeon-holed into teaching the way that our grandparents, and even great-grandparents, needed to be taught for them to be successful. Quit considering attention deficits as plights or epidemics simply when students, who are accustomed to being bombarded with stimuli don’t focus in unstimulating environments- we need to consider our audience, and we can’t blame the audiences’ attention spans when we fail to do so. Consider the whole student. This is one of my favorite things that Robinson has said in all of his speeches to which I have listened. Our job as educators is to teach to the whole being. This means that we must equally value art and dance as we do reading and math. If the student senses, either through a test (or lack thereof), a thoughtless comment, or unfair funding that one subject/thought process is valued over another, then we have failed to value the entire being.

    Posted by Emma Giles | July 3, 2013, 7:36 pm
  87. I’ve watched and listened to this talk several times over the last few years, and each time I watch something different resonates with me. In this most recent viewing, I think what struck me the most was the idea that students have been conditioned to find one right answer. During student teaching last semester, my students hated it (and vocalized that hatred loudly and repeatedly) when I would ask them questions that didn’t have one “right” answer. My students begged for multiple choice tests because they were easy or only had one right answer or, most disturbingly, didn’t require them to think all that hard. My mentor teacher had warned me that most of his students came into his classroom unprepared to think for themselves (or at all really, at least in a deeper and more meaningful way), so it was our job to find ways to get them out of that mentality. I hadn’t wanted to believe him, but I quickly learned that my 11th graders really had been conditioned not to think. After this student teaching experience, this conditioning to find the right answer that Robinson discusses really struck me. A lot of it is a consequence of an educational system that is driven towards data and testing and mandates to find the right and only answer. In the real world, however, in most situations there isn’t one right answer, or at least not one clear-cut answer. I worry about students that aren’t challenged to examine a problem for all possible answers and who never come to the conclusion that maybe there simply isn’t just one answer. My goal as an English teacher is to challenge students to think beyond the one right answer mentality and begin to trust their own thoughts and ideas, not just the ones that are given to them in an A-B-C-D format.

    Posted by Caroline W. | July 3, 2013, 11:05 pm
  88. I thoroughly enjoyed this excerpt from Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture. I’m new to the classroom so I don’t have many arguments that would challenge his views, but I would like to share those points that stuck with me. The first I pulled from his opening statement, public education needs reform. Times have change and unfortunately the public education system has not. I found it really interesting when he mentioned how schools group students primarily based on age when their are so many other factors that should or could be considered.

    I agree with Sir Ken Robinson when he mentioned all the stimulation that students are exposed to and then are expected to focus and pay attention when placed in a classroom with “boring stuff”. As an educator I will gladly take on the challenge of “waking them up”.

    Another point that stuck with me from Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture, is his point on collaboration. I did snicker a bit when he said (and I paraphrase), in school working with your neighbor is cheating but outside of school it’s collaboration… “collaboration is the atom of growth”. I believe this directly ties in with the point of divergent learners.

    Finally on the topic of ADHD, I would like to further explore the trends he mentioned of ADHD rising with standardized testing. I’m interested in the theories as to the correlation between to the two.

    After watching the video twice I still feel as though there is yet more that could be pulled from the lecture for further discussion and reflection, but this is my start.

    Posted by Monai Slocum | July 4, 2013, 9:50 am
  89. A number of things strike me from this video, but the biggest thing that stands out is the idea of a “cookie cutter” education in which students are shuffled through an assembly line for their educational experience. The archetype of what education “should” like has prevented things from changing and adapting in order to best serve our students. Just because teachers stood in the room teaching boring material and demanding students’ attention in the past does not mean that is the way education should look now. Our teaching should be adapted to our students’ unique needs. Students want to be engaged, be given a chance to interact with material in new ways, and the educational system needs to adapt in order to set up students for success.

    Posted by molly frye | July 4, 2013, 11:59 am
  90. Below is my countdown of 5 standout points in the lecture.
    5. Collaboration is the stuff of growth. The idea of collaborating in the classroom has been expanding but is still considered negative in some regards. The dynamics of classrooms has been stagnant for many years. Meanwhile, the outside world has changed greatly. If we don’t encourage teamwork in classes, how will our children learn to work together in the real world? Almost everyone in the world of work is a part of a team in some regard. Thus, collaboration will not only enhance the learning process inside the classroom, but provide a valuable skill outside of the classroom.
    4. There is a production line mentality in education. Here is another concept that has remained unchanged since the formalization of education. We group kids together based on age, but many times this is the only thing they have in common. This classification system has led to the least individualized educational experience. Perhaps all students need to know math, science, English and history, but do they all have to learn it in the same way, at the same pace and in the same setting? I am very interested in educational computer software that allows students to self-pace, especially in math. Some students should be studying calculus in 4th grade, but they cannot because the production line holds them up.
    3. 98% of kindergartners are geniuses at divergent thinking which deteriorates throughout life. This is incredible and scary. It is unfortunate that we hold children back in terms of creativity. The idea of conformity is intensely bred into students. Aside from the students who are above average intelligence, the ones who fair best in public schools are the ones who conform – do what you are told and you will succeed in class. The problem is that many times what students are told to do, does not enhance their creativity and push them to grow but stifles their imagination.
    2. We are anesthetizing our children when what we should be doing is waking them up to their full capability. There are many ways to engage students with ADD or ADHD without giving them medicine, but our current system is not designed to accommodate these needs (thank goodness we work for charters). As teachers, we can play a huge role in engaging all students by using creative methods and thinking outside of the box. Doing this EVERYDAY in EVERY lesson is unbelievably challenging.
    1. Education reform is based in part on the changing economy. How do we best prepare students for success in the current economy? As Sir Robinson mentions, this is a challenging because we don’t know where the economy is heading. However, I think one great way to prepare children for success in any economy is to give them useful, practical skills which can be employed the minute they leave school. The reality is, as mentioned, a college degree no longer equates to a job. If students have practiced DOING a trade or honing a skill, employers will notice. Students need to have internships or service hours in order to build their toolbox of useful skills.

    Posted by Shayla Matthews | July 4, 2013, 1:42 pm
  91. What a great talk! After doing a few observations – and discussing my experience with my fiancé – I found myself saying to him, “But that’s not how I learned it.” He is a YES Prep teacher and is imparting knowledge upon me as I journey down the path of my first year and he turned to me and said, “You have to forget everything you learned and how you learned it.” I think this is going to be a challenge for me, and I am looking forward to it. I want to do what is best for my students and I realize now that how I learned to do something is not important – how THEY learn is.
    I also found it incredibly interesting to think of the educational system as a factory/assembly line. I had never really looked at education in that way, but I can see it. I have observed in my time in school, students who are superstars in some classes and struggle in others. This makes me think of Einstein and what he says in relation to genius, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” It would be interesting to see a school set up according to students’ strengths. How would classes be divided? What would it look like?
    All of our students bring tremendous value to our classrooms. Yes – and the challenge is discovering the strengths of all of the students in the classroom and celebrating and leveraging these strengths in meaningful ways that challenge them to be their best selves. Everyone is different, and individualizing lessons, etc. to play to the strengths of each student can be a daunting task. This is one thing I find to be a bit formidable. However, I am up for the challenge because I want my students to be successful. Additionally, I believe that celebrating successes as often as possible is important, and it will push the students to strive beyond what they believe is possible.
    The three adjectives I would like my students to use in describing my classroom are: lively, engaging, and challenging. I will be teaching 7th grade math this coming year and I want my students to ENJOY it! I know math isn’t “where it’s at” for a lot of people, and that doesn’t mean that my students can’t have a great time while in my classroom and learning. I want my students to be engaged and excited. I think the more they are engaged in their own learning, the more they learn and grow.
    When it comes to the part of the talk on ADHD – I agree that it has become an epidemic in our country. In fact, I was just having this conversation. We are so over-stimulated nowadays that it is incredibly difficult to have a conversation anymore. There are constantly ads, sounds, apps, electronic devices and constant access to information and all of these things are competing for our attention – it’s a wonder we all haven’t been diagnosed with ADD! That being said – I think there are those that TRULY do have ADHD, I just think there needs to be a way to better assess whether it really is ADHD.
    Another label I feel can adversely affect a child’s education is “emotionally disturbed.” As we read in “Mindset Induction,” Collins taught students who had been judged and discarded. These were students who had acted out in their other classes, had a history of being violent and who hadn’t learned much in school. She approached these students with love and without judgment. By labeling a student as “emotionally disturbed” we are judging them. This judgment is setting up this pre-conceived notion that they can’t accomplish great things because of the label. Collins says to her students, “None of you has ever failed. School has failed you. Well, goodbye to failure, children. Welcome to success.” I think that labels are important and have their place – but we need to get better about how we go about labeling. What if most of the students labeled as “emotionally disturbed” aren’t really, they’ve just never been presented with an environment conducive to their learning?

    Posted by Jenn Davis | July 4, 2013, 2:47 pm
  92. This was an excellent excerpt from Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture on changing education paradigms. He mentions in the beginning of the lecture that the current education system was designed and conceived in the 18th and 19th century. It was designed in an intellectual cultural of enlightenment and economic circumstances during the Industrial Revolution. He further states education is modeled on the interest of industrialization and its image. Sir Ken leaves us with a thought to think differently and to change the paradigm of education. Instead of us looking at education as “one way” he asks us to consider divergent thinking, seeing lots of possibilities. He challenges us to think differently about human capacity and get away from thinking about the academics, abstract, theoretical, and non-academic theories. Instead we should focus on “collaboration” the stuff of growth” After viewing this lecture I now look at education differently, having an open mind and not believing there is “only one right way.” This school year I plan to embrace this mindset thus cultivating divergent thinkers within my classroom.

    Posted by Candice Billups | July 4, 2013, 7:09 pm
  93. I think what is most interesting in this video, is how over stimulated we are in today’s time and age. When I talk to my students in summer school about what they do after school, most of them respond with “played video games” or “watched TV.” I can remember playing outside when I’d get home from school, and having to come in when the street lights came on. Kids go to school all day, come home and play video games or watch TV until bed time. They’re not exerting the built up energy they have; when they come to school, they are fidgety and some are unruly because they are not active. Some of the best students I’ve seen are those that are incredibly physically active, be it football, basketball, etc.

    Another point I found interesting is the idea of critical thinking, and how it decreased from 5 years old to teenage years. I mean, it makes sense, but I wonder why this study has not received more publicity or attention, and why we have not done anything about it.

    Posted by Trina Stegemann | July 4, 2013, 7:49 pm
  94. I found Sir Ken Robinson’s talk very interesting. Education is a field that should be changing as quickly as our society and economy changes, but he points out that little to no change has occurred over the last 200 years. Granted, there will still be children who thrive in the classic environment that has been used, but I believe that those children will increasingly be the exception, and we should be working towards making education relevant and adaptable. That is not to say that standards should be lowered to accomodate students who aren’t “able to keep up,” but rather, we should be looking for and employing strategies that will engage those children and utilize their strenghts. I agree with Sir Ken that just because a student is not what would be normally considered “academic” doesn’t mean they aren’t smart, and unfortunately I feel like that is a connection that is often made. As an educator I need to avoid the trap of labeling students (which is an all too easy pitfull) and instead find a way to allow them the opportunity to experience learning in a way that “makes them come alive.” I really enjoyed the lecture overall and am encouraged that people in the educational community are so forward thinking and are looking for new ways each day to bring educational practices to the present. I look forward to collaborating with peers during Induction!

    Posted by Amy Hohulin | July 4, 2013, 9:41 pm
  95. This video is amazing and I truly enjoyed it! I consider Robison extremely eloquent and thoughtful. However, I believe that he generalizes too much and thinks that everything is simple when it comes down to teaching. I agree with a lot of things he says. For example, raising standers and how economic and intellectual model has caused chaos in education.

    I have been working in the special education department for a while. I had the privileged to work with kids that have mentally retardation, autism, learning disability, emotionally disturbed, ADD, ADHD ect. The habits and attitudes such as “one size fits all” does not work in education. There are students with special needs that need interventions to help them learn. This process involves a lot of time, desire and dedication. We have to remember that everyone learns differently and this also includes non-SPED students. I just hope that we can innovate and engage all of our students to learn whenever we are teaching.

    Posted by Victor Osorio | July 4, 2013, 10:01 pm
  96. I watched this video last year in my Cultural Foundations of Law class and what I took away from this video and my Professor at the time was a sense of urgency, importance, and the seriousness of education and educating our children. “Trying to meet the future by what they did in the past.” I think that we can no longer meet the future by what was done in the past. The values of getting an education, going to college and getting a job is important however, our children have been exposed to different trends, settings, the media, and ideas that have taken them off of the road to education and success and are being lead down a path that is bumpy and filled with uncertainty about their education for the future. There are so many issues and concerns that are pulling us in one direction after another toward education. Our children have a right to education, they have a right to learn, to express themselves without fear of being right or wrong, a right to be in a classroom that focuses on building a learning community that promotes individuality, creativity, respect, and safety, I recently finished a class on differentiating instruction and the focus of this class was on how students are different, their learning styles are different, and their needs are different. As teachers we should recognize those differences and work to meet the educational needs of the students. I recognize that the dropout rates are on the rise again, the stakes in the arts are diminishing, and the art of standardized testing has become a major concern. I also recognize that students are medicated for ADD and ADHD but I also recognize that for each troubling trend there are alternatives and if we as teachers, parents, professionals in education work together, and take the necessary steps our children will be the Winners.

    Posted by Vanessa Alexander | July 5, 2013, 9:42 am
  97. Watching this video left me with several thoughts:

    1. The education system has not changed much in the past 200 years, yet the world has changed significantly. This inability to innovate and progress has negatively affected education.

    2. I never realized the over-diagnosis of ADHD and the correlation with drop out rates.

    3. I think Sir Robinson was especially right about the importance of culture within institutions.

    Posted by Neeraj Salhotr | July 5, 2013, 10:18 am
  98. What a thought-provoking talk! One of Sir Ken Robinson’s first points really resonated with me – educators are given the task of equipping students with skills to help them fit into a society that will likely be entirely different by the time they enter it as viable workers. What a frustrating task for teachers and students alike! To me, it seems that the best answer is to focus on developing students’ ability to adapt and to think creatively – skills that can be applied to any trade. At this induction and the courses that follow, I hope to better learn how to awaken these skills in my students.

    Another poignant point was the picture he painted of education being “modeled on the interests of industrialism and in the image of it.” This “batch” mentality has certainly been ingrained into most of us. I remember when I was in 4th grade, I needed extra help to understand multiplying two sets of two-digit numbers. I thought I was a failure because all the other kids my age understood without needing extra help. In other words, my “batch” was ahead of me. Likewise, I felt “ahead” when I was able to graduate from high school at 17 years of age instead of 18, like my peers. Though I do believe it would be odd to have seven-year-old students studying next to 17-year-olds, it does seem that this focus on age as a standard of uniform achievement capacity is misguided.

    I also appreciated that he mentioned the “academic vs. non-academic” mindset that is so embedded in our society. What a pity that so many dormant geniuses live their lives feeling like second-class citizens simply because their particular set of skills is less popular in the public eye! Personally, I think it’s important for all of us to have intellectual and practical abilities. After all, being able quote Emerson is great, but so is knowing how to change a tire! I think Einstein was on the right track when he said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

    Character flows through one’s whole being and goes far beyond the “academic vs. non-academic” argument. Too much focus on academics alone will result in minds that hold many facts, but individuals who are often too superficial and self-absorbed to know how to put them to good use. I saw this trend of increasing mental prowess and declining respect firsthand when I was a teacher in Korea, and I hope to prevent it from occurring in my future classroom. Instead, I hope that by focusing on character as well as academics in my classroom, I will be able to create an environment of mutual respect, encouragement, and, ultimately, success.

    Posted by Sarah Durm | July 5, 2013, 11:37 am
  99. Sir Ted Robinson makes some very interesting points. The one that I found most interesting is how much the world has changed, yet education is still very much the same. I thought his comparison of schools to manufacturing was clever and very eye opening. As a first year teacher I will strive to run my classroom in a way that will work for every student. I agree that in many ways students today are expected to fit the cookie cutter mold, and are not being given the opportunity to learn in a way that works best for them. I am excited to learn and grow as a teacher in a way that will enable me to create an educational experience that will help every single student succeed.

    Part way through watching Sir Ted Robinson’s talk I found myself wondering when he was going to discuss what an education system that fits the needs of students of the 21st century would look like. I felt a little like he was pointing out the problems with the current educational system, why they are problems, and how they came to be (which was very informative and interesting), without providing an opinion on how the current educational system can be improved. For example, if we were to take all children off their ADHD and ADD medications, how would we create an environment where students with the very real symptoms of those conditions could learn? Overall, I found his talk captivating and thought provoking and would love to hear some of his specific ideas for how to improve education to be effective for every student.

    Posted by Heather Rymal | July 5, 2013, 4:28 pm
  100. I really enjoyed this TED talk because of its historical context. Thinking about how the ideas of the Enlightenment have created an educational system in which I excelled and that I really enjoyed makes me wonder how current cultural ideas and norms impact my future students’ attitudes toward school. I wanted to be an enlightened and well-read individual, especially in college, which contributed greatly to my academic success. What do my students want to be, and how does that impact their feelings about their education? How will I, a person who found great intrinsic value in education, connect with students who view it very instrumentally? How will this difference impact my lesson planning and execution?

    Posted by Ashley Byrd | July 5, 2013, 4:59 pm
  101. One thing that I always ask when I watch TED talks is “so what?” What can we do right now to address at least some of the issues that Sir Robinson discusses? As new teachers, we are some of the best agents of change in this area since we will directly be working with students and creating their methods of instruction. With this in mind, I think one of our jobs is to identify student strengths and play to them. I think this oftentimes becomes confused with student interests or areas of highest student achievement. Instead, we must think of student strengths as identifying the best way that each student can learn and express their ideas. I know that I don’t normally respond well to critical thinking questions on the spot and would rather mull them over in an essay. While the future is uncertain, student strengths can be continually built upon as they grow into adulthood, and many of these strengths can serve them in varying circumstances and environments.

    So, new teachers should try to play to the individual strengths (ways of learning and expressing themselves) of their students. But identifying these strengths will be very difficult for both teachers and students. In fact, depending on a student’s grade level and prior educational background, this may not be identifiable in a year. Teachers can expose students to a variety of learning methods, fields of study, different kinds of group work, motivate independent thinking, and much more to help students, and subsequently teachers, find their strengths, and ultimately passions. Another Sir Robinson talk has an anecdote about a student who couldn’t sit still in class. She was brought to a therapist, who left her in the office by herself, but the therapist turned on the radio after s/he (can’t remember which) left. The girl started dancing, and the therapist suggested that she study dance. She went on to become a world famous choreographer.

    It doesn’t have to take the work of a therapist to identify student strengths and emerging passions. At TFA institute, I’ve learned that every teacher is a reading teacher, especially for elementary school. In the same sense, I urge every teacher to be a teacher of all subjects, implement practices to accomodate all learning styles, and push all students to find out where and how they will achieve in the future. Sir Robinson said that we don’t know what the future and economy will look like, but we are trying to prepare students for it. To me, it sounds like we are playing catch-up with our students, trying to make them make the best of their unknown future and circumstances. Instead, we should be giving them the tools to shape their future economies and future worlds.

    Posted by Zachary Marx-Kuo | July 5, 2013, 6:18 pm
  102. I enjoyed this mini lecture so much so that I played it back four times to make sure I took in all the visual pieces of the drawing. My biggest take away was the idea that kids in our current education system are being “anesthetized” as opposed to being exposed to aesthetic experiences that engage their senses. I must admit that before I started teaching, I felt as if students were supposed to conform to a general standard and that one form of instruction should reach them all. I never considered the idea of finding ways to engage all of their senses as the key to progressive education. I do wonder how a teacher accomplishes making every lesion an aesthetic experience, as it seems quite overwhelming. I am hoping that TE will provide some direction and support in this area, and focus on how to do this with low income students and sometimes minimal resources.

    I would love for my students to use adjectives such as engaging, stimulating and thought-provoking when describing my lessons! I would like to be the teacher who goes beyond the basic content and finds ways to pull at a student’s heart-strings so that they think about my classroom content outside of class when they encounter related things in their environments. Another huge take away that I learned from watching this lesson was to get out of the mindset of “when I was a kid this worked for me.” I can admit that it is hard to shake this paradigm but as Sir Ken shared, what worked 200 years ago is no longer meeting the needs of our students today. Educational reform is definitely needed and I am glad that I am open to these ideas so that I can be a part of the long overdue changes to come.

    Questions I have for TE and my fellow new teachers in 2013: What steps can we take to start building aesthetic lessons? Where can we get additional training around building these types of lessons and also learn how to differentiate teaching styles for different students? How can we engage in the educational transformation without adding tremendously to our already overwhelmed teacher plates?

    Posted by Jocelyn Veasley | July 5, 2013, 7:48 pm
  103. I love Sir Robinson’s work. His TEDtalks are some of my favorite on the site and ones that I watch over and over again. In this one, he raises a series of serious issues. To me, the most important question he touched on and then carried on without much resolution. The question is: “What are we educating them FOR?” He places it within the economic mindset- at the end of education there should be some sort of output that helps to continue the economic cycle in a useful and productive manner. This makes sense to me, except that we have no idea what that means. I like that he pointed out that we are training students for a world that is burgeoning. Just as there are an unbelievable number of new careers, there are also a broad range of new skills that need to somehow be taught. I think that the emphasis in education needs to change from absorbing information to accessing information. There are so many sources for learning and experience available now through the internet, through programs like TED talks, forums, and online communities. Teaching students how to find what they are looking for and then how to be transformative with that information not only plays to their strengths but also drives students to be self-teachers. I remember as a student realizing that the library was open to me- even when I wasn’t on a class “trip” to check out my assigned book. From that point on I searched those shelves, looking for things that I could read and explore and understand. For students now, the world is so loud and interesting. I love that he pointed out that teachers are competing with video games, television, smartphones, and the internet. It’s definitely a challenge to step up our game and be as interactive, as immersive but the good news is that we can use all of those elements as tools to teach our students to discover the world.

    Posted by Hannah Roberts | July 5, 2013, 8:03 pm
  104. What most impacted me while watching this video was the idea of multiple intelligences. Too often, we fall into the danger of “apprentice-based observation,” in which we assume that the way we were taught is the best way to teach other people. I was educated in a very “cookie-cutter” type of environment in which I sat in classrooms, did busy work, and followed each step of my education because it was the logical next step. I want to make a concerted effort to break myself out of that mindset and start thinking more in the mindset of multiple intelligences. I want to learn how to best educate students who need – and deserve – a different, more dynamic school experience than was the one I had. I want to focus on making sure my preconceived notions about education and talent don’t hold me back from recognizing the multifaceted talents of the students I will teach, students who may learn best in a variety of different ways. Ken Robinson’s video has inspired me to think more about this and incorporate these new ideas into my teaching.

    Posted by Adara Robbins | July 5, 2013, 10:43 pm
  105. What a great video and a great addition to the TED Talks collection!

    Sir Ken Robinson addresses one of the key issues in education today: change. The classroom simply hasn’t changed enough over the last several years. Our education system has lacked the adaptability and flexibility necessary to be effective in today’s society. The world has radically changed since this video was even created! Our students are accustomed to a world that is constantly growing and changing. It’s no wonder that so many students lose interest or find it difficult to focus in an educational system that has remained stagnant for more than 2 centuries! Sir Ken Robinson is correct. If our mission as educators is to prepare our students for a successful life in the future, then we must adapt our educational strategies to effectively address any and all possibilities of the future.

    Creativity is a beautiful thing. The thought that public education could ever prevent creativity is absolutely terrifying. But, on some level, he’s absolutely correct. The current education system discourages creativity amongst students. Subjects and materials are predefined and prioritized based on outdated and closed-minded systems. Education needs to move towards a more holistic system. Education is not simply based on knowledge or logic. It is all-encompasing. Education is a way of life that effects every aspect of our students, not just the brain.

    I need to pause here and give a special thanks for a particular portion of the video. As a Spanish teacher, I LOVED the Picasso quote: “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain one when he grows up”.

    Students are inherently creative. It’s normal for human beings to think in new and exciting ways. It’s normal for students to think “outside of the box”. The fact that individual students are required to value the same subjects, prioritize in the same order, and think in the same way is absolutely absurd. One would think we were attempting to create a generation of robots…

    Sir Ken also touches on another important topic in his speech: failure. We have bred our students to leave behind their creativity and embrace a “cookie-cutter” perfected image. There is a fear of failure. Students today are afraid to be wrong, and we are to blame. Before our students can ever begin to think creatively, they must first learn to address failure. Students need to know that it’s ok to not be right. It’s ok to have the wrong answer. Failure is simply part of the learning process. The educational system needs to find a better way to deal with failure and the thought of being wrong.

    Instead of pushing this same agenda, let’s embrace change. Let’s dive into this new future head first, and let’s have the students lead the way. Let’s embrace a holistic education that will impact every sense of the body. Let’s challenge our students with issues that have never been considered. Let’s embrace creativity and beauty in the world of education.

    Posted by Addison Feind | July 6, 2013, 12:21 am
  106. The video struck many chords in me but most of all, in regards to ADHD. As someone that has ADHD, it has always been a struggle in school to deal with focusing issues. However, I never realized it as a handicap of sorts because almost everyone I knew had ADHD as well. For a lot of those people, it didn’t seem possible that they seriously had ADHD. It makes sense after watching the video that some students are incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD just because they have a mass amount of energy. During this time at institute, I have a student that is diagnosed with ADHD. It saddens me to find him using ADHD as his excuse to not work as hard in class because that is what he was told to say. It saddens me because I truly believe he is one of those students that doesn’t have ADHD and was just misdiagnosed by the system. We shouldn’t allow these extremities to happen. Why are we allowing this system to continue in an era where education is needing bright energetic children to recognize its full potential?

    Posted by Tia Leone | July 6, 2013, 10:45 am
  107. Sir Ken Robinson brought up many great points throughout this lecture. What caught my attention was when he mentioned the ‘epidemic of ADHD’ and the fact that the school’s form of giving students education works in the way of a factory.

    I agree with his thoughts about ADHD. I feel we should allow those students to come out of their shells and figure out ways in which we, as teachers, can educate them without us having to depend on their medication to help control them (which in terms of classroom management, it definitely makes our lives easier). In general, I think we should try to think of more ways to make our classes more active. As a kinesthetic learner, when it came to lectures, it was difficult at times for me to obtain and grasp the information my teachers were trying to give me. As a teacher, I hope I can get to the point where my class becomes a mostly active environment in which all students, especially those with ADHD, can have an easier time obtaining the information.

    Finally, when it comes to comparing the school’s system of teaching children to a factory, he has a good point. Our system should be revised to consider how we can teach our students in an efficient manner that will produce great results for us and for our kids. What if schools separated children into groups where they’re at the same level with others in science or in math, instead of being in the same age groups? Then, I do think about if that help children progress in an efficient manner or will it cause more negative outcomes than the system we have in place already?

    Posted by Rebeka S | July 6, 2013, 10:58 am
  108. Watching Sir Ken Robinson’s talk invoked two main thoughts or conversations for me. As a public health professional and a health educator, the portion of the talk on ADHD struck me sincerely. First, children are being diagnosed with ADHD by the numbers and many of them are improperly medicated. I also agree with Robinson that these children are living in the most simulated era in our human history, which has repercussions. Personally, I believe that there is an ADHD epidemic, simply because we are looking for it more often or perhaps the criteria for diagnoses have changed, because it is so subjective. While there are children who’s potential is seriously limited by ADHD and medication is necessary, there are also a lot of children that may be fully functional should teachers accommodate and channel their hyperactivity. Perhaps the child just needs a small toy to play with during class and he will in fact be paying attention more then, then without the toy. How can we challenge ourselves to find solutions for these children that does not involve medication?

    The other main thing that stood out to me was that the education system was developed over 200 years ago and has not changed with the times. We are not contextualizing our education or our children’s education. How can we expect our children to be active members of society if we have no contextualized and tailored their education? I had not given much thought to why we organize grade levels by age, until Sir Ken Robinson challenged that notion. What other paradigms should we be challenging?

    Posted by Sara Millimet | July 6, 2013, 11:45 am
  109. After viewing this video, I thought about the importance of using labels as a way of blaming students for our failing public schools. If a child is too hyper to learn, then we can focus on medicating that child instead of considering how we can revise our classrooms to better reflect the fast paced world that we exit and reenter as soon as the final bell rings. I take this as a challenge to cater to the type of student that we have never really taught before. I resist the urge to finalize my opinion about what my classroom should look like because it may vary from hour to hour depending on classroom personalities. I do, however, know that I want to maximize the usage of relevant methods of reaching students in every way possible. I struggle with the idea of engaging students to read paper books in a time where everything else that they read is digital. I am also very curious about where Robinson goes from here. Does he have tangible solutions that can better serve our students?

    Posted by Shawna Francis | July 6, 2013, 1:38 pm
  110. As others have said on this board, I have seen this video before being required to watch it for the TE induction. But, watching it again, I was struck by several things.
    First, I believe that grouping students by ability level rather than age to produce the “Class of 2013” rather than individual learning systems is a mistake. Sir Robinson speaks about the model from 200 years ago. I agree that this model is outdated and needs to be changed for the modern world. Our assembly line of education has left many behind. If you look at many very successful people in the world today, they have dropped out of regular school and started huge companies or come up with great inventions. After working with children in my previous job and through many observations of the current state of education, teachers must adapt to their students’ abilities in the classroom. As someone once said, “If no one is learning, then no one is teaching.”
    Second, medication is not the answer to get children to pay attention in classrooms. It is the job of the teacher to accommodate or modify the lesson plans for the students, not medicate them into a “zombie state.” While some medications are needed for health reasons, medicating children into submission is a mistake.

    Posted by Ryan Beeler | July 6, 2013, 1:54 pm
  111. WOW!!! What an insightful TED Talk. In 11 minutes, I learned so much.After watching the video twice, two things stuck a nerve. First, I was surprised at how many people are medicated for ADHD, especially in NC–my home. While I knew medicating children is a huge issue, especially in NC, I didn’t know that we were one of the leading states for prescribing ADHD. In NC, in particular the public institutions that provided me with an education, I believe that many teachers are quick to categorize children. However, I never stopped to realize that one of these categories could me ADHD. Instead of a “quick fix” I think NC teachers and teachers in general need to stop and truly assess every student individually–following every step, no matter if it takes longer than one would hope.

    Also, I think it’s interesting that most people who are prescribed ADHD medicine live in the eastern part of the US. What are western states doing differently? Has no one stopped and asked that simple question. If such a trend is arising, I believe it’s imperative that we as a society (especially teachers who are teaching the leaders of tomorrow) stop and analyze this data.

    Second, I was surprised when Mr. Ken compared our public school system to a factory. However, once he explained his reasoning for believing this, he is right. Who said we needed to keep things separated (math, reading, social studies, etc)? Who made it a rule that children need to be grouped by their age in the classroom? Are we too scared to question ideals/structures that have been in place since we can remember? What worked for our parents and for people our ages, is not as successful anymore and thus there needs to be a change. Since public school educates a large number of Americans, it is essential that we as a society reevaluate the structure of public schools; Mr. Ken couldn’t have said it better. We need to stop being scardy cats and ACT!!!!

    Posted by Toya H. | July 6, 2013, 11:01 pm
  112. First I must say what an amazing animation video that was! As a creative, I thoroughly appreciate receiving information in a new and captivating way and the content was extremely inspiring. I can relate to most of everything Robinson is speaking of because of my own life experiences with education. Similar to what Jenn Davis was saying, I was taught/trained on the “right” way of educating students and the different things that Robinson is advocating are motivating and yet challenging at the same time. I aspire to be the best teacher I can be and reach all different types of learners and thinkers so the vision of education that was casted in this video is aligned with my heart. But when it comes to being in the classroom and facing these challenges I will be honest with saying I don’t know exactly how to approach them. That is why I am so excited about the Teaching Excellence program and I look forward to all of the training and building up of all the teachers who will be apart of this. Thanks YES Prep for encouraging us to be amazingly diverse and effective educators!

    Posted by Ashley Hill | July 7, 2013, 10:02 am
  113. Upon reflection of Sir Robinson’s talk, my thoughts are consistently brought back to the point that our public education system was built for another age. It is astonishing to me that our world is growing, changing, and developing faster than ever before and yet, one of the most important staples of society remains somewhat stagnant. We, as educators, sit back and think that we can continue working the way we always have and we expect our students to be the same. When a student struggles, our system reacts by labeling them with ADHD, behavior problems, special ed, etc. These labels place our students in a box that, without the proper support from instructional leaders, confine and limit their beliefs in their own capabilities.

    Just in my short two weeks in the classroom, I have been provided with a new perspective and lens with which to view this talk. I can reflect back on specific experiences that I can see Sir. Robinson’s points in action. Far too often, I am humbled by the brilliance of my students and far too often I find my students surprised at their own intellect. It poses the question: at what point in my students’ education were they made to question their abilities? At what point was their divergent thinking squashed into what was considered a ‘passing grade’? These are questions that provide me the motivation to expand the minds and educational experience of my students. As educators, it is our duty to push our thinking so as to develop our kids at the same rate as the world around us. They are our future and we should treat them as such.

    Posted by Megan Raesemann | July 7, 2013, 10:56 am
  114. The first time I watched this, I also found myself nearly distracted by the animation, as if two sides of my brain were competing for attention. I wanted to concentrate on the words being said, but then there were all these fantastic images rapidly appearing on the screen. And then it struck me that this is exactly the scenario being described in the talk. This is precisely the perspective of our students and precisely the dilemma we face as teachers. How can we educate when there are so many other (often more exciting) things competing for their attention? So in that sense I think the combination of Robinson’s words and the animation is brilliant. And I think it’s a great reminder to put ourselves in the shoes of our students. If we can see things from their perspective, at least theoretically, then we are in a much stronger position to solve these problems.

    The discussion of the arts and aesthetic learning also resonated with me. As someone with a particular passion for the arts, I wholeheartedly agree with Robinson’s assertion that we naturally absorb information better when our senses are engaged in this manner. Of course, the trick then is being able to incorporate techniques that spark such engagement from within the confines of the classroom. This is where I believe our creativity as teachers must come into play. Using the arts in class is not the same thing as showing a video. Aesthetic engagement does not mean simply turning our students into an audience. Instead, we need to bring our subjects to life in such a way that bring our students to life. Storytelling (the primary impulse of the arts) is about bringing people along for a journey and providing the framework for them to explore the world and themselves. In a general, foundational sense, I believe this also describes our objective in the classroom. We are providing the framework and the tools for exploration.

    Posted by Nathanael | July 7, 2013, 11:20 am
  115. Something that really sticks out to me in Sir Ken Robinson’s presentation is the contrast between the technologically stimulating world and the “boring” classroom environment most students find themselves in. As educators, we are truly fighting an uphill battle to engage students who go home and are bombarded by technologies and advertisements designed for the single purpose of capturing and engaging an audience, often by bombarding the senses. This bombardment conditions our students, creating a stimulation expectancy that is becoming increasingly more difficult to attain for educators.

    A personal challenge I have set for myself as a teacher is to find ways to harness the stimulating powers of technology and culture to create an educational environment that is both relevant and engaging, while also promoting individual student growth.

    Posted by Tim Mattingly | July 7, 2013, 11:32 am
  116. As I watched this video I was brought back to a discussion I had with one of my college Professors about the issue of having kids conform to the educational standards of behavior. On the first day of class with this professor she entered the class and immediately informed us that we were going to be putting on a play in three days and she needed volunteers for the main characters. In complete shock everyone in the class just stared at one another thinking, “Uhhhh is this lady serious? There is no way I am signing up.” After about 2 long minutes of awkward silence she let us know that she was kidding and asked us why we were so afraid to volunteer for a play. The class discussed the situation and we came to the conclusion very similar to what Ken Robinson’s talk was addressing. Somewhere from kindergarten to high school we are programmed to sit, sit still, sit silently, and sit focused on the teacher. Somewhere within that long period of time we lose the ability to be comfortable with failure, to be comfortable with risk, and to be comfortable with creativity. I imagine if my professor would have walked into an early elementary grade and asked who wanted to volunteer to be the lead roles in a play almost every single student would have raised his or her hand.

    So as a soon to be educator I now ask myself: how can I help my students to hold on to their creativity, or to regain it? Throughout this thread I have seen many people use the argument of multiple intelligences to help lead their pedagogy to a more effective and efficient routine. I could not agree more. Clearly not all students are able to sit still and focus on a discussion presented by a teacher. For some students there is a need for visual learning, for others the use of audio is needed. For some students who have ADD or ADHD there needs to be a way to not restrict their “enthusiasm” but to harness it and focus it towards the objective at hand.

    Recently I was part of a teaching PD about blended learning. In a nutshell, blended learning is a classroom tool in which students rotate around stations throughout the classroom, and each station has a different mode of learning. One station will involve iPads, or chrome books, another station will involve partner work, and another station involves direct instruction from the teacher. Each station will hopefully address one way in which each student learns best. Although I have not tried blended learning yet it does seem like a pretty effective way of teaching both effectively and efficiently while holding on to the ability of being creative.

    I thought Ken Robinson did a very good job at addressing one of the biggest hindrances education is currently facing. Our educational system is in need of a facelift that will be able to address the diverse strengths of many of our students.

    Posted by Joe Wertz | July 7, 2013, 11:36 am
  117. I found this ted talk very interesting. The part that struck me the most was about how ADHD has risen with the emergence of standardized test. I have a really good friend who has been diagnosed with ADHD since they were 7 and to I think they are one of the most brilliant people I know. However, if you ask them, they think that they’re stupid and I couldn’t understand that. This Ted talk explains perfectly why people like them tend to think that way. The system of education that we are currently using has been designed so that only one way of thinking is considered “correct” and everything else is “wrong.” The issue with this system is it’s cutting out so many brilliant people because it’s trying to use a system created 200 years ago when the world has changed so much since then. Education shouldn’t be “one size fits all” it needs to be tailor made to allow everyone an opportunity to succeed and not hold back those who do not conform to the norms of a 200 year old system. I always knew there were issues with our education system and I think this talk explains them perfectly and more people should learn from it.

    Posted by Kara Cannon | July 7, 2013, 12:12 pm
  118. This TED talk is something I believe firmly in. The key points I felt need to be addressed more in the United States public school system are: the diagnosis of ADD and ADHD, the assembly line and divergent thinking.

    Sir Ken Robinson spoke about the growth of ADD and ADHD diagnosis in our country, this brings me to another article I read fairly recently on the Psychology Today blog ( This article suggests that although ADD and ADHD are real disorders, they affect a significantly smaller proportion of children in the French community. This is because they have a different system of diagnosis. In France ADD and ADHD are considered medical disorders based in social and situational circumstances. The idea is that if we alter the environment (or stimulants) people diagnosed with these disorders will dissipate. Sir Ken Robinson is not too far off from saying this himself, in a time where there is more technology and stimuli than ever how can we expect anyone to keep focus? Could the answer be in diet and environment rather than pharmaceuticals?

    As far as the assembly line, the public education system needs an overhaul. Students are passed through like Fords waiting for their seats and airbags to be placed in. It is time to remove the idea of the factory, we are not in the industrial revolution any longer. What would happen if we took out the strict system and confined spaces? We could replace the rigidity with collaboration and creativity.

    Finally, divergent thinking. If the public school system were to wipe the board on every element of education, or stip the paint of it, and apply the concept of divergent thinking we could reformat an outdated system that runs like a factory which produces a product that has few skills and no knowledge on how to apply them. The use of divergent thinking doesn’t apply just to teachers and students, it also should apply to administration. Thinking creatively is the only way we will solve the issues that apply to us in our economy and culture today. By adopting this idea we can prepare students to think outside the box and find a greater solution.

    Seeing as we do not know where our culture and our economy will be in twenty years, shouldn’t we consider changing a system that is hardly working for us at the moment?

    Posted by S. Laumen | July 7, 2013, 12:38 pm
  119. From this talk, I learned I need to :
    *silence all judgment of students and when a kid is demonstrating out of control behavior, I have to think of new ways to engage that student in the learning process rather than labeling the student.
    *be open to multiple ways of learning, because students do not receive information in the same manner
    *incorporating new technologies in the classroom of which today’s students are familiar with; kids today get information through any sort of screen, computer screen, phone screen, television screen and it is highly stimulating, so i want to learn of ways to incorporate technology, facebook concepts of like and dislike and twitter lingo and behavior into the classroom
    *think of how to set up activities in student’s natural habitat, sir ken Robinson claims that great learning happens in groups, in our natural habitat,

    Posted by Eleni Agiz | July 7, 2013, 1:04 pm
  120. This was a fascinating lecture. The animations were particularly engaging. There were several things that I took away from this video.
    1. We only value certain types of intelligence because we have a very particular view of the mind. It reminds me of the Einstein quote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
    2. The arts encourage human beings to be present and fully alive in the moment. Arts education has largely been devalued over the past 30 years. As the speaker points out, we are anesthetizing our children. However, our jobs as teachers should be to wake them UP rather than put them to sleep. In college, students are awakened. We should be waking them up in K-12, too! They should feel curious and engaged- not bored and anesthetized.
    3. I never thought of a school as a factory line, but what a fascinating analogy! Why IS age the most important factor by which we organize students in school?
    4. 98% of kindergarten children scored genius-level on divergent thinking capabilities. We all have the capacity for creativity and divergent thinking. How can we increase these capabilities rather than suppressing them?
    5. Break the mold! Be awake and alive and fascinated and fascinating in your classroom. Learning is joyful.

    Posted by Christina Beeler | July 7, 2013, 1:34 pm
  121. The point that struck me the strongest was the correlation between the rise in cases of ADHD and standardized testing. My first job out of college was remediating students who had previously failed our state testing, and over 75% of my students were medicated for attention disorders. Instead of working on general improvement, we need to focus on individual modifications for success, and the diagnostic approach Robinson mentioned would be beneficial.
    Something I will focus on is avoiding the factory line classroom, as I have recently returned from teaching in Asia. Our classes were run in militant fashion and Induction is going to be very helpful in re-acclimating me to our classroom standards.
    My educational background is not similar to the school at which I will be teaching. I went to small, rural schools my entire life and if you were ‘smart’ you succeeded and had a rigorous schedule, but if you weren’t part of this group you slipped through the cracks and were placed in creative classes and study halls. Both had predictable outcomes, and the students I have watched have followed their expected paths. I also have work history in schools following this path, and it will be very different to have students grouped together and working with roadblocks together. Before, I have been required to follow certain steps and pass students on to different departments to ‘fix’ them. I am very excited to get to help students on a more fundamental level in the main classroom.
    Creating aesthetic experiences for my students is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher. I enjoy getting to express my creativity in lessons. I want my students to leave my classroom feeling a little mentally exercised, inquisitive, and ready for another day.
    One of the most harmful labels that can follow a student around is lazy. If a student looks distant in their classes (even if they do the minimum work), schools must work together to find the root of this behavior and positively affect the social actions of the student. I am just as concerned with a distant student as I am with an over-participator.

    Posted by Pary Huckleberry | July 7, 2013, 1:43 pm
  122. I found this lecture to be incredibly inspiring and many different ideas have resonated with me. First was the point he made about there being tons of brilliant people in this world that “think they’re not” because they’ve been measured against a very strict and standardized view of academic ability. I feel like I know many of these people and it is both daunting and exciting to think that I will have plenty of these kinds of students in my art classes. I think one of a teachers most important jobs is finding out their students individual strengths and weaknesses, and doing whatever they can to leverage that students strengths so that they can achieve their goals. As an art teacher, I am so thrilled that I get to teach and be a part of one of the most obvious aesthetically engaging subjects. I know that many kids who do not feel strong in core subjects often come alive in the arts and I am so excited to be a part of that. While the ADHD portion of this video is controversial, I very much liked the point of our goal as teachers being to “wake up” our students to what’s in inside of them and engage all their senses as we guide them in the learning process. In his discussion of the divergent thinking study, he mentioned that even though we have lost this ability to some degree as we’ve grown up, we are all capable of creativity and seeing many different answers and routes to answers from one question. I hope that my classroom is one of exploring those possibilities and that it awakens the creative kindergardener in me and my students as we learn together.

    Posted by Annie McDonald | July 7, 2013, 2:19 pm
  123. I was blown away by his thoughts on the education system being built off of the industrial revolution. It is amazing how schools do follow the same patterns as a factory. This model is no longer effective for the job choices our students have. We need to prepare our students for the creative endeavors they will be asked to take on in the job field today. I was also struck by the creativity and divergent thinking part. Children come into school seeing unending possibilities. By the time they leave the ability to look creatively look at a situation has diminished. Which pushes me back to my first point of pushing creativity because employers are looking for people who can look creatively at a situation. I have always pushed my students to look at all possibilities within math, but now I must push myself to have my students look creatively at reading. I need to change the mindset within my own class, so students can think outside the box.

    Posted by Jared Braun | July 7, 2013, 2:39 pm
  124. The Ken Robinson video succinctly captures the great irony of the global public education paradigm – at once meant to enhance student ability while diminishing it by its very tactics. If the purpose of education is to solve ever-changing problems, how is a system that consistently equips students with the same toolbox capable of doing so? This is one of Robinson’s most prescient points – in trying to expand and democratize education over the past century or so, its potential to inspire change has significantly decreased. In a public where the dialogue increasingly focuses on preparing students for a society that is changing at a quickening pace, it seems to miss that vital link – focusing on standardization of student achievement diminishes the capacity for its graduates to affect meaningful change.

    I also appreciated his link between increased stimulation and increased diagnoses of ADHD. This observation may be self-evident to the point of being banal, but it bears keeping in mind when working with students. We as a society have created an environment that is overwhelmed with media and information and then immersed those most susceptible to it – young children who are eager to learn and explore – in the thick of it. Worse yet, we penalize students by medicating them to correct for our lack of foresight as a society in order to fit them back into our rigid system of education. It’s a cruel game to play, akin to placing a recovering alcoholic in a room full of liquor and then penalizing them for indulging. Robinson’s insight suggests that it may be better to encourage students to take in the myriad information around them and incorporate it into the structure of education rather than anaesthetizing them with medication. Moreover, a measure of empathy towards students’ potential struggles with concentration and ADHD is also important – in this sense, young children are set up to fail; giving them the tools to succeed in this hyper-stimulated environment rather than penalizing them is the best way forward.

    Lastly, Robinson’s discussion of the social structure realities built into the public education system is interesting as well. The system was designed for, primarily, students from upper class backgrounds in the enlightenment era. The resistance towards universal public education only highlights the fact that the system was not originally designed for students of all different backgrounds. I think this opens up a potentially important discussion about the options offered to students. In addition to preparing students to enter college, undoubtedly a worthy goal, it is vital to prepare students for other paths as well – paths that reflect the realities of each student’s life and abilities. The underlying question needs to be not “how can we get students from point A to a predetermined point B?” but rather “how can we unlock each student’s potential regardless of his trajectory in life?”. How can we allow students to be productive and contributing members of society in whatever they do? Herein lies the power of Robinson’s talk.

    Posted by Matt Mariani | July 7, 2013, 3:07 pm
  125. I’ve seen this video a couple of times under various circumstances and what always strikes me when I watch the video is the fact that Sir Ken Robinson fails to explicitly name that the groups of people that are benefitting everyday from the model of education that we have. There is a reason why schools model factories. One of those reasons is that when you give the masses the minimal amount of education required to do menial tasks, it not only keeps those masses subdued, but also puts them on a path to work in low-wage jobs. They work for low wages while white corporate executives, politicians, and other private interests continue to profit. If we’re going to be specific about naming the problem with our schooling we have to look at larger societal problems– specifically capitalism. Capitalism requires that there are unbalanced tiers of society. It requires there to be rich and poor. It requires there too be educated and uneducated. And when we put American capitalism in connection with other societal structures like racism, classism, and sexism we can begin to see that Robinson’s talk- while enlightening only grazes the surface of this deep societal ill.
    Yes I agree with Robinson that we need to shift the educational paradigm and yes I agree that the model we have is outdated and ineffective. But what I also know and believe is that there are structures in places (like white supremacy and capitalism) that actively promote the system we have because there are groups of people at the top of that system that have and will continue to benefit from it.

    Posted by Brandon Lewis | July 7, 2013, 3:44 pm
  126. This was my first time watching Sir Robinson’s talk and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I strongly connected this video with a documentary I recently watched, and I’m sure many of you have also seen. My sister suggested this documentary as soon as she found out I would be teaching for Yes Prep. The documentary is called Waiting for Superman, and it first introduced me to many of the ideas that Sir Robinson presents. The documentary was released in 2010, which I think is the same year this talk was given, and might be one of the reasons why they have much in common. They both give parallel accounts to the development of our educational system and the reasons for its shortcomings. And they are both very critical of the current state of our educational system, which I believe is a positive thing. It is a positive thing because like many commentators before me have said, our system of education should be aimed at constantly improving and growing/changing alongside variables like technology. And this critical analysis of our educational system can help us find ways for improvement.

    My biggest take away from the TED Talk was the brutal reality of “the system.” This was my take away because as a first year teacher “the system” becomes my biggest obstacle. If my attempts at being a successful teacher are compromised for what is easiest for me, or if I decide to resort to doing the bare minimum for any reason at all, then I have failed at providing my students with an experience that will peak their senses, as Sir Robinson described in his example of aesthetic experience through the arts. Sir Robinson challenges the idea of conforming to the way the system currently works and provides the audience with information that shows glimpses of the possibly undiscovered intellectual capacity for learning. If I am not encouraging students to explore the totality of knowledge but am simply limiting their experience to temporal success on paper, then I am failing to do my job as a teacher, and therefore I will be hindering their understanding of what a student really is. In order to enhance the classroom setting to engage the students’ senses, my classroom would have to be described as engaging, challenging, and motivating.

    Posted by Salomon Lara | July 7, 2013, 5:35 pm
  127. I truly enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture and I totally agree with his idea of changing the way we educate our children. The topic that I remember the most during the lecture was his theory that our children are being overly diagnosed with ADHD. I too believe that our society has drastically changed and we should find more creative ways to educate our kids instead of assuming he/she has ADHD. Children learn in different ways and at different rates, and because a child might become bored or disinterested with a certain subject or school in general doesn’t mean they have an attention disorder. The epidemic of children being wrongly diagnosed is not only with ADHD but also with being placed in special education classes. I’ve personally known extremely intelligent children that simply have a hard time learning in the standard classroom environment and others with difficultly transferring what they have learned onto standardized tests which resulted in them being placed in special education classes by their school. We as educators have to reach out to each individual child and figure out the most effective way for he/she learn. The more personal attention we show our students, the more information we can gather about how we should approach our teaching strategies.

    Posted by Timothy Nelson | July 7, 2013, 7:21 pm
  128. There are a plethora of things that stand out to me in this video as major takeaways but having seen the video multiple times, the one I am always left thinking about is the “ADHD Epidemic” that has enveloped our nation and our education system. Having worked with young children for many years in a variety of capacities (assistant teacher, nursery school aide, camp counselor) the one thing most children have in common is an abundance of energy. It consistently shocks me at how many children are routinely diagnosed with ADHD or some similar diagnosis and are then heavily medicated from a young age. Having seen some children put on the medication, for them they seemed to become completely different people. Shadows of their former full-of-life selves. The video makes a point about how we are putting our children to sleep in schools when these are the years when we should be waking them up to their potential as well as the vast array of knowledge and options that surrounds them at this point in time. I think it is imperative that we as teachers work to ensure that our students are being awoken to this array, diagnosis or not. (I’d just like to say that I do believe some children have ADHD but I personally feel as if it is overdiagnosed and we need a more definitive criteria for diagnosis and subsequent medication)

    Posted by Munira Boxwalla | July 7, 2013, 9:05 pm
  129. As a future reading teacher, my first “think-aloud” pause came when Ken Robinson reflected on a story–the story of why he went to school and why “our kids” are or are not necessarily compelled to do so.

    His first few points are packed but, I believe, foundational to understanding his argument and to understanding why we sometimes feel like we’re talking to a brick wall in the classroom. Why don’t they “wanna be here?” “They just don’t care.” “She’s not interested.” “He’s not motivated.” Etc.

    When he went to school (i.e. when many of our parents went to school) he believed in the story he was told there – that, “if you worked hard and did well and got a college degree, you would get a job.” Furthermore, he argues that, in trying to meet the changing demands of our modern economies and cultural positions, we have tried to “tell the same story” to students who do not believe it to be true for themselves, and “rightfully so.” I agree with D. Robinson that our kids are “right” to see that graduating high school and going to college guarantees them very little. Especially if, as he notes, they feel that “the route to [success] marginalizes most of the things [they] think are important about themselves.”

    As a reader and a writer (and teacher of readers and writers) I like framing these ideas as stories. So, if Dr. Robinson is right and our kids don’t believe in the antiquated “education = success” story of our parents, what story DO they believe in? I certainly hope it is not a story that leaves them pessimistic, hopeless, frustrated, and marginalized. I hope it is a story that values who they are, what they know, what they’ve learned, how they’ve grown, and what they can contribute to their community and the country at large.

    Stories, I think, are usually stylized myth grown from or inspired by the reality we perceive. The educational system of old told the story of “American dream ladders” composed of high school, college, and industry jobs because that was a reality for most of the people who told that story. But the students in our schools perceive a very different reality — one of oppression, marginalization, racism, classism, and closed doors that, it would seem, no amount of work can open. So where do teachers come in? How do we act, not as myth-makers, but as authors of a new story that will lead, we hope, to a new reality? How do we raise up a new generation of authors and meaning-makers who will live the story we want them to believe is true? That their minds and their words and their actions can open pathways of opportunity they before believed to be closed. That they are valuable beyond measure and independent of their assumed or applied identity markers. That they can and must contribute to our country and our heritage and our culture because they and their family are important and necessary to our survival and our joy as a people.

    Many of us have seen Chimamanda Adichie’s brilliant TED talk, “The Danger of the Single Story.” In sharing her experiences as an “African” author entering the world of “British literature,” she reminds us that singular, narrow-minded, shallow stories, “rob people of our human dignity” and “emphasize how we are different rather than similar.” They offer perceptions of reality based on one perspective only and, if we allow them to govern our perception of reality, they leave us feeling falsely empowered or disenfranchised and a lone. “Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

    Teaching literacy matters to me for many reasons, but one main reason is this: I want my students to be able to understand many stories and love many stories so that they can create their own story and value the stories of others. No matter what the economic, moral, and political climate of our time, I want to help them gain the tools of critical thinking and respectful communication in order to recreate their own story of success and achievement.

    Posted by Maggie Gunn | July 7, 2013, 9:33 pm
  130. Sir Ken’s video highlights the economic, cultural, and exclusionary practices of our current system. It also highlights the importance of structural redefinition, divergent thinking, and multiple intelligences.

    Interestingly enough, I was asked to watch this video with a panel of Developmental Psychologist two years ago. Our conversation was centered around the rising number of low income students who were diagnosed with ADD/ ADHD. The panel argued that Sir Ken’s ideas around ADD/ ADHD were immensely flawed, and overtly simplistic. I argued that the current rate of ADD/ ADHD cases were in fact a combination of both environmental and biological factors. Moreover, I argued that their current opinions were the possible “byproduct” of convergent thinking.

    In this particular instance, I was struck by Ken’s explanation of industrialism and its influence on education. This portion of the video made me question the importance of preserving culture, and what reconstruction would look like? What aspect of our current system needs to be changed? Is Sir Ken a witty idealist who is quick to highlight the problem, and slow to offer a realistic suggestion that would produce realistic results? His presentation was entertaining, and his arguments were profound; however, I would have liked his presentation to be a little more solution orientated.

    Posted by Nandi Rease | July 7, 2013, 10:43 pm
  131. As I viewed this video, the idea that struck me the most was Sir Ken Robinson’s discussion of divergent thinking. I would like to think of school as a place where students grow and learn, but according to the study he referenced, divergent thinking declines as children get older, which he suggests in part is due to schooling. The capacity to “think outside the box” and come up with multiple solutions or answers to a problem is quite powerful and important in a quickly-changing world, so it is troubling to me that many children’s capacity deteriorates. I see a connection between this and one of Sir Robinson’s larger points that many others have posted about— the fact that our schools are designed in an industrial view, resembling factories. Not only are children sent through in batches and “standardized” in a way so are the answers. Many times students are asked to look for “the one answer”. There isn’t just one right answer for every problem in life, so helping to take away skill is not ideal for our students or society. As teachers, I believe we should be helping our students use these skills and bolster creativity. One of the beauties and challenges of teaching is that every student is different and, so many times, they might have different ways of solving a math problem or designing an experiment. By challenging ourselves to build classroom cultures where students can share and evaluate these different ideas, I believed we can work to encourage divergent thinking and stimulate students to come up with great ideas.

    Posted by Morgan Brown | July 8, 2013, 8:32 am
  132. I found this talk to be very compelling. The first thing that struck me was Robinson’s discussion of the differences in the connection between hard work and employment historically and in today’s society. It is easy to understand why students are unmotivated, when they see that their efforts will not necessarily be a means to a positive end. As an adult who values education and has already earned an advanced degree, I still sometimes question the validity of having invested so much time, energy, passion, and money, given the still extremely limited options that were available to me before beginning with Yes Prep last year.

    The second thing that struck me was Robinson’s discussion of the way we tend to bifurcate our conceptualization of individuals and the mind (i.e., one is either academic or non-academic, with “academic” being defined in limited terms). This, combined with the research demonstrating decreases in divergent thinking over time, makes it easy to understand how and why so many students are discouraged in the current educational system; individuals fall into one of two categories, and as they grow older, they are become less creative in thinking about the options available to them.

    The third thing that stood out to me was the idea that grouping students by age is problematic. This is something I had never thought of. Clearly, individuals can be held back based on a lack of performance according to certain standards, but the idea that this entire system could potentially be rethought stuck with me. I agree that it does not make sense to think that age is the most important factor in determining a student’s placement. At the same time, I do not see a solution for how this could be remedied. This is something I will continue to think about.

    Posted by Whitney McMillan | July 8, 2013, 9:39 am
  133. What I gathered from Sir Ken Robinson is:

    1) ADHD has become an excuse for children in their lack of focus. Administrators do not want to look at the fact that the standardized tests are limiting the students creativity and not allowing them to learn as individuals but learn as a mass.

    2) No one student is the same in the way they learn. Some students are visual and some learn better by book. When you try to teach all students the same way it is almost a guarantee that you will loose students along the way.

    3) I remember being taught as an individual and not as a mass. Things have changed since I was a student and not for the better.

    4) Children with ADHD are seen as lazy and unfocused, but who is to blame for that? Are they really ADHD or is the teacher not able to hold the students focus and make it interesting?

    Posted by Cassandra Malork | July 8, 2013, 10:44 am
  134. Sir Ken Robinson’s video is very revealing. First I agree that the educational system developed during the industrial era needs to revamped. The image of a school resembling a factory is troubling. The one size fits all approach to learning does not account for children genius in other areas. In this era or globalization, people who are innovative will lead the markets of tomorrow. our schools need to focus on cultivating students innovative juices rather than simply shipping them out of a “factory.”

    At the end of the day, I think Sir Ken Robinson is challenging all of us to think of ways we can beak out of the factory model of education. As a teacher, I have to pay close attention to how I teach and what I am doing that may be reinforcing a system that is not serving all our students.

    Posted by Kurt kargou | July 8, 2013, 12:14 pm
  135. 1. What do you remember most? What I remember the most is the analogy of the school as a factory. The compartmentalized factory with the batches of kids coming out of the assembly line made me think a lot.

    2. What three adjectives would you like your students to use in describing your classroom lessons? I would like my students to describe my lessons as engaging, helpful and effective.

    3. Even if we disagree with anything Sir Robinson is positing, his talk invites us to think differently about education. We all do agree that there is room for improvement in the system, especially here in Texas, so there must be something we can do differently to seek solutions. Interestingly, what Sir Robinson criticizes about education is a lack of “divergent” thinking, and this is precisely what he wants to encourage so we can be excellent teachers.

    4. Sir Robinson is indeed unqualified to discredit ADHD and ADD as an epidemic in America. His quick explanation for why he believes it is not real is not entirely convincing to me, because those high numbers for certain states could be due to other factors. However, I believe medication should be the very last resort for a child who cannot focus in class. Whatever the problem is in each particular case, I want to be the kind of teacher who can help a student focus by teaching them other techniques that may work for them. In other words, I would rather find deficiencies in my teaching, and correct them, than blame it all on psychiatric disorders.

    5. When Sir Ken Robinson explained the economic and social circumstances of the past that lead to our current education system, it made me think about how possible it is to provide quality education to all people. I think that if it is possible, a lot has to be done differently. This is why it is so exciting to work for YES Prep; it is the kind of place where teaching can happen in new, better ways.

    Posted by Carlos Rodriguez Quiroga | July 8, 2013, 12:20 pm
  136. I greatly enjoyed Sir Robinson’s views on how our education system has developed and changed throughout time, and how he challenged teachers to think differently about how we educate our students. One of the most interesting points that I gathered from this video was how he talked about “smart” versus “non-smart” children. He says that this idea is “deep in the gene pool of public education.” We tend to group kids into these two categories, and then the “non academic” group of students start to believe they are not smart and cannot learn and succeed. He brings up the fact that some people have benefited from this model, and I definitely agree with him there. The “smart” group of students are built up and told they’re smart, and usually succeed. On the other hand, the other group is made to believe they are not as good as the others, and possibly by self fulfilling prophecy, the do not succeed. It is so important that, as teachers, we build up all of our students. We must believe that all kids have the potential for greatness, even if they have been pinpointed as a “trouble maker” or if they struggle with classwork.

    Robinson brings up the issue that schools tend to treat students like the outcome of a factory: they all go in the same, we teach them the exact same way, and they will come out the same. We cannot expect all children to learn the same way. If we teach them the same without acknowledging and using their differences positively in the classroom, then we are bound to lose some of them on the way.

    Posted by Anna Hooper | July 8, 2013, 12:51 pm
  137. I found the part where he compares schools to factories very interesting because students are all learning at a very different pace and by grouping them only because of age groups does not help them in their learning. I worked in the Learning Lab and saw that retaining students and keeping them in the same grade had both allowed them to grow academically and socially.

    Another thing I found interesting was creating a classroom where we reach students through the arts thus minimizing distractions of lack of interests from students. If I think back on classes that were most memorable to me in school, it would be the class that had all my senses alerted and had us physically moving around and figuring out the solutions for ourselves. Great video!

    Posted by Anh Nguyen | July 8, 2013, 1:19 pm
  138. As I viewed the video, Sir Ken Robinson had many compelling arguments. There were some I agreed with, while there are others that I questioned. But even if I did agreed with his arugments, implementing his ideas are much harder than having to say it. Following are some comments on his ideas (in no particular order).

    On ADHD, I am not sure what to believe exactly. I believe that there might be kids out there that actually have the disorder. Although, at the same time, if a kid is told that he/she has ADHD, it might end up being a “self-fulfilling” diagnosis. But I do agree with Sir Ken Robinson that making kids with ADHD take all these medicines is not good for them. I think there should be another solution to help the kids with ADHD instead of making them take pills. Teachers have to find a better way to teach their students in such a way that engages them. Sir Ken Robinson is right that the world is bombarding our children with information from everywhere which develops a mindset or condition that wants different information every minute. We would rather have short snipets of information then having to read the whole story and figure out what really happened. But having to change culture is much harder. So the only solution would be to change the way a teacher teaches so as to engage their students.

    As for schools being a factory, it is extremely hard to escape this type of mentality. He is right that we will have to change our way of thinking if we hope to change it the way Sir Ken Robinson is suggesting. But there are so many students in the USA compared to teachers who actually teach. There is not enough teachers to help engage all the different types of students out there.

    As for divergent thinking, I do agree with what he is saying, but how can we teach students to become better divergent thinkers? In public education, students are given textbooks and are taught cold hard facts. It wasn’t until I took a humanities class in college that I discovered that not all text books are right and that I have to agree with it. But how can we teach students that? And how about methods? What might be easy for a person might not be easier for someone else. Also what happens when one of the methods is actually more efficient then the other? Shall we just teach the more efficient one or the one that is easier to learn?

    But lastly, having worked at Yes Prep for a few months as a substitute teacher and being a YES Prep teacher for next year, if I were to accept Sir Ken Robinson’s arguments, it would makes me question YES Prep’s method for preparing the students for the world and measuring their students and goals. There are many different test students continually have to take. Not only do they have to take the STAAR but they also have to take the Common Assessment. It switches the focus of the teacher to get the students to pass the test instead of getting them to enjoy their learning. Not to say that a teacher does not want the later but ratherthey are more focused on the tests. And also looking at YES Prep’s structure and methods, how can we go about our students education when there is such an unbalanced focus on academic over extracurricular activities if any? I personally believe that extracurricular activities with academic studies help students become prepared for the world instead of just academic studies. And on top of that it engages the students, instead of making them focus just on academic studies.

    There are still many questions that I personally have and would like to bounce off another person or even just to discuss as to get a better picture of what Sir Ken Robinson is suggesting and arguing for.

    Overall, I enjoyed what Sir Ken Robinson talked about, but I would like a more thought out plan about what he exactly wants to accomplish and how to do it.

    Posted by Van Ho | July 8, 2013, 1:32 pm
  139. One point I found interesting was that children today feel alienated from their education. I agree with Sir Ken Robinson that the “story” we tell our students has changed. I have found that many students no longer see the purpose in going to school. It many ways it is true that going to school and attending college does not automatically give you a good job. This is why I think it is important to explain to students why they are learning certain material, why it is important and how it can help them. He makes a strong point when he explains that our education system today was “designed and conceived for a different age.” For this reason, I believe it is important to update how and what we teach. An example of this would be to try to utilize technology. Students today understand technology, enjoy technology, and more and more it is the direction our society is headed in. Utilizing technology is a great way to connect students to their own education and grab their interest. I found the history of public education to be particularly interesting because it further shows that we are in a different time than when public education was created. It only makes sense that we would need to adopt a different approach to educate our students.

    I also enjoyed the way he explained academic and non-academic people. I think it is important to help students recognize their strengths and realize that there is not one specific mold of a “smart student.”

    The portion that I was the most struck by was Sir Robinson’s take on “getting our children through education by anaesthetizing them.” He made a number of powerful statements that I will continue to keep in mind as I design my lessons. I want the classroom to be a place where students feel intrigued, challenged, and encouraged.

    While this video presents many great ideas and explanations, it does not present any real, concrete solutions to use in the classroom. During induction, I hope to take-away more specific examples of how to create atheistic experience in my classroom and how to make sure that each student is receiving the differentiated instruction that I believe they deserve.

    Posted by Carlisle Gillock | July 8, 2013, 2:10 pm
  140. As an education major, I watched Sir Robinson’s TED talk several times in my undergraduate classes. When I watched the video this time, I was once again struck by how Sir Robinson addresses the need for change within our education system. As educators, we need to shift away from what has been done in the past in our education system and adjust our practices to engage all students in the learning process.

    The following are three adjectives that I hope students will use to describe my classroom:

    1. FUN/EXCITING – I want my students to have fun in math class and see how relevant math is to the real world. I expect that some students in my class will dislike math at the start of the year, but I hope to at least create an environment where students look forward to coming to class, enjoy learning about mathematics, see themselves as mathematicians, and understand how math relates to their everyday lives.

    2. SUPPORTIVE – I want my students to know that I am with them in their learning and available to assist them throughout the school year. I hope that they feel like I am approachable and that they can ask questions to help them better understand and master the objective.

    3. CHALLENGING – I strongly believe in creating a classroom that provides students with attainable challenges and academic rigor. Attainable challenge is a key factor in motivating students, and I plan to create a learning environment that provides students with attainable challenges.

    Posted by Erin Galvin | July 8, 2013, 2:22 pm
  141. The animation in the video gave a lot of good visuals, which were informative yet entertaining at the same time. I did was not distracted so much as intrigued by how the images connected Sir Robinson’s thoughts and message. As a visual learner, I appreciate visual aids to help me retain the information. I believe this holds true for many students who need to visualize the message that is being taught.

    With the large number of students who attend schools nowadays, a lot of schools stray away from giving a quality education. Instead, they are content with achieving the standard minimum of what is required from the state or whatever organization. Many of the students are only taught the topics and subjects, which are tested on the standardized exams given annually. I believe this is a very big disadvantage to the students as well as the teachers. Everyone needs to be exposed to new information and knowledge, in order, to grow intellectually. I hope to learn, at the Induction, effective methods to teach my students the essential materials and to entice their inquisitiveness for knowledge beyond what is tested.

    Many communities have the notion that a certain professional deems that individual to be successful. As a result, many students invest their time and energy to studying fields that are not of interest to them. They work and study night and day to make the grades and scores to get into different graduate schools that would enable them to be doctors, engineers, lawyers and whatnot, which is fine. However, many times, it is only to please their parents, family, or just to keep up a certain image of success. The biggest challenge as a teacher would be to inspire and to help students gain confidence and courage to pursue what it is that they are interested in.

    A way to make classroom lessons more interesting is to make it relatable to students. I have seen teachers incorporate their lessons into Lady Gaga’s songs. Activities like that make the lessons fun and memorable for the students. I hope that my students will describe my classroom lessons as well-informed, fun, and memorable.

    ADD and ADHD are very real conditions, but I think many people allow their children to use it as a crutch and an excuse to not excel in school or whatever they are involved in. ADD and ADHD should be seen as any other life obstacle, which should strengthen the individual instead of crippling him or her. I have seen many parents, family, and even teachers who have given up on the students’ education. Often times, these people have labeled these students lazy, stupid, or incapable. Their actions and words teach these kids that they have reached their maximum potential and are not capable of exceeding anymore. In many cases, this is not true. There are many brilliant individuals who see and learn differently from the traditional methods. Therefore it is ALWAYS better to keep a positive outlook and attitude to encourage students to exceed their expectations and help them realize they are more than capable of achieving their goals when they are determined.

    Posted by Hoang-Anh (Bina) Dao | July 8, 2013, 2:31 pm
  142. I remember watching this TED talk a couple of years ago. I agree with the idea that schools are run largely on two different premises: Economic and intellectual. I also agree with the idea that schools are using a model of the industrial line. I have seen it happen. As a student teacher, I was schooled in how to do this myself. Any deviation of this model was strictly frowned upon. Students were to move along as a group from one objective to another until mastery (what ever that was) was attained.

    Sir Ken’s point is that we shouldn’t focus on those things but we should change how we do things in the classroom to better match life in the 21st Century. Instead of forcing students into a box and expecting them all to magically perform the same way, we should be getting to know them and using their interests and strengths to teach them. Perhaps students will be in my English class who will be different ages rather than all in the same grade and age. That would be different.

    I don’t agree with his premise that ADHD is a false epidemic. I do agree that perhaps it is over diagnosed or miss diagnosed in some, I do know that there are some students who do suffer from this and deserve to be better served by education.

    I agree with his premise that we are trying to solve current issues with ideas that are two centuries old. I believe that this is not a good way to do things. It is troublesome as we try to look into the future of education in America and the world. How can we possibly train new members of the global economy if we are not changing to meet the needs of this new world? It is something that I will be pondering for a while as I review my own teaching habits.

    Posted by Julie George | July 8, 2013, 2:37 pm
  143. 5 things that really hit me.
    Our education system resembles a factory in which we try to produce hard working members of society that contribute to our economy. The problem is that our factory needs to be changed because it does not always work.
    I hope that I learn how to help change this factory idea at TE.
    I agree that our education system often takes out creativity and produces zombies that are just trying to memorize information to pass a standardized test. I feel that we should try to build meaningful connections with the information we teach our students so that It can stick with them and the test taking part should only be a small part of our focus as educators.
    Cooperative learning is not always the easiest to implement but I believe it is the most effective way to teach our students. It allows students to express themselves and build off of each other’s ideas, fostering their creativity.
    I think ADD and ADHD are real but I do not think that students need to be put on drugs that calm them down when we want them to be engaged in the material we are teaching. We should create lessons that help engage the students.
    It is important that we teach students to maintain their cultural values and ideas because in a world in which it is so easy to work with different nations it is good to have a good sense of your own values and also to appreciate the values of others.

    Posted by Daniel Martinez | July 8, 2013, 2:56 pm
  144. This was my first time to view this video. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very critical of our current educational system, however I do agree with many of his thoughts. I agree that the current public school system operates under a very outdated system which explains many of the shortcomings. Our current system was designed for a different age group; what motivated students 30 years ago does not motivate the children of today. I personally feel that the disconnect is between new generation teachers/administrators and the seasoned teachers/administrators. I feel that there is as big as gap between educational professionals as there is in our student’s educational gap.

    Moving on, I feel that this is why divergent thinking plays a very large role in a teacher’s job. We need to constantly think on our toes and always be thinking about how we an make things better. If a child is not connecting with the material it is not because he/she is not intelligent it is because he or she may not have connected with the way the material has been presented. Just as Ken Robinson talks about deadening our students with medication, we do not need to deaden ourselves to only get through the motions. We as teachers must always better our practice and recognize that just as there there are many different ways to ask a question and many different ways to answer there are many different ways to connect with students and many different learning styles.

    Something that really spoke to me was Ken’s belief on medication. I myself at the age of 9 was diagnosed with ADHD. Yes – I may have been the student that put glue in my classmate’s chair and the student who refused to do my school work, but what my school teachers did not know was my home life was falling apart the same year I was doing these things. Yes I was back on A honor roll the year I took the prescriptions, however I felt numb. And rather than learning to be creative, I learned to be silent and deadened. Which is something that as an adult I struggle with. I feel that it is more important to explore all options in order to support a student’s success rather than give up on them after their first failure or any failure for that matter.

    Posted by Melissa Siptak | July 8, 2013, 3:25 pm
  145. Ken Robinson discussed several big picture trends and ideas that I feel are important for a teacher to remember. I agree with his view that schools are like factories that strive to build a uniform experience for all students. Regrettably, these factories fail at teaching all of their students the content they need to go to college. Robinson’s points on standardized testing are especially important; I agree that standardized testing only measures one dimension of how well a student knows the material.

    My biggest takeaway from this talk is the idea of stimulating multiple senses in a student. When I was in high school, I had multiple random projects that I at that moment I didn’t feel contributed much to the curriculum. They included stitching together a mole to represent a chemistry “mole,” drawing creative book covers for our text books, and even dissecting animals for biology. While that material may not have contributed much to learning the standardized test content, I can now see that those types of projects allow students to understand concepts in a completely different way than a lecture can.

    The challenge for the incoming teachers then is to think beyond problem sets and quizzes when grading for subject mastery. Responding to the fourth question that Paul Needham posted in this blog, I will work towards building a classroom that students describe as engaging, interesting, and meaningful.

    Posted by Mario A. Gonzalez | July 8, 2013, 3:30 pm
  146. Although I have already watched Sir Ken Robinsons video entitled ‘changing education paradigms’ I must admit that I get a source of inspiration from it. Even after watching the video multiple times within a couple of days, it still  excites me thinking about it’s content and knowing that I am able to serve as the agent of change he calls for. Although he proposes very little concrete answers the questions alone are enough to provoke critical thought on the topic.

    1. The most important concept I took away from the video is that the educational system is outdated and relatively unchanged. Judging from the responses that I read a majority of others would agree as well. It is quite strange that an educational system that is supposed to prepare students for an ever changing political and economical context would remain consistent for two centuries. Although schools do integrate new technologies into the classrooms, the rate at which they are accepted lags behind due to the “because it has always been done this way” ideology. I resolve not to fall into the same mode of thinking. 

    2. I was once told by a prominent figure in my life that politics is business and business is politics. I feel that nearly everything in our society falls between the political and economic realms, including both standardized testing and ADD/ADHD medicine, which both just happen to be big business in the US. Although there are some decisions I have no control over currently, I will be cognizant of the ones that I do have control over and the impact that they may have on the student’s lives. Some children are affected by attention disorders and I will not ignore the severity of that, nor will I be quick to suggest that other children who are not so quick to cooperate need to be diagnosed or medicated.

    3. I never really looked at public education as a factory before. Although Sir Ken Robinson made an interesting case I would have to see more arguments concerning what specifically he is questioning about the structure of schools and possible solutions before I could take a position on the matter.

    4. We should not shut the children off to the things that they value about themselves. Einstein once said that “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend it’s entire life thinking that it is stupid.” I firmly believe that every individual has their own innate gifts, abilities and “genius” to share with the world. The challenge will be finding ways to incorporate into every lesson, every day, material through mediums that will reach out to all of the multiple intelligences and stimulate each of the children sitting inside of the classroom. 

    5. Collaboration, without a doubt is essential to the classroom experience. Working with others is one of the most universal abilities that a student could learn in school. I would like to find the right balance between administering group work and individual assessments. Hopefully Teaching Excellence will provide me with alot of guidance relating to this topic.

    Overall, I think the video calls to question the way things have been done in the past and to examine what can currently be done to more effectively engage, teach and prepare students to take place in society after school.I think as long as the mindset remains that way we will, at minimum, be heading in the right direction. However, we don’t shoot for the minimum, so it’s time to get to work.

    Posted by Christian Randolph | July 8, 2013, 3:31 pm
  147. I agreed with Ken Robinson on some many points during the video. I found myself constantly nodding my head and saying YES! throughout the lecture. My biggest takeaway from the talk was his points on kids and ADHD. After a few years of working in the mental health field, I shocked at the overwhelming number of children and adolescents that were being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. In today’s society there are so many things for kids to be distracted by which leads to them being unable to focus on the things that are most important. I watch kids have so much personality and once they take those pills they are just “walking zombies”. It is so sad to see. My goal as a new teacher is to motivate the students to become interested in learning by creating to ways to present the material.

    Another takeaway was the “production line Mentality”, this was an eye opener for me. We have always been grouped by ages in school, but it definitely doesn’t mean that all ages learn at the same capacity. Schools really should look at new ways of teaching. What’s best for the student should always be the top concern. So if that means we have to change the school systems and form new methods of teaching then so be it! The world is steady evolving so why hasn’t teaching?

    Posted by Courtney Jacobs | July 8, 2013, 4:36 pm
  148. What probably struck me most about Ken Robinson’s talk was that there was no mention of parents at all. I certainly agree that the current educational system was designed for a different age, but teachers still have to be looking for ways to be successful within whatever system they are operating. Although it is not easy to do so, I believe it is the responsibility of the teachers to get to know his or her students on an individual basis as much as possible – this includes a student’s home situation. The better we know the backgrounds of our students, the better we can aid in their academic success. I liked the point about divergent thinking not just being a synonym for ‘creativity,’ but functioning more as an essential capacity for creativity. When thinking about student success, we need to consider all the possible answers and how we can reach these desired outcomes. In order for teachers to maximize effectiveness, we must equip ourselves with all the tools necessary to enable student success. We can’t expect to be successful without being properly equipped. One of the tools i think can often be underutilized is parent communication. Keeping parents engaged with what is going on in their child’s education is essential for maximizing student success. Parent knowledge is powerful. Ken talked about collaboration leading to growth – I think collaboration in the case of parents and teachers is a key strategy that we cannot afford to overlook if we want positive growth and change in our educational system. Furthermore, we must understand the difference between parent involvement and parent engagement. Just because a parent is involved does not mean he or she is actively engaged. Just as a student involved in a classroom project does not necessarily mean he or she is actively engaged in learning. We must seek creative ways to engage students and parents in order to achieve desired educational outcomes including college access. The culture must change.

    Posted by Casey Wroten | July 8, 2013, 5:06 pm
  149. I think this is an eye opener to many, at least I hope so. Several issues hit home for me and became personal such as the concept of thinking a college degree will guarantee you a job, or doping children up to make them act like everyone else(ADHD). I’m glad that some attention has been brought to how education has changed and and evolved over the years and the way we teach our children should follow suit.

    Posted by Keiria McCoy | July 8, 2013, 5:12 pm
  150. The concept of our education system being stuck in this “production line mentality” was very interesting. I had never associated many school systems in any way to a factory. He made a very neat connection to show how our system is extremely outdated. I agree. I think our education system should grow with the time in which we are living. Currently I would call this time period innovative and many large public school systems are not.

    One part that I also found very interesting was the discussion about ADD/ADHD and the increase in the past decade. This is something that I also discussed in one of my college courses. What I found interesting was that there are two sides to this increase: 1. Kids are being misdiagnosed in order for them to be “easier to deal with”. or 2. Our more innovative technology can more accurately diagnose. I think it’s very difficult to say what kids truly have ADD and which do not. I do disagree with the kids who seem to have extremely high dosage medication and do not show any emotion. Lastly, it was very interesting to learn that most people diagnosed are in the eastern U.S.

    Overall, I think we should carefully examine what still works from the outdated system and what doesn’t. My goal is to make my class not only more engaging, but make my technology class as innovative as the time in which we are living.

    Posted by Melissa Lopez | July 8, 2013, 6:22 pm
  151. Three adjectives that I would like my students to use when describing my class would be:

    Engaging- I want my students to take an active role in the class. The classroom environment would consist of more dialect as opposed to preaching/teaching. I want them to be able to disagree with me and come up with their own answers as to why they disagree. This would encourage them to not conform and to think on their own increasing their critical thinking while providing me with a new perspective. It not only gives them the chance to grow but allows me to grow as well.

    Challenging- I want to be able to provide my students with multiple ways of testing their knowledge of the subject matter. In breaking from the norm of pen and paper, we would explore additional options to test their mastery of the content while also testing if I have done my job in teaching the material they need.

    Dynamic- I want to have different methods of teaching with each lesson. The students should never be able to tell how I am going to teach as the days go by. The only thing that will be predictable is that they will learn something new, or not, and find it exciting and want to learn more.

    My overall thoughts on the video are in agreement with the idea of the factory education system. This makes me sit back and question what other alternatives are there or what other models exist that we can implement into our schools to break away from the cycle.

    Posted by Clarence Davis | July 8, 2013, 8:03 pm
  152. Ken makes some compelling points about the current state of education. In previous decades, it seems like the big battle was in regards to desegregation, school choice, and ability grouping/tracking. With our new over-emphasis on testing as a means to conforming and measuring our students, it seems that our critical juncture – whether we reform – or even revolutionize education – or continue down this path of destroying creativity and demanding conformity based on a 250 year old system is coming.

    Posted by Daniel A. Lopez | July 8, 2013, 9:34 pm
  153. Sir Ken Robinson makes a solid point that we are educating the future with strategies we
    used in the distant past. In school you were told that if you work hard you can continue on to
    receive a college degree that will score you a prosperous job. Robinson is correct in saying that
    students do not believe this anymore­­nor should they. With so much the future uncertain, what
    do we have to do as educators to invigorate students to learn, and also set them on a path of
    We obviously can not start by structuring schools to accommodate all the differences
    students have. It’s illogical to imagine a  school that was only open in the evening for children that
    do not work well in the morning. There has to be some uniform for efficiency. I do know that
    more than ever we have to overcome the overstimulation, noted by Robinson, of kids outside of
    school by providing learning experiences. My favorite part of Sir Ken Robinson’s talk was the
    explanation of aesthetic experiences. I have always thought of teaching as awakening minds,
    rather than filling them like tiny vessels. I feel energized about the concepts Sir Ken Robinson
    discussed, but at a loss for practical examples to put his great thinking into action. I was happy
    to see in other comments that Robison’s additional TED Talks take a more applicable approach
    to these ideas. I am looking forward to giving these a listen!
    There is a significant amount of change needed for the future, but we must recognize
    that we have evolved in education. Walking into a modern day classroom you will most likely see
    kids working in groups often, seated at tables,  self directed activities, and increased kinetic
    learning. Classrooms look different than they did twenty years ago. We are moving in the right
    direction. I believe that YES Prep is leaping in this direction which is why I chose to begin my
    career here. The most important thing my students need for me to learn through induction and all
    of these preparatory measures is to move beyond abstract when discussing a paradigm shift in
    education and to leave with applicable resources that will truly benefit my kids.  I am excited for
    what is to come!

    Posted by Kellie Denison | July 8, 2013, 9:57 pm
  154. This was a very interesting talk by Ken Robinson the concept about our education system being compared to a factory setting had never occurred to me. It was also very interesting how times have changed but the education system hasn’t changed much. But an outdated education system can not be blamed Teachers should do everything possible to keep students engaged in learning I know that it is easier said than done with all the distractions that exist now a days. In order for us as educators to achieve our goals we have to love what we do and have clear ideas of what we want to achieve before we can get through to our students. From previous experiences and talks I’ve had with friends, some teachers are in the education system for all the wrong reasons and not because they care about their students academic success. Collaboration from the teacher,parent, & student is the key to academic success. This collaboration is lost as the students get older, parents are not as involved as they were in the elementary grades. My goal as an educator will be to keep that collaboration strong in order to achieve the academic success that I desire from each and every one of my students.

    Posted by Carla Garcia | July 8, 2013, 10:26 pm
  155. I agree with the idea that education is centered to economic prosperity. This idea is seen through college students who struggle every day to pay for college and often dropout. So, the education system values people who are economically stable. I think it is important for students to develop their skills during the early years of education through aesthetic experience. This method will allow students to not to solely center on the economy but thrive through their passion. Not only students will compete in the global market but also have an opportunity to receive scholarships that will help them ease their economic struggle. At the same time students who are prepared academically can take advantage of education as well the economy. It is important for students to realize how educational systems are structured in order to find ways to benefit themselves.

    Posted by Armando Patricio | July 8, 2013, 10:36 pm
  156. I found it shocking to hear that our current education system is based upon a system that was created over two-hundred years ago. The societal differences between then and now are innumerable, and there is clearly a great need for change. There is clearly a large disconnect within our educational system, and it must be addressed with utmost importance. In order to provide our children with the educations that they deserve, we must move away from this “cookie cutter” style of education in which we are ignoring the needs of our students. Times have changed and we must effectively address all different styles of learning so that we can provide our students with the best ways to learn in comfortable and safe environments. There is no student in which we can all model our lessons around, as all children are individuals and should be given the right to be treated as such, as opposed to assuming that they will all absorb information in the same way.

    Posted by Bianca Dávila | July 8, 2013, 10:40 pm
  157. I really enjoyed listening to Robinson’s lecture… both times. Many of the things Robinson mentioned resonated with me while other comments left me questioning.

    For example, I appreciated the historical view Robinson takes on education. I think it’s fascinating to question the purpose of education outside of simply educating people (AKA- making people smarter so they may lead smarter lives). As I think of the lack of compatibility between what the education system is designed for and what our students need, I also begin to think about how different cultures value education. In a Ladson-Billings article, I read that for African Americans education has historically been a form of emancipation. Where does this view fit into the current model? If we were to restructure our education system, would their be space to incorporate more culturally grounded views of education.

    I’m also left reflecting on Robinson’s point about students being overstimulated. I once read that students should not be asked to sit still for more than 4 minutes, since commercial breaks are typically no longer than 4 minutes. I’m not sure how I feel about these conclusions, so I certainly need to do more research. However, Robinson’s point seemed to confirm information I’ve heard before.

    Posted by Austyn | July 8, 2013, 10:41 pm
  158. This is a video I actually watched in college, during my institute at Woodson, and again today. And every time, something new stands out to me and resonates differently within me. This most recent time, I believe the one thing that struck as the most powerful is that of a factorized school system. Having worked on the advocacy side of education reform, and now jumping into a first rate change in the classroom, this is something I subconsciously think about. This video just drew that thinking out for me. The fact that our schools can be so structured (which structure is good and needed) causes a lot of our students to fall behind. I believe it contributes to this opportunity gap, not taking into account the variety of ways we all learn. We are expected to be good at everything all the time. Which yes, I believe we should hold ourselves to those high standards, but stepping back to reflect, it somewhat bothers me. That we are put into boxes. Not just as the video says by ages, but in terms of our abilities based on race, backgrounds, and reputations. And once our students fall a little behind, it takes increased amounts to just catch them up. We are all on different levels. And just reflecting back, I have always been in such awe of how simple kids things. I often wish I had that aspect back, being able to see life in its simplest, most real sense. I have kids around 6 years old give me some of the best advice and help. Because they see things and process things so realistically. I believe where I am today is just as important, knowing the skills and traits that are required of me to be who I am today, but it is tricky to decide what is right. What should education look like? What should kids be doing in all stages? Can we keep that grounded state of mind and still be ‘educated’? It leaves me with lots of questions and forces me to think about education as I can control it. As I want to see my students grow and how I can offer that to them.

    Posted by Alexa Marie RUiz | July 8, 2013, 10:44 pm
  159. Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture touches upon a poignant subject with which educators have direct contact. Throughout his main points, I kept asking myself, “What can/will I do differently?” I particularly liked how Robinson presented current educational practices as a “system” that cycles children through it in “batches.” This imagery recalls conversations I’ve had with children about their future; their answers were typically tied to careers in medicine, law, and business. Are these the limits of choice for our students? Why aren’t vocations and trades praised (or recommended) as much as careers in “the big three”? Perhaps this is a major area in which educators can act.

    An additional topic which Robinson highlights is society’s “particular view of the mind.” I thought that the visual which accompanied this topic was fitting because it showed a growing gap between the few who were considered “smart” and the others who were not. Intelligence manifests itself in a myriad of talents. Some students, for instance, may not do well in mathematics, yet they excel in linguistics or art. Are they not to be considered smart, according to what the standard is?

    My main takeaway from Robinson’s lecture is that as an educator, I must locate the multitude of talents in each of my classes and discover ways in which these talents will help each of my students progress not only academically but personally as well. There is no “one size fits all,” and I feel it is my responsibility to help each student find his or her own “path” to success.

    Posted by Christopher Scott | July 8, 2013, 11:01 pm
  160. First and foremost, what a creative mode of lecturing! The video was brief, yet the information was thorough, easy to follow and the animation was very entertaining.

    What I remember most:
    Although many of the concepts discussed were not new to me, Sir Ken Robinson does an excellent job of highlighting the root necessity of education reform. As noted by many of my fellow TEachers, I was especially intrigued by his explanation that, “education is modeled on the interests of industrialization and in the image of it.” This was a new notion to me, but one that makes absolute sense as a key example of the need for improving the education system. Just to consider a factory-like learning environment evokes feelings of disinterest in me, so I can only imagine how my students would struggle in such a setting. It is important to student development to implement such structured practices as bell signals and deadlines, but I wholeheartedly believe teaching must be differentiated beyond standard expectations to include each and every learning style. Robinson also describes in this rationalization how classes are separated by subject. Cross-curricular teaching is essential to tapping into student interest and keeping classrooms engaged.

    What my student most need for me to get at Induction:
    I feel I already have the passion, patience and enthusiasm required to be a successful educator to my students. What I need from Induction are the tools to plan engaging lessons for my students that will create the aesthetic learning experiences described by Robinson.

    Three adjectives I would like my students to use in describing my classroom lessons:
    Interesting, useful and inspirational

    Posted by Regan Traister | July 8, 2013, 11:36 pm
  161. Houston’s job market seems to be recovering more quickly than most (thank goodness!), but I think we can all still relate to Sir Robinson’s statement that a “degree is not a guarantee of a job”, either through our own experience or that of someone we know. I went to school in Scotland, and I remember listening to a BBC radio program about this. There were 10 people interviewed on the show, 8 had PhDs, and all were jobless. I was amazed by this, and terrified, especially as I was set to graduate a few months later. I was particularly struck, however, by what Sir Robinson follows up that statement with: “A degree is not a guarantee of a job, and especially not if the route to it marginalizes what you think is important about yourself.” I am grateful for the education I was given growing up, for the handful of rare and wonderful teachers along the way, and for my degree, which allows me to be employed by Yes Prep! Still, I do think that the route I took marginalized a lot of what I thought was important about myself. I have on many occasions found that there is more from my education that I have to work hard to ‘forget’ than ‘remember’–hurtful words or things that a teacher told me I’d “never” accomplish. In college I had to change many parts of my final project to please my professor, even though I regretted the changes later and wish I’d fought for myself. It was all about the degree. That brings me to the next statement in the TED talk that I found helpful: “Many brilliant people think they’re not because they’ve been judged against this particular view of the mind.” This informs me that I am not the only one holding on to these kinds of things and further reinforces that our language with students is SO important! I love the “Whatever it takes” motto of Yes Prep–because it not only speaks to our teaching style but also to the general atmosphere of encouragement–that students really can accomplish their goals by doing whatever it takes, and we are there to show them how. They need to be in an environment where divergent thinking feels at home, where they are cheered on and encouraged to aim high. What an incredible opportunity to be able to change the system and serve these students.

    Posted by Mary-Moore Lowenfield | July 9, 2013, 1:11 am
  162. Sir Ken Robinson’s focus on collaboration at the end of his talk was, for me, the highlight of this video. His emphasis on public education throughout history as a “factory system” was juxtaposed with the notion of collaboration, and I found this comparison meaningful.
    As a teacher, it’s so important to make sure I am learning from the styles of the students in my classroom. If I am to treat my students like products in a factory, I will not be teaching them in a way that is effective. Perhaps I’ll reach the “academic” group, but as Robinson notes, I’ll be missing another portion of students whose preferred method of learning isn’t addressed in this setting.
    I have found that collaboration is a great way to get students to process what they are being taught and to extend those lessons into application. I love that Robinson pointed out that this is dependent upon school culture. I agree with others who have said this video raises more questions, and I think this is an important one: what school and classroom culture will it take to steer away from this “factory” environment but to still maintain a sense of productivity and urgency in the classroom?

    Posted by Paige Hryszko | July 9, 2013, 7:05 am
  163. This talk was very interesting and it got me excited to be back in the classroom again to change things up and alter what I have studied for the past 5 years. In my teaching I always like to rework my delivery, techniques, and lessons. Education can constantly change if the schools and teachers are willing to change as well. For the longest time school have fell into a rut of mediocrity and been content with what has happened.

    By watching this I still had some questions about what was said. How do we stop the professionals from medicating students? How do we organize students, if not by age?
    How *do* we organize students, if not by age? How do we allow students to come up with divergent answers when, teachers are responsible for 100 plus students? How do we balance this need conform to standards, so students can succeed in the current educational system, while fostering more divergent and creative thinking?

    My job as a teacher is that I have to make the learning creative, I have to make my students not only understand the material, but I want them to want to learn more or even just question what they are learning. They need to think outside of the box, question why and think about how they can use the information they learn and apply it to their lives. I remember times in my classes when my teachers would start talking, and questions would pop up in my head, however, I never asked those questions because I had been programed to understand that it would interfere with the class, and I would get in trouble. I have graded tests where all the students have put down is right from the book and no analytical information what so ever. I want to have a completely different kind of classroom; I want my students to feel comfortable in their curiosity and creativity. I want them to think about what is said in class and actually think about it without asking what the answer is. This type of environment will help their learning and divergent thinking.

    Posted by Cassie Caccavo | July 9, 2013, 8:12 am
  164. 5 Thoughts
    1. Distraction. So I was totally that student who doodled and looked around during lecture. I mean, come on, it was 75 minutes of someone talking at you, no group work, no input of students. I feel that as educators we need to be conscious of time and realize that learning should be an active practice.

    2. ART!!!!! I agreed that the arts are crucial in a student’s development. This is their chance to express new ideas and ultimately grow as an individual.

    3. Ze Factory Model. When the camera panned over this drawing I couldn’t help but think, ” Yup. That was my school.” I find it kind of disheartening that our educational system still adopts a time efficient machine model. This section of the video made me remember a colleague who wrote a paper comparing the school system to the prison system. It was fascinating how no one in the class was surprised. In the end it’s just sad.

    4. School -> College -> Job? I thought it was interesting that Robinson made the statement that kids today don’t necessarily agree that one should go to college to get a job. Growing up, college was always the route I was prompted to take, I didn’t really think it was an option not to go. I think that students do have right to be skeptic about college. Just because you have a college education doesn’t guarantee anything right now. We must prepare our students not only to get to and through college ( how KIPPy of me) , but have the skills to succeed in life.

    5. Props to the Illustrator. Okay I know this observation may not seem as thought provoking, but hear (read?) me out. The information expressed in this video made more of an impact due to the visual aids provided. The video kept my attention and moved at a great pace. It was never boring. I feel that teaching should be like this. No, I am not going to illustrate every lesson, BUT I think it is a great idea to have motion and visual cues to keep intrigue alive.

    Posted by Jessica Treviño | July 9, 2013, 9:52 am
  165. One of the points that I strongly identified with from Ken Robinson’s talk was his criticism that many public schools don’t encourage students to think creatively or to find more than one answer. When I was in high school, I remember feeling frustrated because my teachers were more interested in every student being able to regurgitate the correct information or the correct answer than they were in how we viewed that concept on an individual basis. In college, on the other hand, I was asked to not only illustrate my understanding of a concept but also to make connections between various concepts we had previously discussed or to give my thoughts on how they played out in the real world. I think that the same style should be employed in high school. Although some students may resist this method initially because it may not be as easy as a multiple choice test, I think that in time they would prefer it because it would demonstrate that their perspective is important. Encouraging students to think creatively will also promote acceptance of students’ individual learning styles.

    Something that he brought up several times was the stagnation that has come to characterize the public school system. Although it is clear that changes do need to be made to schools, it is also important to incorporate innovation in teachers’ individual classes. I know that this will probably be my biggest challenge as a teacher, but I think it is very important to maintain an open mind every day when I’m in front of the class. I will make it a priority to pay special attention to what I am teaching and how I am teaching it so that I will not persist in a style or activity that is not conducive to students’ learning. I think that it is very important for teachers to be constantly monitoring the classroom and evaluating themselves as well as their students.

    Posted by Gabriela Sposito | July 9, 2013, 10:47 am
  166. I was never one to get distracted in class, but I think that was due more to the fear of getting in trouble than actually being interested in the class. Now, if you were to have little me back in the classroom but add all the new SMALL technology we have today, and I’m not so sure that fear of getting in trouble would have kept me focused. I enfasized small because now everything is portable. Before, kids were distracted by television at home or computer and video games. Now they bring that distraction with them everywhere they go. So if your lesson is not engaging the kids, they will zone out to the distraction that easily catches their attention. Students aren’t supposed to use their phones in the class, but it’s still there tempting them.

    I understand that the job market is tough especially in other parts of the country. However, I believe we need to get the kids, and the parents as well, to understand that college is important for their future. Many times low income families would rather the kids have a job so they can help with expenses rather than go to school. We need everyone in the family to understand that, yes you are making some money and that may seem like a better idea than going to school (especially one that costs thousands of dollars), but even though having a college degree does not guarantee you a job it does open up the possibilites for higher paying jobs that you couldn’t get without a degree.

    There are always kids who learn at a faster pace than others. Currently we do have Pre-AP/AP classes in schools, but sometimes that still doesn’t serve the needs of the kids. Yes these kids are advanced, but within these advanced kids are kids who are even more advanced. They finish work quickly, understand everything, are ready to move on but we tell them they have to wait until the rest of the class finishes. It is unfortunate that we do not have the man (or woman) power to have students on individualized curriculums. We could have them team up on some projects, maybe some real world experiences, and then go back to their classes depending on what level they are. It sounds like the system we have in place right now, but this way younger and older kids would get to interact, not just the kids in the same grade level.

    I think another important thing we need to work on is realting the class to the real world. Most of the time kids feel that they will never use any of this information when they grow up, so why bother learning it? Especially upper level mathematics. My job as a math teacher will not only be to teach them what they need to learn to pass their tests, but also teach them that math is in everything we see, from the petals on a flower to the pyramids to the designs in our currency.

    Which brings me to my next point. The arts. We need the kids to know that just because they are good at one subject doesn’t mean they can’t do another. For example, I am a nerdy math person. I love math, numbers, logic, statistics. That does not mean I don’t appreciate other things like science, history, art, and music. Like I said, math is in everything. It helps explain why a population might die out or why a particular war tactic helped a country win a battle. Math can also explain why paintings and sculptures are aesthetically pleasing.

    Posted by Geraldine Bravo | July 9, 2013, 11:48 am
  167. I had to watch the video twice to let the (very impressive) pictures sync up with the lecture, but I really enjoyed this talk. As a non-education major diving into this head first, Ive never deeply thought of how the education system has stayed so stagnant in the past, but taking my knowledge and experiences as a substitute teacher for high schools, it is so true! I’ve know there were problems, never went the extra mile(s) to figure out the main root of the problem (if there even is a “main root”), but it all makes perfect sense right from the start: you can’t expect something that was beyond successful 200yrs ago, is completely different economical and social times to be equally successful in this technology-driven, high-stimulating era. I had a “why have I bever thought of that?’ moment. It should definitely be a mandatory video for ALL educators to see. I can still remember some of my old teachers that simply went through the motions….they need to see this short clip stat!

    Another aspect that really hit home with me was the idea of, “Well, street working children that do not come from great financial backgrounds have no business in schools. They won’t benefit from this at all.” I’ve always said to myself, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, how you grow up, who you grow up around, etc, you’ve got a perfectly capable and functioning brain equal to a “privledged child’s” brain, you too can be successful. Mind you, everyone works at their own pace and in their own creative ways, but success is possible, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

    With the above paragraph said, I think that teachers needs to start holding themselves accountable and going that extra mile to help the students that may not always understand a concept or law or lesson right away. He mentions some students like working in pairs, some in groups and some alone…observe your students, take notes on individual learning patterns of students and help figure out a successful learning style for those that need that tiny extra push to get through the lesson of the day. Students are not factory products like car parts and frozen waffles, they are all different, which can make a classroom enviornment exciting, vibrant, culturally sound, cooperative, understanding, caring, etc. I really do believe that if we spent more time studying, observing, and understanding how each student processes info there would be a chain reaction of educational success.

    Posted by Amy Machemehl | July 9, 2013, 12:07 pm
  168. 5 thoughts

    1. The idea of penalizing students for getting distracted. We live in an age of instant gratification and immediate access to information. Students are accustomed to having entire catalogs of movies, music, and video games compiled into one small computer in their hand! Rather than discouraging them from getting distracted by all this information, I think it’s important and necessary to utilize the tools they are familiar with, in order to stimulate their minds with information about our teaching subject areas.

    2. The industrial model of education (and the drawing that went along with it) definitely felt familiar to me in my educational experience. I’ve never really thought about the idea of categorizing children by their ages, though. It would be an interesting experience to see what would happen if we paired students not by age, but by their capabilities and understandings instead!

    3. Standardization… I hate it! Just the idea of “teaching the test” is enough to bore me and I’m sure the students as well! I just came from a district where we were slowly moving more and more towards teaching to the STAAR test. I felt so stressed and pressured to make sure my students had their learning geared towards test taking skills. I know my students felt more pressure to meet the state standard, too, especially those who the school deemed more likely to fail the test. Working with those students after school became a chore for me and a bore for them, as all the administration wanted us to do was practice STAAR-based test problems.

    4. I like what Ken said about the arts and about the idea of living captivated in the moment. I feel like that’s been forgotten a lot lately. We barely encourage students to express themselves through their thoughts and writing anymore. Instead, I guess things are geared more towards fitting the formulated writing style and meeting the necessary criteria.

    5. How do we keep students encouraged to get a college degree? How do we show them the importance of having higher educational standards? It’s true that a degree no longer guarantees that someone has a job. Just the thought of allowing students to keep their individuality while addressing their educational needs is something that I know I still need to work on. I’m excited to be a part of that proces!

    Posted by Ren Kiser | July 9, 2013, 12:29 pm

    The aesthetic aspect of the video was appealing. For such a heavy topic, I think that he did a good job of presenting the material in a way that was captivating and stimulating for his audience.
    However, it was a bit fast so, I would recommend viewing it at least twice to receive the substance of the message. I liked how Robinson compared schools to factories. It made his display and theory easy to understand. Education has definitely become more and more industrialized.
    I also found it interesting how he explained the hierarchy in education such as students on a vocational track compared to a rigorous academic track and how that affects students in the long run. It is important to keep these things in mind when teaching them. I thought Robinson did an excellent job of conveying such sensitive material.

    Posted by Prestal M. | July 9, 2013, 1:18 pm
  170. After watching this video one word came to my mind and it is mindset. It is overwhelming to think that many people today have the same mindset that children from low-income backgrounds are not capable of succeeding in school just like people did hundreds of years ago. In order to reform public education we need to look within our system and say what can we do to make learning individualized for everyone. By doing so we can also eliminate many of the challenges that we face inside the classroom with children with ADHD. Once we believe that all children can learn we are also more motivated in coming up with way to individualize learning so that not only 50% or 80% of our children are learning but rather every single one of them.

    Posted by Christina Li | July 9, 2013, 2:19 pm
  171. I thought the message of that video was quite clear:

    There is no one mold that fits every student.

    Sire Ken Robinson was right. You can’t just take one factory mold and expect every child to conform to it. It’s never worked, not even back when nationwide schools were first implemented. Slowly but surely, every decade students have been falling out by the way side, and the ramifications of that system truly are evident in today’s society. Back then if a child didn’t “fit in” with the school or felt a different calling, he’d quit and go farm or work in the factories, and no one would really say anything about. However, these days, when a kid falls by the wayside they are always quick to diagnose them with some problem or find some excuse as to why the kid doesn’t fit into the factory mold, when it’s the factory mold itself that’s the problem. Standardized testing doesn’t work for every child and neither does any one quick short cut method.

    I feel it’s smart for schools to start opening up and offering other branches and avenues that children can take. Most schools crush that divergent thinking, and I think as effective teachers we need to open those minds of the students back up. Like Sir Ken Robinson said, LET’S WAKE THESE KIDS UP! That’s our number one job as educators while we reach through to these students. This was a great video and it will stick with me during this coming year! 🙂

    Posted by Matthew Gamble | July 9, 2013, 3:29 pm
  172. I really enjoyed watching this video and took away a lot of information I found it very interesting how education has evolved over the course of time and created based on the ideals of the the time period. but we are now using old models for a newer, more modern type of student. And to compensate for the student that can’t work in these old models, they get medicated. One thing I really liked was the collaboration is how people can grow the most. As I look toward teaching this fall, I want students collaborating with each other and being able to understand that all the subjects can relate to one another.

    Posted by Nicholas Woodruff | July 9, 2013, 3:37 pm
  173. Well, I thought I left a reply, but I can’t seem to find it. So I’m posting it again. Forgive me if I did post it and this is the second time it’s appearing.

    What a great talk! After doing a few observations – and discussing my experience with my fiancé – I found myself saying to him, “But that’s not how I learned it.” He is a YES Prep teacher and is imparting knowledge upon me as I journey down the path of my first year and he turned to me and said, “You have to forget everything you learned and how you learned it.” I think this is going to be a challenge for me, and I am looking forward to it. I want to do what is best for my students and I realize now that how I learned to do something is not important – how THEY learn is.
    I also found it incredibly interesting to think of the educational system as a factory/assembly line. I had never really looked at education in that way, but I can see it. I have observed in my time in school, students who are superstars in some classes and struggle in others. This makes me think of Einstein and what he says in relation to genius, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” It would be interesting to see a school set up according to students’ strengths. How would classes be divided? What would it look like?
    All of our students bring tremendous value to our classrooms. Yes – and the challenge is discovering the strengths of all of the students in the classroom and celebrating and leveraging these strengths in meaningful ways that challenge them to be their best selves. Everyone is different, and individualizing lessons, etc. to play to the strengths of each student can be a daunting task. This is one thing I find to be a bit formidable. However, I am up for the challenge because I want my students to be successful. Additionally, I believe that celebrating successes as often as possible is important, and it will push the students to strive beyond what they believe is possible.
    The three adjectives I would like my students to use in describing my classroom are: lively, engaging, and challenging. I will be teaching 7th grade math this coming year and I want my students to ENJOY it! I know math isn’t “where it’s at” for a lot of people, and that doesn’t mean that my students can’t have a great time while in my classroom and learning. I want my students to be engaged and excited. I think the more they are engaged in their own learning, the more they learn and grow.
    When it comes to the part of the talk on ADHD – I agree that it has become an epidemic in our country. In fact, I was just having this conversation. We are so over-stimulated nowadays that it is incredibly difficult to have a conversation anymore. There are constantly ads, sounds, apps, electronic devices and constant access to information and all of these things are competing for our attention – it’s a wonder we all haven’t been diagnosed with ADD! That being said – I think there are those that TRULY do have ADHD, I just think there needs to be a way to better assess whether it really is ADHD.
    Another label I feel can adversely affect a child’s education is “emotionally disturbed.” As we read in “Mindset Induction,” Collins taught students who had been judged and discarded. These were students who had acted out in their other classes, had a history of being violent and who hadn’t learned much in school. She approached these students with love and without judgment. By labeling a student as “emotionally disturbed” we are judging them. This judgment is setting up this pre-conceived notion that they can’t accomplish great things because of the label. Collins says to her students, “None of you has ever failed. School has failed you. Well, goodbye to failure, children. Welcome to success.” I think that labels are important and have their place – but we need to get better about how we go about labeling. What if most of the students labeled as “emotionally disturbed” aren’t really, they’ve just never been presented with an environment conducive to their learning?

    Posted by Jenn Davis | July 9, 2013, 3:41 pm
  174. Very interesting video! This video was very thought-provoking and very informative. One of the main ideas I took away from the video is how our current education system is moving towards standardization and conformity, and moving AWAY from divergent thinking and individual differences. Our students are currently being hindered in the current education system by not being able to find their own individual learning style and interests. Instead of allowing students to collaborate with other students on topics that are of common interest, we group students together based on their age. However, we all know that chronological age can be very different from mental age. Similarly, we all have different interests. Another important topic presented in the video is the increasing amounts of ADHD prescriptions. The number of prescriptions for ADHD is positively correlated with the increase of standardized testing. Is this alarming to anyone else? I was shocked to hear about the correlation myself. Coincidentally, one of the effects of ADHD prescriptions is to calm children down by essentially shutting down their senses so that they can focus in school. However, instead of only calming children down, the prescriptions also deaden students to what is happening and inhibits their inner creativity. This is a must-see video for anyone in the education industry that has a passion for helping our students in the best way we can!

    Posted by Andranise Richardson | July 9, 2013, 3:47 pm
  175. There are several compelling arguments that this talk surfaced, and I am as of yet undecided as to how I feel about them, although I certainly feel that Mr. Robinson makes some critical observations as well as keen insights about issues surrounding our education system. I few points he made that I would like to discuss/debate more:

    I thought the statistics about divergent thinking in Kindergartners versus the 8-10 and 13-15 year olds were fascinating. The recent AT&T commercials with the tag-phrase “It’s Not Complicated” where the gentlemen interviews kindergartners about the virtues of speed, value, power, multi-tasking, etc., perfectly illustrate this fact. These youngsters have no problem forming imaginitve solutions to everyday problems like having a slow grandmother (“strap a cheetah to her back”) or what to do with some extra cash (“buy a change-o-machine so I can show my puppy-brother off at show-and-tell”). These commercials simply wouldn’t have the same appeal if it were 10, 15, or 20 year-olds being interviewed. The question I’m left with, and still haven’t answered is, “Do we know that there really is EQUAL value in emphasizing this divergent thinking and aesthetics in education?” Don’t get me wrong, there is obviously value in teaching and allowing expression of the aesthetics, but does that mean that we entirely rework the education system and draw away from the theoretical, analytical, mathematical approach (because in reality, I believe, there often IS only one correct answer)? Then again, maybe that’s simply because I’m still boxed into this industrial revolution and economic paradigm concerning education.

    A second thought, and one that I really appreciated about Sir Robinson’s talk, is the perhaps misplaced notion that students ought to be grouped by age, or package-date. I definitely see the value in exploring ways to group students by talent, aptitude, drive, interest, or strenghts instead. I think this type of restructuring has the potential to do a lot of good for our education system, and it is something that each of us can implement and explore on a micro-level within our own classrooms.

    Posted by Aaron King | July 9, 2013, 3:51 pm
  176. Because I just had a discussion about the books The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn and The Idea Factory by John Gertner, which discuss a) how paradigm shifts first necessitate shattering of established ideas, and b) how Bell Labs, which created the first telephone, then RADAR, then transistor, had a business organization that surpassed the autonomy found at Apple and Google, which allowed for creative discourse and group collaboration across disciplines and expertise, I appreciated the video for its attempt at shattering the established paradigm of viewing education and allowing space to invite divergent, if not creative, discourse. Sir Ken Robinson is pioneering his own view and theories of education by first studying the roots of establishment of the current paradigm for education and by axing away the roots.

    I particularly appreciated his emphasis on awakening children from within and cultivating their already-inherent genius while they are most alive, as opposed to anesthetizing them to stay still in the classroom. As with those of many visionaries, Sir Robinson’s ideas, such as those of enabling group work across age groups, are difficult to employ within the current system of division by age. In smaller samples, his ideas are enticing; and I recognize that such baby steps and attempts are what enable future changes at larger scales (Bell Labs also had dedicated entire divisions to “future growth,” however nebulous the term), and also why charter schools, often with less bureaucracy, hence more room for innovation, are at an advantage as well as forefront of change.

    Unlike in most businesses where assets are often physical, we in education deal with namely two assets: people and time (granted the latter is a shared input across industries). People comprise both teachers and students, each individual with different strengths and requirements. Ergo, a blanket approach does not work in education. Regardless of practicality of implementation at the current moment, finding different answers through divergent discussions, which at some point may converge (with hopes, for that’s what enables explosive change), is an important nota bene, especially when the tendency to lose sight of the big picture amid the quotidian lesson and classroom management is strong.

    Trial and error precede change and growth, and I appreciate that we teachers are engaging in both immediate and technical (via Lemov) and potential and theoretical (via Sir Robinson) discussions at Teaching Excellence.

    Posted by Jeannie Kim | July 9, 2013, 4:14 pm
  177. Although, as teachers, we have the most direct impact on individual students’ successes, this talk reminded me how insignificant individual teachers, even individual outstanding teachers, are in providing the systematic change necessary to improve public education in the US. This truth highlights the necessity for more schools like YES Prep who are making the first step towards a change in the way schools are run. It also emphasizes the value of programs like TE because teachers who are working in this failing and flawed system are faced with a huge challenge. And changing the system may take decades, affecting generations of students and future citizens. If I believe that teachers are the ones who can make a difference now and want to do everything we can to help save a student from the system, I need all the help I can get. So I thank TE for that. I want to be armed with strategies and techniques to carry out these strategies as I enter the school year. But, what TED said about the best ideas coming from groups, resonated with me. So, at induction, I want us to work together to constantly generate more ideas and ways of improving techniques so we can be best prepared for the first day of school.
    My 6-12 educational experience was at a small private liberal arts school where competition and judgment regarding “academic success” were fierce. Because I received praise whenever I did or said something deemed to be intellectual, my instinct is to respect this academic intelligence in students above everything else, especially when it seems natural or effortless. I have been inspired challenged to change my mindset to respect and admire growth and improvement in a student over their natural talents or abilities.

    Posted by Kathleen Hickey | July 9, 2013, 4:23 pm
  178. Sir Ken Robinson made many points about the state of the public education system now, but my biggest takeaway from the talk is: what is the purpose of education, more specifically a public education, and even more specifically, a public education at YES? Sir Robinson’s points about our current education system being designed around industrial and economic needs of society reminded me of the view that much of our current education system reproduces and reinforces inequalities in society. In other words, college and graduate degrees serve to reinforce the idea that some people earn their success through their hard work, while struggling members of society deserve their lot for not having excelled in school. In college, I completed an interdisciplinary major, and I see that opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary (non-traditional) work as an intentional effort on behalf of my university to allow students to pursue their own authentic and unique potentials. The things that make people come alive often do not conform to mainstream and traditional expectations and molds, so I intend to make my students come alive in ways that are authentic to themselves and no one else. Society, the economy, and education itself are constantly changing, and I would like my students to be prepared with the agency and capacity to use their maximum potential in relation to those changes.

    Posted by Fermín Mendoza | July 9, 2013, 4:44 pm
  179. As numerous commentators have already noted, the portion of the video dedicated to the “factory” system of education was particularly thought-provoking. As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (pt.2)” and the faceless children headed for the meat-grinder. Mercifully, I don’t think things are as dire as all that; still, the essential point of the dangers of an educational system based on control rather than creativity remains. The challenge to make school more engaging, to foster rather than discourage aesthetic or non-academic experience, is a tremendously uplifting- if daunting- possibility. Moreover, if the factory model influenced our current system, it also makes me wonder what other factors are almost invisibly built into our systems. I think, for example, of summer vacation- it’s historical connection to farm labor and the like. There may not be anything inherently wrong in maintaining such systems, but the video does a good job of reminding us the importance of analyzing things that the seem obvious on first glance.

    Posted by Matthew Richardson | July 9, 2013, 4:52 pm
    • “The video does a good job of reminding us the importance of analyzing things that the seem obvious on first glance” – A good, necessary, and oft-overlooked exercise, and from what I gather (at least from our team at Sharpstown), this is what we – fresh teachers – bring in 🙂

      Posted by Jeannie Kim | July 9, 2013, 4:58 pm
  180. I have watched this video multiple times throughout my educational career and each time I take away something different. I definitely agree with this blog about watching this video multiple times. Watching this the first time I was so intrigued trying to watch the drawings while also taking in every bit of information that I could, I missed important aspects. However, this video did kept me focused the entire 11 minutes and I the whole time I thought to myself, “I have never thought about education in this way”. After I watched this video it was like the light bulb had finally been switched, but I did have questions.

    I began asking myself how can we improve our education system? I agree 100% that the world around us is growing and enhancing so quickly that we need to use a more updated version of our instructional strategies. Like the video mentions we are using the same education setup as our forefathers and its not working anymore. We as educators need to challenge our students into becoming the future and not professional standardized test takers.

    My biggest takeaway from this video is about Divergent Thinking. I was introduced to this video during a psychology class and we were covering information on students being divergent thinkers in the classroom. This was the first time I had ever heard this term and I was immediately interested in this. I wanted to be the teacher to challenge my students to think this way. My professor then told us the barometer story, which I have posted the link below, to give us a good laugh. I wanted to share it!

    Posted by Taylor Jett | July 9, 2013, 7:27 pm
  181. First of all, wow! TED talks are always so interesting, especially with awesome cartoons like these accompanying the videos! The visuals in general help a lot I think.

    Okay, so some of the things I learned.

    -Great learning happens in groups- discussed at the end of the video. As teachers, we always try to get the students to collaborate so this was just one of those redundant things which is so important for us as teachers. It works, and that’s why all of us were trained together and are still training together for school. More people, more ideas, different approaches, better the results.

    -We need to change the way we think about education- some students at the same age excel at different subjects, are more active at certain time, or they work better in groups vs. by themselves. As adults, some of us are organized and some of us aren’t, some of us are morning people and some aren’t and some of us work better under pressure while others don’t. It’s the SAME idea! How can we put so many students in the same curriculum and expect them to excel equally? Makes no sense to me! I mean, as teachers, it’s our job to help make sure the students don’t fall between the cracks but still. It’s the wrong mentality, and I’m glad things are changing slowly.

    – We should be waking up the students to bring what they have inside of them! – All the students have it in them and we know it. That one thing that the kids are passionate about or excel at. I can’t comment on the drug issue but maybe there’s a way to use that to the advantage and not kill the senses.

    – Aesthetic experience- FULLY ALIVE! It’s true that we would rather be watching some action movie rather than learning about quadrilaterals, but is there not a way to combine both? As teachers, we need to create this aesthetic experience in the classroom for the students so they don’t have time to get distracted or bored. So that they be ‘in the moment’ while at task.

    – Divergent thinking- I think we should get our students to think like this. We try to tie in the curriculum to real world application and since there are so many problems, we should have a lot of responses or solutions to these problems. I think our students are our best bet. It’s not something that can be taught, but it can be used to get the students to think outside the box.

    Overall, great video! Lots to learn and lots to change before things get better.

    Posted by Shailee Thakkar | July 9, 2013, 7:46 pm
  182. The first point of the video that stood out to me was that fact that although the world around us is changing our educational system has failed to follow suit. The same strategies, techniques and concept of thought regarding education that reached students years ago is still being applied today but lacking the same “umph” and effectiveness. As teachers and educators we must maintain an open mind and allow education out of the box in which we have enclosed it. We must be willing to be innovative and creative, doing something new and different to reach students. Another point that resonated with me was the idea of learning being an awakening within students, the “aesthetic learner”. To create lessons that not only encourage learning but that makes learning a new, fresh, and adventurous experience that captures and keeps the attention and excitement of a student is a hopeful challenge, where students can find fulfillment in learning and ultimately become self seekers of knowledge. To be able to speak such a challenge is one thing but to put it into action is another, and I am looking forward to equip myself to experience such joy!

    Posted by Dinah Tibbs | July 9, 2013, 7:59 pm
  183. Like many have already stated, the biggest problem with the education system is that we treat the students like empty containers in which we deposit information. There is none to little engagement from the students because the teacher solely leads the discussion and the students simply follow. The only contribution that the students make is when they are confused with the concept that the teacher has introduced so they ask a question. The ideal learning environment should be a dialogue, a conversation between teacher and students in which the teacher is a facilitator and the students lead the discussion.

    Posted by Audiel Espitia | July 9, 2013, 8:12 pm
  184. I think what this talk best illustrates is the uphill battle education has faced because of the rapidly changing world around us. The industrialized method in which education is formed worked at one point, but no longer can we track students to fit the roles society needs. The problem we face today as educators is trying to stay at the forefront of it all. With how quickly things change and evolve around us, how can we be one step ahead if we are constantly making decisions in response to these changes? I think this is the everyday struggle we face as educators with the goal to engage students and help them “come alive.”

    Posted by Jeff Bandel | July 9, 2013, 8:38 pm
  185. I really enjoyed watching Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk and was actually able to continue processing everything presented in the talk after watching it again during a TFA session and having to fill out a graphic organizer about my thoughts. As someone that majored in psychology for undergrad, the part that struck me the most from this TED Talk was the part about ADHD and how he mapped it out. What I consider the over-diagnosis of ADHD and ADD (especially among the younger grades) due in part to recommendations from those in the education system has been something that has always concerned me and I very glad to see it addressed in the talk.

    Posted by juliannaparra | July 9, 2013, 8:39 pm
  186. This was not the first talk I’ve listened to by Ken Robinson and it will certainly not be the last — he is always interesting, funny and thought-provoking.

    This talk — essentially pointing out that the modern student is no longer well served by our “traditional” education system — follows in the vein of many of his other talks. Like many other commenters above me, I found the factory comparison to be an apt and very interesting way of looking at our educational system. His point about us educating kids out of creative thinking (one of his favorite topics) especially hits home for me when combined with some of what he said about ADHD. While I have no doubt that ADHD is real (I’ve lived it), I’ve also seen far too many square pegs forced into round holes through overmedication — a process which decimates their creativity.

    For me, the biggest thing I took away from this was that the onus is on me to get my kids engaged. They’re conditioned by today’s media-drenched society to have a low tolerance for things that aren’t immediately and highly stimulating. It’s my job to take traditional teaching and make it as immersive and engaging as possible. If that can be accomplished, I will be much more effective.

    Posted by Liston P. | July 9, 2013, 8:43 pm
  187. I love how Sir Ken Robinson said we should wake students up to what they have inside. Some students, even adults, do not realize their potential and the amazing goals they can reach. Having at least one person who believes in you can totally change your perseption, no matter your age, I found it interesting to hear him talk about the beginning of public schools, how some people did not think certain students could learn to read and write. I think there are still people out there who judge young children based on circumstances they can not control and this is really very sad.

    Posted by Emily Harry | July 9, 2013, 8:46 pm
  188. This was absolutely a wonderful talk and really enlightened me to the power of teachers in the classroom regardless of subject topic. Specifically speaking, in Math, it forced me to think about ways to depart from the typical “I will teach, and then we will practice” method of teaching. But rather, to encourage students to discover the wonders of each of our objectives through their own creativity.

    On a different note, I think having a creative classroom and teachers that enrich student imagination is really what will make our students the next set of successful adults. I say this because innovation requires creativity and now, more than ever, innovation is a necessity of intellectual evolution.

    Posted by Akanksha Bajaj | July 9, 2013, 8:59 pm
  189. Sir Robinson’s talk was challenging because it forced me to admit that a lot of my views of education are still based upon the model that divides academic and non-academic learning which in practice translates to me stereotyping individuals as smart or not-so-smart. College was the first time I experienced cognitive dissonance as I began to interact with students that were gifted film makers and creative writers and were just as smart as the engineers who poured textbooks night after night. It didn’t make sense to me how these kids were adept at viewing the over world and capturing it for others to experience yet weren’t able to synthesize organic chemistry equations. I thought if you can’t do organic chemistry, then you are not smart. Yet Sir Robinson says that the first step towards changing the current education paradigm is to “get over the division of academic and non-academic subjects, abstract, and concrete.” Interestingly, this summer I read a book on first generation college students and how their parents prize academic achievement above non-academic achievement (or extracurricular activities). I can attest to this statement because even though my parents didn’t get too involved in my school work, I always viewed extracurricular activities as a college-application-check-list-item not so much a learning mechanism where I could collaborate with a team and learn just as much as I did in Calculus. Having finished college however, I now believe with Sir Robinson that there needn’t be a division of academic and non-academic subjects. And just because a person is unable to integrate a complicated equation doesn’t mean they are less smart than the person who can choreograph an amazing dance show.
    Furthermore, Sir Robinson’s point on the importance of divergent thinking as part of creativity really challenged me to teach my students to think divergently. I am still unsure of how to do this but I hope that this year I am able to glean tips from coaches and veteran teachers to ensure that my students grow their ability to think not merely work out math problems.
    Another prescriptive that Sir Robinson advocates is the power and benefit of group learning or collaborative environments. This I believe is what Yes Prep is all about not only at the student level but at the teacher and administrative levels as well; it all just trickles down. “Most great learning happens in groups.”

    Posted by Jelsi Cruz | July 9, 2013, 9:08 pm
  190. This video did a great job providing context of the way our current educational system is structured. This video sparked a fire under me to remember to always advocate for our students, and ultimately work towards teaching them how to advocate for themselves. A key concept from the video that will stick with me for a while is the image of school children on a factory type assembly line. Year after year the current education system that is in place fails our children. Even though we cannot singlehandedly fix all of our nations education system flaws, we can put our best foot forward everyday within our own classrooms and start transformation there. Another concept that blew me away were the statistics on how many children are medicated, mostly without need. I will be sure to keep this information in mind while teaching and be cautious of how I see this trend playing out in my own classroom.

    Posted by Ashley Westhaver | July 9, 2013, 9:08 pm
  191. This video was insightful and helpful in many different aspects. I loved how Robinson walks you through the history and the evolution of learning. His analysis of how children are being medicated and in a sense sedated to get through school rather than being stimulated and awakened was very interesting and challenging to me. I also enjoyed how he questions the way students are grouped together in learning environments, i.e. age. He raises the argument that students shouldnt all be treated the same just because they are the same age.

    Posted by chelsea jackson | July 9, 2013, 9:31 pm
  192. What Sir Ken Robinson brings to the table in this video is, to say the least, exciting. Each time I watch or listen to any of his talks, I am stuck and inspired by his belief that humans -old and young alike- have capacities beyond their understanding. I was struck by his view and presentation of our current educational system as an industrialized process. I think it is important to recognize that education is always evolving, and it is our job- as teachers and active participants- to ensure success for our students in relation to what goes on in our world and not what USED to be. As a member of the YES Prep family I am proud to be amongst a group of professionals seeking change in the face of “the most intensly stimulating period in the history of the earth”; and I believe we can do it if we remember that the brilliance of our students is there for the taking.

    Posted by Jose Montijo | July 9, 2013, 10:22 pm
  193. Ken Robinson had an interesting view concerning the time frame of structured education, and how it has not properly evolved with the economy. Throughout school, I attended school with a cousin who Robinson’s view applied to: he was ‘bad’ at traditional education and standardized testing, but he wasn’t ‘dumb.’ It was very difficult for him to separate the idea that he can be ‘bad at school’ but also be intelligent. The two ideas were mutually exclusive. ‘Intelligent’ and ‘good at school’ were synonymous. I very much appreciated the distinction between these two ideas that Robinson was able to pull out, and I enjoyed how his analysis of the study about current education creating linear thinking showed how standardized testing has jeopardized the ‘success’ of children in the current education format.

    Posted by Matthew Hopper | July 9, 2013, 10:48 pm
  194. I have watched this video a couple times in the past when studying education. This time, my perspective on education shifted. However, I do agree that students are like factory lines where they come out in batches. I see myself leaving high school with a batch of people that are about the same age as me although each one of us are at different levels of processing information, learning, achieving, and with different goals. People are not like batches of cookies, where they come out at the same time. Students should not only be grouped by their age but also by their abilities. Thus, some school programs do differentiate the students based on their levels of comprehension/grades/career etc. such as classifying them into honors classes.

    One thing that kept coming back is the use of treatment for students with ADHD. I agree that students are zombie-like and when prescribed with medications to shut off certain parts of their brain. I agree that we must seek out not only prescriptions, but also alternative treatments for ADHD. I believe ADHD became an ‘epidemic’ when experts started to look carefully at the symptoms and diagnosing more and more people.

    Posted by Daquynh Ngo | July 9, 2013, 10:55 pm
  195. The education system is antiquated and I want to ask others, “How do we expect our students to learn when this system was thought of hundreds of years ago?”

    The needs of the students in those times was different from the needs of the students today. As an adult in college, I had a hard time sitting in lectures silently. How can I expect my students to do that? I’m not setting them up for success. We all want success for our students but we need to be realistic about how we address the needs of our students and the communities that our students come from. Our schools and our roles as teachers are extremely influential and have a significant impact on our students lives, and personally I want my students to see through my teaching that they have the power to change their future and also come back and change the future of someone else in their community.

    Posted by Jordunn Joubert | July 9, 2013, 10:59 pm
  196. This really made me think about how cookie-cutter we are as a society. Specifically, this made me think about our idea of success and how the “best” and “brightest” are typically expected to obtain high-paying careers. If they do not then they are thought of as failures or as not exploiting their skills and gifts. This notion of what is the “right” way to teach is or what a “perfect” student looks like is as erroneous as our idea of of success. People have their own personalities, strengths, and gifts-each challenging to others in one way or another.

    Posted by Jasmine Gutierrez | July 9, 2013, 11:12 pm
  197. This video shows the evolution of the world and the effects of this changing world on education. Compared to years ago, I believe students today have specific things they need to learn and teachers have less of an opportunity to branch out and teach their own way or add to the curriculum something they think may be important to add to a child’s education. Technology is also playing a major role in the development of educational systems. Looking at the technology available to some teachers now, one would be surprised how much it changes their way of teaching. One example is the Smart Board. It’s become very popular and often used in classrooms. It makes teaching more hands on and active.

    Posted by Amber S. | July 9, 2013, 11:13 pm
  198. Parents want their children to “be quiet and watch T.V.!” The ADHD (real or not real?) and whether or not to medicate is not the focus of this post — we know that could go on forever.

    I have tried to instill in my students (and their parents) that it is okay — more than okay, but expected and HEALTHY for children to have energy, but that we need to use it properly (self control) rather than an excuse of why they cannot focus.

    How refreshing for Sir Ken to point out that The Arts awaken our hunger for learning while our answer to “focusing” is to stifle the thirst. It’s no wonder the system is failing our students.

    Posted by Ashley Lyon | July 9, 2013, 11:46 pm
  199. What Sir Ken Robinson said about awakening students to what they have inside is perfect, There is nothing wrong with being curious and having energy, and using these things as strengths rather than obstacles in learning will allow our students to realize a greater potential.

    Posted by Meghan Williams | July 10, 2013, 12:05 am
  200. The animations that accompanied this talk really helped me to hone in and concentrate on the topics under discussion, without them my mind would have wandered and I wouldn’t have retained as much as I did from my initial viewing. This, along with the focus on aesthetics in the classroom, made me think about how I might enhance material I deliver in the classroom to make it more digestible and memorable.

    I found this talk striking and dense with material to ponder over. Perhaps what most grabbed my attention was the point on how our educational system was designed for another era. This was worrying to me, especially as my mind automatically reverts to how I was taught as a ground basis for what the classroom should be like. Since my divergent intelligence abilities have likely tapered off over the years, in line with what the dominant trend featured in the talk, I hope I have preserved enough ability to think out of the box to imagine and create a more progressive learning environment with my students.

    Posted by Josephine Engels | July 10, 2013, 12:10 am
  201. The so-called “aesthetic experiences” that Ken mentions have worked really well in my classroom with many types of learning styles. Instead of taking notes from an uncomfortable desk, I try to get kids to use their imagination, especially by getting up and walking around. I have also used several examples from the arts, the real world, and their everyday lives to get the kids interested in a topic. I believe this can help with divergent thinking because you can take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to a variety of situations.

    If my students were to describe my classroom in three words, I hope they would say open, engaging, and memorable. Similar to what I believe Ken was suggesting, it’s not about the information necessarily, it is how students end up using it.

    I came away from the video embracing the fact that all of my students are completely different in a variety of ways. I am curious as to how I can use those differences as an asset in my classroom.

    Posted by Suzanna Hill | July 10, 2013, 12:59 am
  202. Public education for the CURRENT public is what resonated with me the most. Our “current” education system is completely outdated and geared to a different audience that it’s no wonder why our students are having a hard time focusing and making connections. It is almost a backward thinking to encourage our students to innovative members of the global village yet, they are mostly provided with a restricted, tunneled vision, of an education sometimes. Students these days have access to the entire world through technology, social media, etc., but in the classroom all public education can provide is a 2 page or a one paragraph summary of an event? We shouldn’t limit students on what they are capable of learning.

    This video was amazing to me. I love the graphics and the creativity of the video because it absolutely keeps you engaged. Also, the way that Sir Ken Robinson’s addressed the issues with our current public education problems is the how everyone should be approaching it – understanding that it is a very complex system and that there are more than one factor involved. I feel that some people are quick to point to a single problem and forget how many different components are involved with educating our students.

    Posted by Hong Tran | July 10, 2013, 3:04 am
  203. While several aspects of Ser Ken Robinson’s talk were both intriguing and enlightening, I think the most impactful facet of the talk was when he correlated the education system to the mechanized factory. It had never occurred to me that the predominant defining factor of how a student is grouped is by his or her age. Why do we do this? Why don’t we categorize students into buckets based on achievement levels? It seems as if the current (but woefully arachic) educational system is a one size fits all system, that does not allow room for differentiated skill levels – which only further ingrains the inadequacy of the system. As some have said before, “if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend it whole life thinking it is stupid.”

    Posted by Sean Phoebus | July 10, 2013, 5:19 am
  204. While the brief portion that focuses on ADHD is not the main point of Sir Ken’s talk, I feel the need to address it nonetheless. In today’s society, we feel that there is an easy fix to any “minor” or “major” problem we experience. We obsess about having our children function the way we imagine them performing the tasks we ask of them. If these goals are not met, then the first option is usually medication. Even though there are several children that do persevere despite certain difficulties, sometimes mislabeling of conditions provides children a way of not living up to their full potential. Sometimes simple changes in the child’s diet and physical activity are all that is needed to dramatically improve how they function.
    Nonetheless, all students should feel encouraged and challenged on a daily basis. It is our responsibility as teachers to help these children live up to their full potential and use the the skills and knowledge they have and develop to become our leaders of tomorrow. We can do this!

    Posted by Marleigh Thomas | July 10, 2013, 6:23 am
  205. Watching Sir Ken Robinson’s video was a great reminder about the reason why education is the way it is right now. I loved listening to Sir Ken talk about the history of education, how it all started and to whom it was designed for. I had never really stopped to think about why some students are not interested in education anymore and listening to Sir Ken Robinson explain that education was designed for people from a different time period served as a good reminder. Also, I completely agree with the idea that most great learning happens in groups. We are constantly learning from one another and we learn things that we would not be able to learn by ourselves. This year one of my goals is to allow students to work in groups at least twice a week so they can learn from each other and realize that they are all at YES for the same reason and that they can motivate each other to collaborate and learn. That way, my students know that there are many people who care about them and support them to be the best they can be.

    Posted by Marcela Rodriguez | July 10, 2013, 7:18 am
  206. I was extremely impressed by the factory system of education from Ken Robinson’s talk. As a student who majored in art but does not currently work as an artist, I have felt the rigidity and conformity of education upon growing up. The idea that one size fits all is still commonplace in our educational system is very troubling. As Ken stated, as we grow older the presence of those with genius divergent thinking levels wanes considerably once they have been “educated”. Personally I have seen myself frustrated with this very notion as you are taught one specific way to do something, are pushed to conformity and boxes are often drawn around you. The creative side within me often fights back those very notions. However, I can also say that I know educational reform is taking place. I have been exposed to new forms of teaching, aesthetic learning, and have understood the power of differentiation within the classroom.

    Posted by Keira Sanchez | July 10, 2013, 8:30 am
  207. This video was extremely powerful in both its delivery and its messages. There were a lot of things that stuck out to me, but in particular, the lack of an evolving education system. It is obvious that each year our world changes dramatically, however, the education system has not changed since over 200 years ago. This system was created during a completely different time period in comparison to what we live in today. The world was extremely different even 12 years ago when I was a 3rd grader, however, the structure of most 3rd grade classes are the same. The question that I then ask myself is: how can I adapt my classroom to the constantly evolving society that we live in?

    Posted by Makhala Greene | July 10, 2013, 7:56 pm
  208. I was also extremely impressed with this talk. It wasn’t a revelation to me that the modern education system reflects a centuries model based on industrialization and factory style processes. However, this talk didn’t just call out the negatives of this antiquated model. Rather, it proposed new concepts for conceiving of education. I never considered all the different ways that students could be grouped practically along different lines of comparison, e.g. subject strengths, learning styles, most productive time of day. I also hadn’t really thought about how evaluating everyone individually and making most work individual separates us from a natural tendency to collaborate. I liked the animation of Sir Ken trapped in the glass, outside his natural “habitat” as a collaborator. I respond to this video with ambivalence, as I – and all of us – are entering the field of education at this stage as foot soldiers. None of us is going to make foundational systemic changes to how things are done as we simultaneously learn to plan multiple content lessons for the same day, master a school’s electronic records system and coach a softball team. However, I do recognize we have a unique opportunity to carry the mindset and awareness of “truer” and more representative models of human learning into the traditional classrooms where we’ll be placed. I look forward to the opportunity to squeeze as much divergent thinking from my students’ and my own brain as possible, and to push the boundaries of what and how learning takes place in the classroom.

    Posted by Drew Long | July 10, 2013, 8:36 pm
  209. I found Sir Ken Robinson’s discussion quite interesting. A large amount of the talks about education reform focus on teacher quality, funding, curriculum improvement, etc., and I believe all of these things are important in their own right. Robinson’s talk reminded me however, that in a time when kids are being exposed to so many new and amazing types of technology and other media, I cannot simply just hand my students worksheets and lecture to them (even though it worked for me) expecting them to be engaged in learning. I have been challenged by this talk to find creative, aesthetic learning experiences for my students which will have my students engaged and excited about what they’re learning.

    Posted by Shamyra Henderson | July 10, 2013, 8:49 pm
  210. It is ignornat to assume a system that was designed for the times two hundred years ago is still relevent today. Our world is drastically different. If a business were to run with the same policies from two hundred years ago how long do you thing they would be profitable? How about evenif they used policies from twenty years ago. We must be able to adapt. With that being said, not all practices are bad. There is no need to completly reinvent the wheel just to have the impression that we are doing something. I think it would be wise of us to spend time considering where changes are needed and what needs to be kept.

    Posted by Taylor Pratt | July 10, 2013, 9:14 pm
  211. I’ve have felt that the diagnostic of ADHD has been inaccurate in many cases. I’ve heard many people say, “There must be something in the food because we are having more and more cases of ADHD in our children” when in all actuality children are just hyper, children are just bored, children can learn, but learning should be fun. Whoever thought that school is for learning and fun is for after school was misdiagnosed as well. School can be fun, school can be enjoyable and we have to make a conscious effort to engage our kids in content so that we don’t have to fight a battle of attention deficiency.

    What this TED talk also made me realized is that I am an educator that has no idea how to properly asses or even note if a child could possibly have ADHD. This is something that concerns me because I could have grading issues because of this and it could affect my ability to build positive relationships with my students.

    I really appreciate this TED talk addressing the issue of eliciting the arts and the inner student. I am so excited about being able to work at KIPP because I know I will be given the opportunity to provide a haven for my students to express themselves through the arts.

    i also appreciate the spotlight on the change in times and us taking ownership for what is the present state of education.

    Posted by Gerthy | July 10, 2013, 9:28 pm
    • I honestly think this is really useful information given. Some of the information given I knew already and the other I found to be very informational. I find the ADHD to be a very popular case that for some reason it has been expanding in the United States. I totally agree with this talk, I dont really see how they diagnosed kids with ADHD. My friend was kinda upset when her five year old son got diagnosed with ADHD without any testing. She said that she just told them how her son had been behaving since he started school and that he wanst passing the grade and they said yup he has ADHD. She asked the doctor aren’t you going to test him and he said its not neccessary. So that to me was very sad.

      Posted by Dayana | July 11, 2013, 5:38 pm
  212. I found the Sir Ken Robinson talk to be incredibly powerful on many levels. First, our education system is too standardized to benefit the majority of students, and I was really intrigued by how he compared it to a factory setting. A lot of schools focus work just like that – focusing to meet a quota, pass rate, etc. Another great point was how stimulated the children are on a daily basis in our current social environment. I’ve heard them referred to as the “head-downer” generation, because they are always looking down, either at a phone, tablet, or other electronic device. I do think one of the top challenges as a teacher is to compete with the over-stimulation that is occurring all around the students. How do you make your class different and intriguing to keep their attention? I believe that if more focus is put on the development of the child, like Sir Ken stressed in his talk, and on keeping divergent thinking alive, the classroom setting could change drastically.

    Posted by Anna Tarka | July 11, 2013, 7:55 pm
  213. This is the second time I’ve been shown this video as the previous ACP that I was enrolled in showed it too. Now, as before, I was struck with many thoughts on the current educational system and the need for reform.

    My favorite learning experiences were in college and I believe this is because it allowed me the freedom of studying my interests, structuring my day, divergent thinking and above all collaboration. I was able to succeed in high school because I was able to “play the academic game” but I saw many smart students who struggled to keep up with the academic standards placed on them. It’s unfortunate that we can’t offer all of the same freedoms to our primary and secondary educational institutions than we do in college, but we can still begin to adapt to the individual.

    I believe this is the great challenge facing teachers today. Since the school system is still the same skeleton that it has been for the last 200 years, the teachers face an extraordinary task in trying to cater to the needs of students. As a new teacher, it’s a bit scary to think of the responsibility we have to the students in our classroom. However, this video gives me hope because the school system is aware of the need to update and change. This is an exciting time to be in education, indeed.

    Posted by Dana Caldera | July 14, 2013, 11:36 am
  214. First of all I loved his dicussion on the issue of ADHD. I think that many times educators try to find a fault to why thier students can’t perform at a certain standard. Secondly, I agree that sometimes it is much easier to lower standards, and by doing that we are limiting studetns to their true potential. Which I liked the drawing/ animation that was used for showing how their is another self inside the students. Which leads me to my third thought, it made me refelect that as an educator one of my goals is to help the studetns reach out inside and realize that there is so much more than they can do, they just didn’t realize it. What I was able to take from Sir Ken Robinson video, and that is surprising, is that even though we live ina very modern world with high technological gadgets, the education system still falls under a mindset that doesn’t allow for flexibility to push the teachers to set high expectations for their studetns. They fall under that mindset that if a student can’t perform in a certain standard then they’re never going to be able to do it and that is end of it. There is no trying, no investing time on what other routes there are to help the students reach their potential. My fifth and final thought, and something that resonated with me was that Sir Ken Robinson pointed out that “if you are interested in the model of edcuation, you don’t start from production line mentality.” What this means to me is that education is not a manufacturing factory where studetns are sent, but it is a place of learning and self-discovery, where they are able to show the creativity they hold withing. Education is not something that is structured, but is is something that is imporved on. Your students are not robots that go through an assebmly line to adjust their buttons, but they are beings of creativity that are in your classroom to awaken the part of themselves that they thought they didn’t have.

    Posted by Claudia Arana | July 14, 2013, 1:25 pm
  215. What struck me most during the video was that our best learning occurs in groups, not as individuals. I was always an independent learner that wanted to only learn on my own and I see those students in my classrooms right now. But there are other students who need to hear the ideas of their peers, described in their own language and not mine, before it really clicks in their brains. However, I have difficulty in getting my students that get it on their own to contribute to a group setting and explaining that their peers also will provide challenges to what they think and help them grow. I understand their unwillingness because I was one of those students and in college, it was so difficult for me to collaborate in groups. I would do the whole project and have such trust issues in delegation. But I am trying to tell my students that working in groups later in life is a reality and that any job you go into, you will have to collaborate.

    Posted by Allie | July 14, 2013, 2:51 pm
  216. My first take-away from this video is how incredible learning can be when it is presented in a captivating way. I really appreciate the details of the lecture that the animation brought to life. My second take-aways are how much I truely desire to wake up my students and make them come alive in the classroom. I want my students to be engaged and all of there senses fully activated through the lessons. Right now I’m not sure how to make that happen but I am hopeful that by the first day of school I will have some idea as to how to make U.S. History alive and actively captivating my student’s attention.

    Posted by Ashley Hill | July 15, 2013, 6:35 pm
  217. While this is not the first time I have seen Sir Ken Robinson’s video, the message never fails to resonate each time. I think a lot of the trouble that comes with school reform is that we treat students as a massive cohort of which we want to maximize results in terms of big numbers. Unfortunately, we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that the way there is probably different for each student, and that not all of them will thrive academically. However, if they can recognize that they have to apply themselves at something in order to live a fulfilling life, society will improve. This can be instilled at a micro level through transformative relationships with individual teachers and students. It makes me think of a quotation by Kurt Vonnegut, “If you can do a half-assed job at anything, you are a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.”

    Posted by Adam Franklin | July 15, 2013, 8:38 pm
  218. The fact that Ken made mention of the compartmentalization of “the smart” and “the non-smart” – i know a ton of our students feel as though they’re a part of the “non-smart” crowd. Being in the position to empower our students, and to transform their beliefs in the classroom setting drives my desire to impact my students that much more. They will be a part of a global transformation, and it all starts in the classroom – building up their esteem to believe that they are far capable of what they believe they can accomplish. Education reform is still struggling to catch up with where our students our now – and it is our moral duty to ensure that they do not have the mindset that a college degree is “ok” to have, as Ken Robinson stated, but is necessary to compete in the global market, to attain every endeavor they set before themselves.

    Posted by Jasmine Umenyi | July 16, 2013, 9:10 am
  219. There were many things that I found impactful in Sir Ken’s talk. First, it really impacted me when he said that we are teaching for the future with a mindset on the past. We are so stuck in the ways that have been that we are not open to the ways that could be. We are looking to teach our children the ways to make the future a better place for all but we have not even adapted our teaching methods to the way of today. We are hindering and disabling our students before they even have a chance to face that future. In other words, our students will enter their future endeavors being handicapped and not fully capacitated to be successful. The other thing that I found impactful was that we are also using this one method to make students culturally aware. However, it is not being successful. Our students are lacking in the capacities to create this idea of globalization because of this hindrance created in the lack of cultural awareness.
    The last thing that I completely agree with is the idea that there is an ADD or ADHD epidemic. Being in the classroom I have seen where parents relay on this idea that there child is ADD or ADHD and use it as a clutch. What I mean is that I have seen instances where instead of teaching a child to overcome by using different methods of learning, they have told them with words and actions that it is ok to not comprehend because you have ADD/ADHD and that makes you exempt. I agree with the fact that ADD/ADHD do exist and in some cases be genuine. However, I believe that children should be taught to be advocates for themselves, learning that ADD/ADHD is not an excuse to be held back but a reason to be propelled forward with determination.

    Posted by Lily M | July 16, 2013, 9:55 am
  220. This is an interesting point. I have always made good grades but my focus in school was not always the best.. especially in boring Education class in college. I was in a behavior management class in college and I wasnt paying attention and my professor pulled me aside. I was expected her to correct my behavior but instead she asked if I was a divergent thinker (she got this assumption by the conduct and class presentations). I had no idea what she meant and she and I discussed what that learning/thinking style was actually about. Since she alerted me to what Divergent thinking was several years ago I have had several students who I have found to be divergent. They were considered trouble makers by most teachers, and yes, they got on my nerves from time to time as well, but I was able to challenge them to think in Divergent ways. Believe it or not, they were less of a handful in my class and whatever they presented in class was amazing.
    I wish I and other teachers knew ways to truly capitalize on this type of learning style.

    Posted by Thomas Monroe | July 16, 2013, 6:34 pm
  221. One thing that hit home for me is his emphasis on the learning differences of everyone. Everyone should not be taught the same because not everyone learns the same, and that is a fact. Students lead to learn responsibility in a classroom setting as well as teachers should learn how to control a classroom so that instructional time is more effective and that there is more instruction time. For so long, kids are taught like robots, to “do this and do that” but with no vale and no understanding and eventually children lose interest in education as a whole. Do not teach hat kids should know from the past but what they need to know now and for the future to set them up for success instead of for failure because things change.

    Posted by Joy Garrett | July 17, 2013, 5:45 pm
  222. I watched this video at one of my CS sessions, and I thought it was quite interesting. The thing that stood out to me was the evolution of the education system and how it came to be. I’ve never thought about how the education system came to be. Everything was created for a specific reason, and it seems that those reasons were relevant a long time ago. Systems and Institutions that were created in past and still function today should be reinvented all the time because our world changes all the time.

    Posted by Robyn | July 19, 2013, 6:14 pm
  223. I found it interesting that 98% of students in kindergarten were capable of divergent thinking at a genius level. Unfortunately the longer that our students are being “educated”, the lower their capacity of divergent thinking becomes. Rather than focusing on ensuring that our educational system is flexible and adaptable to our children in this new age, we spend our time teaching our kids that they need to be flexible and adaptable to our system. I find this concept a bit difficult to come to terms with because I strongly believe that as teachers we need to introduce and emphasize the significance of a college education. However, the purpose of school is not necessarily for our students to earn a college degree. The purpose of school is to be “awakened” to our talents and capabilities. This year, I will do my best to balance my responsibilities of “waking my students up” with the need to ensure that they are mastering the content.

    Posted by Vida Pascual | July 20, 2013, 11:20 am
  224. An idea that really stood out in my mind is the fact that our current model for education has not changed since around the Industrial Revolution. Were you to look around at how the rest of the world has progressed in every field and arena, every one has grown as the world has grown. But why not education? Why has education remained the same when the rest of the world is changing? The part of the speech that also stuck with me was the factory-type systems that produces our students. Bells, content & age grouping and standardized expectations that every product has to meet to make it out of the factory. I like the idea of not stifling the creativity of our students and awakening their senses and passions to find what makes them tick.

    Posted by David Cooper | July 20, 2013, 3:15 pm
  225. This video highlights the differences among students and how the education system administrators must be able to adjust educational institutions to meet the needs of the students. Educational institutions must be able to accommodate the needs of a more technologically advanced society with rapidly changing technological advances that affect student learning and interactions.

    Posted by Dwayne Raiford | July 20, 2013, 11:33 pm
  226. I enjoyed the excerpt from Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture. The subject of ADD/ADHD can be somewhat sensitive due to different views of the matter. There has been a huge increase in the number of children diagnosed over the past 15 years. I would love to see more on studies related to the increase in children medicated.

    The segment on academic vs. non-academic people. It’s true that not all people learn the same. There has to be different methods to reach different individuals. One of the ultimate goals being, ensuring students that no matter what they have the ability and knowledge to succeed.

    Posted by Jeri Jones | July 21, 2013, 5:55 pm
  227. I have now watched this video several times, and each time something new jumps out at me. The first time, I was really intrigued by his theory on how education has grown to reflect the dominant systems of the society, whether it be the industrial revolution or the enlightenment. Only now we are stuck in a system that does not necessarily reflect the needs of the growing world. As everything around us becomes more fast paced, our schools seem to be “stuck” in many ways.

    The second time I was made very curious by his tangent about the ADD “epidemic”. That part left me with more questions than answers. Overall, his argument seemed to have some merit – it’s not possible that ADD is concentrated to one geographic area, but I’m not sure what is the practical best next step to dealing with this disparity. After a few viewings I feel this way about a lot of the video.

    As a conversation starter and visually arresting piece, it’s great, but it seems to lack anything by way of proactive strategies. Is it even possible to dismantle a system so ingrained in a way that does not create mass chaos? Or is incrementalism the key? I could not say, but probably my favorite part of the video is the discussion on alternative, creative types of intelligence. As a more linear person myself, it made me think about the way we view intelligence in a totally new way, and want to keep this very much in mind as I move into teaching in the fall.

    Posted by Elizabeth Huffaker | July 21, 2013, 8:33 pm
  228. I have seen this video multiple times now, and I am truly struck by different parts each time. This time I was most interested in was the part about ADHD and how our educational system is determined solely by age. Regarding the ADHD, before this video I was under the impression that doctors were the problem in over prescribing medications to children. This video helped shift my mindset. Now, instead of blaming doctors, I am asking myself, could it possibly be that we, as a society, are redefining what a “normal” amount of time to stay focused is? Are we asking too much of our children? It helped me to question standardized testing and the way we teach our students.

    The part about our educational system be based solely on age is also something that never crossed my mind before this video. It is something so engrained in our society that I just accepted it as the best option. In reality, schools should expand their focus to beyond age. Our students should not be judged solely by their “manufacture date.” While I wholeheartedly believe in the value of a well-rounded, liberal arts education, I do believe there should be some shifts so students can focus more on what they are interested at an earlier age. College should not be the first time that a student gets to explore fields that interest them.

    Posted by Olivia Sher | July 21, 2013, 8:35 pm
  229. Five thoughts from Ken Robinson’s talk.
    1. Before even beginning this video, I’m struck by the fact that this video is a key text in most education classrooms and discussions. Every time I watch it, I am hearing (and seeing) Robinson’s ideas in a new context. Just having finished Institute with Teach for America, my overall impression of the video is that it highlights a tradition society’s low expectations for certain individuals. Robinson generalizes that the myth of innate “academic ability” divides some people from others, but he doesn’t go so far as to identify the trends by which people are tracked. Race and class are only hinted at in this video, but not explicitly identified as factors in the achievement gap.
    2. About halfway through the video, I’m interested in how Robinson talks about digital media and its impact on children’s ability to focus academically. Though in this video, technology is posed as distracting students from “boring stuff” in the classroom, I believe that technology has an incredible power to invest students in learning, to differentiate instruction, and to share students’ ideas and work with the world.
    3. As an English teacher, I’m fascinated by Robinson’s emphasis on aesthetic experience. Reading both literary and non-literary texts informs readers’ views of the world, in part by visualizing the text. Reading and writing are truly sensory experiences that can be complemented in the classroom with visual, audible, and kinesthetic textual experiences.
    4. When thinking about standardized tests, I am torn between a desire for concrete data and a rejection of minimizing students to a series of numbers on a computer screen. Over the summer at Institute, our data provided a way of viewing student learning over time, but, in some students’ cases, I felt that the assessments did not accurately measure how much they learned.
    5. While reworking the factory-like system of dividing students by subject, age, and ability may seem like a daunting task, and one that a first-year teacher most likely cannot undertake, I think there are ways to build bridges between the dividers within the classroom and the school. Interdisciplinary units that incorporate texts, teachers, and students from different subjects and levels can create an atmosphere of collaboration and foster connections between subjects.

    Posted by Sydney Stegall | July 21, 2013, 10:38 pm
  230. I really enjoyed the perspective this video brought to the public education debate. One of the most intriguing parts to me was the historical context of public education. I honestly had never thought about when public education had come about before. I also found it interesting how he discusses technologically and that our system is not allowing our students today to be properly stimulated. This raises an intriguing concept to think about.

    Posted by nrpilcher | July 22, 2013, 6:38 am
  231. I really enjoyed this talk, I found it to be enlightening. One of the comparison I enjoyed the most was the structure of how I was taught versus how classrooms function today. Or in other words “the factory” comparison. It truly made me consider how it affects the classroom environment and the entire educational system.

    Posted by Ha'Wanna St.Cyr | July 22, 2013, 12:38 pm
  232. Robinson discusses the fact that a college degree is not as valuable as it used to be. A college degree used to guarantee recipients job security; however, over half of today’s recent college graduates are currently unemployed. This makes transmitting the significance of college to our students even more difficult. How do we stress the importance of a degree and, at the same time, reconcile that importance with the reality that a degree no longer ensures a job? This is particularly relevant to students who would have to take on large amounts of debt in order to get that degree. Framing college as the pinnacle of academic success doesn’t make sense unless college is what is going to ensure long-term success and happiness for our students.

    Posted by GGaddie | July 23, 2013, 7:08 pm
  233. I enjoyed the video! I found myself thinking he has some good points! I had mixed feelings about the ADHD topic. In my pass I have come across students who are ADHD, I have some students who are diagnosed with the disorder, and I do find myself thinking the medicine does them wonders. (When parents give it to them) And I have a few of them that are diagnosed and I think if the parent would give the child stability and structure they would be fine! The factory comparison made me think a little about how it affects classrooms today.

    Posted by Kiya Lester | July 23, 2013, 7:16 pm
  234. The video was very informative. I enjoyed how it used pictures to further explain their points. I liked how they discussed the importance of the college education. I completely agree when it discusses how times have changed and everything does not go in a direct order such as “Do well in school, go to college, get a job.”
    I personally, think that going to college is of upmost importance. I feel that getting a job can definitely wait until after a good education.

    Posted by Alisha Bailey | July 24, 2013, 5:47 pm
  235. Ken Robinson Changing Education Paradigms is highly interesting and allow you to think deeper into today’s educational system. This video Is an eye opener and make you put on you thinking caps and allow you to view the educational system a differently. Immediately, I acknowledge that Robinson’s point of view on today’s education system by well-constructed, insightful and very accurate illustrations which give you a different prospective on today’s educational systems. Ken Robinson’s thesis, speaks of how traditional methods of teaching are structured on more or less distorted ways of conveying information, and require students to comply with very strict authoritarian rules on what it means to learn. Robinson’s comparison academic vs non-academic pupils and how he describe how it not only impact our cultural identity but also the WORLD economics.

    Posted by Sambrina Dunlap | July 24, 2013, 8:18 pm
  236. I have several thoughts on this video, that I thought was very interesting and engaging.
    One of the things that got my attention was what people thought divergent genius was or considered. It was interesting to see that when they tested the kindergarteners on a longitude study and as they kept testing them five years later and then retesting them again five years after that. It was interesting to learn from the study that we all had the capacity and as we grow older we are supposed to get better. The irony of it is that we weren’t getting better, instead we were going downhill. After getting educated you are supposed to improve not get worse. It was really funny to hear him say that inside a school we are taught that there is one answer and you can’t look or copy because that is consider cheating. However, outside of school if we were to talk or share the answer that would be consider collaborations. Another interesting point that really got my attention was about aesthetic experience instead of anaesthetic learning. How a lot of students are considered ADHD so they need to take medication which leads them to becoming anaesthetic learners. Ken Robinson makes a good point that we need to wake them up, but they aren’t and we aren’t. The reason for that is because they are stuck in this same system that has been around for way too long and we haven’t changed. We think this one formula or system is supposed to be used by everyone and everyone will fit into this model. However they aren’t. Another reason is that they have increased the states testing, so teachers feel compelled to cram all this information which students find boring and useless. I see that as a teacher I really need to use the aesthetic experience to make learning fun and meaningful and to break the factory chain so that they continue to learn and grow as the years go by while they are in school. Education should enhance their knowledge, not decrease it. We, as teachers, need to appeal to them and do it in a new fashion, to break out of the mold that we have been placed in and put ourselves in!

    Posted by Serena | July 24, 2013, 9:16 pm
  237. What I recall most from this video is the idea that we as a society are systematically destroying the imaginations of our children through standardization. In Sir Robinson’s full-length speech on this topic (which I recommend) he addresses that we are not purposely trying to do this, but that the system we created is in fact doing this. I also appreciate and am fascinated by the attention he brings to the basic assumptions we ( and educators especially) make about how we should be properly educating people. For example, why do we separate Math class from Science class? Why do we separate English class from Social Studies? Why do we keep students in grade levels based on their age? This silo-ed and limiting structure may actually be hurting our children.

    In addition, I found the video reminding me of the importance of teaching to a classroom of students that have different learning needs. I think of Howard Gardner’s theory or multiple intelligences, and am reminded that when I teach, I must vary my style and approach to meet the needs of a room of unique and beautiful individuals. I want them to grow into whomever they want to grow into, not who I think they should be. Ultimately, this video challenges me to think outside of the box when working towards success for each of my students.

    Posted by Bryan Hoynacke | July 25, 2013, 5:52 pm
  238. This wasn’t the first time I had seen this video; however, it WAS the first time I watched it after dealing with a classroom full of college freshmen who had been educated by the very system that Robinson is describing. Fortunately, the Composition program at Tennessee was quite head-forward in terms of critical pedagogy, and allowed me to teach a class that used comic books as the primary departure point for learning various research methods. Even so, the idea that education is simply a bunch of hoops to jump through in order to get a degree then get a job (the “factory” mindset) seems quite well-engrained in almost all of the students I have taught. It’s exciting to think that the educators and administrators at my new school think this video is important enough to recommend it for new teachers; it’s a sign that YES is very different than the typical diploma assembly line.

    The second thing that warrants comment is Robinson’s commitment to cultural materialism. Without coming out and suggesting that he is a “Marxist,” he does critique the classism inherent in a mindset that is dictated economically by industrialization. Without making the explicit link, he does subtly hint that the enlightenment model of intelligence is inexorably linked with the economic conditions that produced it. While I too am reluctant to identify as a “Marxist,” it makes a lot of sense to look for the roots of cultural problems in the material conditions that give rise to them. His example of the rise of standardized testing and the ubiquity of student overmedication is a less sweeping, but analogous assertion. Lots of good stuff in this video… thanks for the re-recommendation.

    Posted by Jody Dunville | July 25, 2013, 11:45 pm
  239. The video was very interesting. I like his idea of educating our students for a 21 century, where globalization, and culture identities awareness are essential these days. He also motional divergent thinking, that is a reason why I like math, it allow me to use my own thought to come up with an answers. We should encourage our students to use divergent thinking to increase their thought process and encourage them to be independent thinkers

    Posted by Yahya Saleh | July 26, 2013, 9:07 am
  240. Among the various critiques Robinson makes of the education system, the most striking to me was how he speaks (and animates) of the “factory produced” conformity as evidenced by increasing standardizing testing in light of the fact that students have different learning styles. The model of learning, as Robinson illustrates, must go in the opposite direction where “divergent thinking” is cultivated. He further emphasizes the difference between “divergent thinking” and “creativity”, where the former is the “capacity for creativity.” Furthermore, it was alarming when Robinson spoke of the longitudinal study that suggested the deterioration of this capacity as one goes through the current education system.

    The implications of this as an educator poses a challenge in the classroom, however, paints a larger picture of what it means to teach and deliver. It serves as a constant reminder that at the end of the day, cultivating in students the skills necessary to think for themselves is a common goal for all educators, regardless of subject matter. Perhaps focusing on how to cultivate this capacity for creativity rather than indoctrinating students can also address what Robinson refers to as the superfluous labeling of ADHD. Nevertheless, finding ways to engage students and allowing them to exercise their minds is an over-arching theme in changing the education paradigm, reflecting the idea that success does not only equate to academic achievement but also to developing the person as a whole, ready to enter society as a contributing member.

    Posted by Janet Lee | July 27, 2013, 7:26 am
  241. This video definitely comments on some ideas that are difficult to discuss in the public education system. First and foremost, is the separation between the “smart” and “non-smart” and how this distinction affects students’ future career paths. Any student is able to attend college and be successful if they choose to do so, and public education currently chooses to focus on those who excel in class rather than the desires of the students. A critical shift in this mentality will definitely enhance the human capital and potential for growth in our country. A second theme that resonates is the distinction between divergent and linear thinking. I believe that the linear thought processes for standardized testing limit a student’s ability to expand and explore different subjects, thus creating boredom within many subjects, especially the sciences. In order to increase students’ interest in STEM courses, we must encourage them to find solutions and pose questions that both challenge us as educators and them as scholars. If a system of education is created such that students and teachers are constantly learning and can learn from each other, there is no limit to the potential impact these students may have on their communities. A third (and my final) takeaway from this video is the increase in ADHD diagnoses. While I agree that this is a real condition, I believe that, ideally, a teacher should create a stimulating classroom which all students are engaged in learning and want to be in class. ADHD should not prohibit students from being engaged; they should, as Sir Ken Robinson put it, be mindless zombies waiting for instruction. Overall, I believe that educational reform is necessary and should be a continuous process, rather than stopping the reform once we find something that fits our current social/economic structures. After all, what works now (or 10 years from now) will not necessarily work within 200 years!

    Posted by Yasmin Leon | July 28, 2013, 9:13 pm
  242. This video was very insightful as to the causes and effects of why our society does not value an education as it did in prior years. Kids in our generation do not see education as necessity in becoming successful due to other influences that may show success in a different route. Sir Ken Robinson was very spot on in breaking down the logistics as to why education as become a all time decline with our students and what we as teachers need to do in order to promote change. I enjoyed this video as I saw it a wake up call for my role in education and being apart of reform and change.

    Posted by Britney Perez | August 3, 2013, 4:05 pm
  243. I think the biggest take-away I got from watching Ken Robinson’s talk was the reflection of many ideas i have had about education since I was in school! I have always noticed this need to establish “control” around what and HOW students are learning and have seen many students not succeed because of these boundaries that they cannot fit into. I loved the idea of students being individuals and some needing specific attention. I also completely agree with this idea of over-stimulation from the world around us– I love reading and I even find things hard to focus on whenever I am being distracted by television and the internet! With a world of resources available to us through Google at any moment, I understand how the environment of the classroom can sometimes be hard for a student. I think that many of the ideas reflected in this video are things that we all need to reflect on when planning our lessons and our approach to our students.

    Posted by Kyli | August 4, 2013, 5:22 pm
  244. This video really gave me some insight on how hard it is to discuss the public school system. I strongly believe that as teachers we need to introduce and emphasize the significance of a college education for our students because their is a whole different world out there. We have to prepare them and teach to focus on excellence. The lecture was very detailed and the animation was very informative. I enjoyed this video.

    Posted by M'Tisha Robinson | August 6, 2013, 3:20 pm
  245. This is by far my favorite talk by Sir Ken Robinson that a friend of mine shared with me last fall. the question remains if not the current system we have then what system?

    Posted by Brandee Davis | August 9, 2013, 11:40 pm
  246. A friend of mine shared with me last fall. the question remains if not the current system we have then what system?

    Posted by Brandee Davis | August 9, 2013, 11:41 pm
  247. I was fascinated by many of the points made, especially the idea of the plague of ADHD and how our current educational structure is based on the factories of the industrial age. In 11 minutes, it was made abundantly clear that our education system needs to be re-designed from the ground up. Not doing so will result in a large segment of students being marginalized.

    Posted by Cynthia Haskell | August 22, 2013, 1:25 pm
  248. The problem with society today is that education does not carry the same incentives it once did — the end of the process does not ensure a job for the individual, as it once did. Also, it is unfortunate that the education system is riddled by dichotomies between those who are academic and non-academic; those who are “non-academic” are not receiving the education that will be most helpful to them in the future, which is certainly frustrating. However, is there truly a solution for this? There are specialized high schools and such but on the whole, the public school is system is one-size fits all. Is there a way to combat this while dealing with other issues such as achievement and opportunity gaps on the whole?

    I was horrified by the discussion of the “ADHD generation” and its connection with standardized testing. This is an aspect of the standardized-testing debate i had never contemplated, but it truly makes sense. The fact that medicating our students has become a habit is truly disturbing and leaves me with wondering, what does our future hold? In ten years, will even more students be on this medication? Are we even contemplating the implications of taking these medications on the long term health and productivity of society?

    Posted by Melissa Frank | May 22, 2014, 1:51 pm
  249. I found the claims that Ken Robinson makes in this clip to be enlightening and revolutionary. One of my biggest takeaways from the clip is that we as educators should all question the traditional paradigms of education of which we are all a product. Robinson discourages the perpetuation of categorizing students as “academic” or “non-academic,” and instead focus on the innate capabilities and talents of every student. This means creating new educational paradigms for both assessing individual achievement and grouping students together to produce great learning.

    I was also struck by Robinson’s connection between industrialization and the tendency to treat students and educational systems as units of manufacturing. If we are to believe Robinson’s claims, the results of this mentality are absolutely horrifying, leading us to over-medicate our children and shut down their ability to interact with the world in artistically meaningful and experiential ways. Instead, we must find engaging activities and practices that will make children “wake up” to “what is inside of themselves.” I believe that doing so is absolutely necessary to intrinsically motivate students to reach their full potential.

    Posted by Parker Eudy | May 25, 2014, 6:03 pm
  250. I found myself invigorated by Sir Ken Robinson’s discussion due to the possibilities it explores when reforms are targeted not as they have been, but as they could be. A large part of this came from his discussions on aesthetic experiences and divergent thinking. We need to ensure that aesthetic experiences, as defined by Robinson, are not only accessible through the arts, but also in the everyday contexts of each classroom. If only one mode of teaching is used then only one kind of learner will succeed. It is the role of teachers to invent lessons that lend themselves to these moments of total immersion for all students. More simply put, it is imperative to create classroom communities in which for the hour what is being discussed is the most fascinating thing that could ever be thought about. Of course, this is far easier said then done, but that does not mean it cannot be achieved.

    I also thought the segment on divergent thinking was imperative in demonstrating how important it is to leverage the strengths students already possess. The study featured demonstrated how the majority of students entered kindergarten as geniuses when it came to divergent thinking only to have this ability decline steadily over time. To me, this demonstrates a failure to create learning environments in which each student’s strengths can flourish. Here, Robinson hits on a critical point that schools are responsible for so much more than the simple learning of material, they also have an obligation to maximize students’ capacity for critical thinking and original thought. I think that Robinson’s dismissal of the separateness between academic, abstract, theoretical, and non-academic thinking as a myth greatly hones in on this point that we should be compelling students to see the world as limitless and inspiring them to search for interconnectivity, rather than reinforcing distinct boundaries to their thought.

    Considering, as Robinson opens with, that schools must prepare students for a world unknown, divergent thinking is an asset in succeeding within this ever-changing landscape. It is those who can think of a million and one solutions to a single problem that will go on from their education with the capacity to change the world. The times have certainly changed from the days when schools provided a singular route to success. The infinite possibilities students must be prepared to face today are far more exciting and challenging than those of the past, and Robinson’s talk gives a good introduction to how all students and educators alike can rise to this challenge.

    Posted by Ashlin Orr | June 4, 2014, 11:40 am
  251. Having read through a few of the comments in the discussion above, I’m not sure that I can point out anything that hasn’t been well articulated already. Valid arguments have been made about the inadequacies of the system of education that exists in the country, the positivity of divergent thinking and the overmedicated state in which we find many of our students. One thing I would like to address, though, is how we change the system (or our small piece of the system), since this has been a repeated point brought up by others. It’s by no means a foolproof plan, but it should at least help us prioritize the end result of the system created by education.

    Since I’ve not yet gone into Induction, I can only imagine what will be the lessons that unfold in those days, but if it’s anything like the readings we have already done, it will be very hands-on, very technical (and methodical) and something that we can practice immediately. Why do I believe this? I believe this because this is what we need to hit the ground running to start seeing results, especially as new teachers. What I have found lacks in my formal education (and are distinctly what we need to teach educators to educate) are the tools that can get us past the banal so that we can achieve higher-ordered applications from our students. But this doesn’t happen without putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together ahead of time.

    It seems that the mechanized system of cranking out students served an efficiency purpose at one point in time, but with age, has simply become inefficient. The goal at that time was to serve the most with the fewest inputs necessary (one teacher and twenty students in a single-room class), realizing that most would succeed under this system. The externality effect that has arisen from economies of scale is that more and more time is spent on fundamentals of standardized test passing and medicating students to fit a specific role instead of enlisting a new system. This is similar to how we have built a vast infrastructure with the automobiles that we rely on to the point that if your car doesn’t run on gasoline (or even diesel), it’s nearly impossible to get it on the road (and totally impossible to make it mainstream). We’ve kept a system alive and tried to modify the component parts of what goes in (students) instead of looking at the system itself and saying that individual student achievement is paramount to graduation rates (system). With time (and a much larger scale), the efficiency goals have changed; that change requires buy-in to the ideas that will change individual student achievement. This is where we find ourselves.

    Here’s one idea of a system change: if I believe that students do better in settings where they can receive specific attention and be allowed to learn at varying intellectual levels, then why are teachers not assigned 8 students from the point that they are ready to enter school and teach them throughout their K-12 careers? By doing this, we are not only providing job security for teachers, but we are 1) familiarizing students with people that they know care for and want the best for them and 2) know how to push them and earn trust from the students. Students can learn at their own pace, receive the individualized attention that so many students need these days and would permit teachers to use a variety of tools to help students reach their individual potential. And, from a data-gathering perspective, the teachers could keep extensive tabs on how students grow so that instead of saying that “X number of students from this grade level passed the test,” we could instead focus on how “Student Y went from reading at a 3rd grade level to reading at a 5th grade level in one year.” This data reliance seems to be a fundamental part of what separates YES Prep from other places, but there’s no doubt that there is still more to be fixed.

    The problem is that this idea would likely be laughed out of the room before it ever got a chance to be a pilot program because it looks nothing like how we have taught (and instead, seems more like an apprenticeship). But it represents a true change to the system. Not just changing the number of students in the classroom, not just changing the number of teachers in the classroom, not just taking away or adding elective classes (or music, or art, or gym), not just medicating students, not just building bureaucracy, but actually doing something completely different. And while a system like this may lack certain oversight that exists in the current system, it’s not enough to simply say, “It’s time for a change.” We ought to walk the proverbial walk instead of just talking the talk.

    I liked what Sir Robinson said about this issue(s), but I did not like that he did not give any type of insight as to how we must change the system. It’s one thing to say that we must think differently about the human capacity, that great learning happens in groups and to consider the habits of institutions, but it is quite another to suggest a change (radical or marginal) that works to effect the system, not just the retool the components. Changing a metal cog for a fiberglass cog might change the efficiency of the system, but it doesn’t change the system’s outcome. We want a different outcome, and therefore, we need to be considering different systems.

    Posted by Tom Ten Eyck | June 12, 2014, 12:32 pm
  252. I’ve been learning just as much from reading everyone’s responses as I did from the video. The image of the factory line and the educational system producing children in “batches” has always been an image that has bothered me about this video. It makes me uncomfortable to be a part of something that is set up in this video to look so negative. I agree with him – we should not manufacture children on public school assembly lines to regurgitate facts that have zero real-life application. But I don’t think that’s what we are doing. The system might be setting us up for that, but from the comments I have read above and from what I know of my own heart for my students, that is the last thing I want. And we teachers (and administrators) are the ones in the trenches alongside our students struggling against the system so that one day we will can teach and they can learn within a modified or even completely new system.

    The speaker states that he is against standardization. I used to think I was, too. But then I thought to myself, why does this word “standardization” scare us so much? We have taught students to dislike it, as well. I’ve heard more teachers complain about testing than I have students, to be honest, and we pass the negativity on when we say that we are only teaching them something because of the test. No, standardized tests are not the monster. Are they boring? Yes. Do they contain basic information that all students should understand? Yes, I believe they do. And I believe students have the right to understand that information and do well on the tests. Our job is to teach them the basics, with or without standardized testing so that they may rest easy in their foundations. Divergent thinking should not be taught (obviously, because we can do it as kindergartners) but rather it should be cultivated alongside the things that we as teachers are responsible for teaching our students. Why is it so hard to imagine a world where divergent thinking lives in harmony with the skills assessed on standardized tests?

    As a final arbitrary thought… I don’t think educating kids by age group is necessarily the “right” way to do it, but I certainly would not go so far as to call it wrong. In fact, I can see practical reasons as to why age would be an obvious factor when grouping kids together to learn (for example, stages of development and where the brain is at during specific years during a child’s growth).

    I’ve enjoyed reading the other responses, I look forward to meeting (some/most/all?) of you!

    Posted by Amanda Gallo | June 27, 2014, 1:22 am
  253. Out of the several eye-opening and insightful points Sir Ken Robinson makes, I found that one of the most interesting parts was his description of divergent thinking. He clearly differentiates this from the term creativity (as he defines “the process of having original ideas that have value”), stating it is generating several to hundreds of ways to answer a question. In short, divergent thinking is looking at a question and assuming there is not just one answer but multiple. What stood out to me was when he mentioned a study showed that 98% of kindergarten students who took an exam measuring their divergent thinking skills scored “genius” level. Kindergarten students! But it makes sense, right? The younger you are, the more interpretations you have about the world around you. Some of these many be far-fetched and thought of as “childish” but think about films like The Wizard of Oz. Certainly, a tornado may not realistically sweep away a child into a fantasy land with talking lions and scarecrows, but it’s still an idea and response to the question, “What are the consequences of a tornado hitting your town?” And that idea was produced into a film that grossed $3,017,000 in 1939, and a whopping $22,202,612 in 2013 (International Movie Database).

    Moreover, the study showed that as the same students aged and re-took the exam, the percentage of divergent thinkers at “genius” level decreased. What does this entail for the future of education? I think we need to create more ways to promote divergent thinking into school curricula. I agree with the previous comment that we should not “teach” divergent thinking necessarily since we are capable of it at such a young age. However, we must maintain this capability and nurture it from the very beginning of a child’s education to the end (although I think we continue learning well after of our official “end” to schooling). What are some ways do you think we can incorporate divergent thinking skills into public school curricula today?

    One more comment: I enjoyed Robinson’s explanation of the arts. When we participate in the arts, we are fully alive. We pay attention to the present; we live in the moment. Theater is a major way to practice this. I think divergent thinking and theater are deeply connected. In theater, there is never one right answer. When you decide a character and what reactions you will have to your fellow characters, it’s up to you. Sure, the director has a say when the actor chooses an action that doesn’t quite fit or the screenwriter/playwright disagrees, but the answer is never just one action. The best actors change their intention every time they rehearse a scene, and stick to the one the fits the best. It’s unfair that the arts are usually the first to go at public schools when budgets gets tight. However, they are one of the strongest ways to cultivate aesthetic thinking. What can we do to promote and keep the arts in our public education system, even during tight economic times?

    Posted by Tasneem Islam | July 1, 2014, 8:22 pm
  254. So most of us can agree that our current system of education is not changing (if at all) at the same rate as our society is. What would an education system that meets the need of our current society look like? Should we be focusing on having student practice problem-solving with Google and Wikipedia? Is it a public school’s responsibility to define and then teach cultural competencies for a more globalized economy? What are skills and values that are extremely important in this day and age that were not so relevant 200 years ago? Perhaps empathy and living in the moment are two skills that are being affected by increased access to technology and urbanization but can be address through the arts for instance.

    Posted by Fernanda | July 5, 2014, 2:22 pm
  255. In thinking about how education has not changed since the Industrial Revolution, I realized that encouraging students is crucial when setting a strong learning foundation. Identifying key points of how to encourage students to have a purpose in life and that education is the first step toward life goals. At the same time, as a new teacher, the challenge of engaging students to reach their full potential and getting past the norm of students being labeled as smart and not smart. Knowing that each student has a different potential to achieve, as educators we have the responsibility to help identify and trigger a passion for achieving their potential.

    Posted by Juan Mtz | July 7, 2014, 8:39 pm
  256. I wholeheartedly agree with what Sir K. Robinson articulated here. What struck me the most is that young people are losing the ability to think outside of the box, which is a very dangerous thing to lose. When you pursue an arts major of any kind in college you are more likely to hear how useless that pursuit is rather than how vital. When a young person is brought up exposed to the arts, they are becoming acquainted with history, language, colors, movement–all of those aesthetic wonders–and on a deeper level, empathy (thanks Fernanda!). Empathy is just as valuable a commodity as thinking outside of the box, and in many ways those two are very connected; if you can empathize with another person, than you are thinking outside of the greatest box of all, which is the box that is your own perception of the world. We are entering a future where technology is the chief rule of the game, and that is not a bad thing. But to teach students to the technology is to build a reliance for it. At the end of the day, the best prepared graduate will be the one who is able to think for his or herself in spite of all of the stimulus constantly competing for their attention.

    Posted by Jake Fiedler | July 8, 2014, 7:08 pm
  257. I’ve seen this talk before as well as several others by Ken Robinson on the arts in particular. He has knack for taking things that we kind of already know and presenting them in a way that makes it feel like a revelation. For example, the idea that we rely too much on standardized testing is hardly unique, but framing it within the idea of schools being industrial-age modeled learning factories helps you to understand not just what is wrong, but why it is the way it is.
    I love his way of presenting the arts as experiences where we are fully alive, and I agree 100% with this. My problem with his talk is that while it does a good job at quickly identifying problems with our education system, it doesn’t really offer any solutions. Some kids learn better in the morning, some excel and certain subjects, some work well in small groups, or large groups, or any of a number of other variables. Turning that knowledge into action and actually running our schools differently though is a great logistical challenge that still needs to be addressed.

    Posted by Tim Maynard | July 9, 2014, 4:14 am
  258. In response to Paul Needham’s prompts, my answers are as follows:

    1.) I paused the video several times in order to take notes but what I remember most is the school as a factory illustration. I had never pictured a school this way but given public education’s origination period, it makes a lot of sense. From a logistical stand point, I can see how it makes sense to group students by age and put them in separate departments but it is sad to think that our system has not been revamped in so long to match today’s career demands and student needs.

    2.) I think what students most need me to get at induction are ways to foster divergent thinking. From my educational experience, and as history shows, developing this type of thinking has not been a pattern so I currently have few models to draw from. Therefore, I am looking for ways to bring this thinking style out in my students because I think it brings about great benefit for the students.

    3.) I think what might be challenging could be recognizing different giftings in the students. This is because the school system is so structured around monitoring academic success but not necessarily other areas. I think many clubs and student organizations help draw out some of these skills but schools need to find ways to incorporate these different talents into the class setting.

    4.) I think other subjects could capture student’s attention and give them an “aesthetic experience” by incorporating different subjects (such as art) into that particular content area. This could give students another exposure to the content while also helping the student see the correlation across disciplines. The three adjectives I would like to hear my lessons described as are “rigorous”, “engaging” and “supportive”. This three things together are similar to Lev Vygotsky’s theory on the zone of proximal development. I want the content to be rigorous so that the student has to work hard to master the objective (just outside the zone of proximal development); engaging so the student wants to learn the material; and supportive so the student has the resources he/she needs (the more knowledgeable other) in order to succeed.

    5.) Other labels that could adversely affect a child’s educational experience could be labels such as “dumb”, “no good”, “jock”, “bad at ‘x, y, z'”, etc. All of these can affect a child’s self-esteem and self-image in a negative way. If a child hears a certain comment enough times he/she may begin to believe to be true about themselves – a self-fulfilling prophecy. Furthermore, if a child is a given a label such as “jock”, “nerd”, etc. he/she may think that particular skill is all he/she is good for and may not venture to try new things to expand his/her mind.

    Posted by Emily Barr | July 1, 2015, 3:23 pm
  259. As a former African & African Diaspora Studies (AADS) major, what stood out to me from this talk is the concept that the division and/or disparity between those who are considered educated and those that did not choose college as a route as being uneducated. It is evident that success is measured in multiple ways and that you can reach success through a variety of routes. Cathy Cohen’s book entitled, The Boundaries of Blackness, introduced the term ‘Secondary Marginalization’ where a marginalized group further marginalize themselves within their own group. In this book the disparity between the rich and the poor in regards to the alignment to the politics of respectability and what that entails is whats addressed, but this concept can be applied to the concept of the division between the individuals that are deemed as educated and uneducated. The stigmas that are associated with the “uneducated” are not representations that the “educated” are willing to associate themselves with. Instead of disassociating, the harsh realities should be addressed. By doing this, the irrelevant aspects like being ashamed would be irrelevant when attempting to bridge the gap(s).

    Posted by Bevin Holloway | July 8, 2015, 3:14 am
  260. As an African American student I really agreed that everything here is saying. If we don’t understand something and we act of because of frustration we are labelled as being bad or we have a learning disability when that is not the case at all.

    Posted by Brittney Lewis | July 12, 2015, 1:31 pm
  261. This TED talk really brought a lot of things in perspective for me. As I listened to it, with my spouse, it really made me wonder about why my views on the way my children are educated tend to be so in line with tradition that I’ve rary given any other legitimate thought to any other way, besides home school and free school. I’ve thought of those options but I’ve never made a clear decision and I think it’s because I’m so conditioned to the thought that things are the way they are for a reason.

    Posted by Ebony S | July 19, 2015, 8:56 pm

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