Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Being creative is a better way of doing everything

Creativity is not an "add-on" but calls for radical change in our schools from Music Center IC on Vimeo.

Here are some highlights from Sir Ken Robinson on creativity:

  • Creativity is a natural capacity in all of us.
  • Poverty is not lead to an absence of creativity, but it does inhibit the opportunities children have to further develop and grow their creativity.
  • Creativity is not an "add-on". You don't develop creativity by having a "creativity hour".
  • If you take creativity seriously, that's a different sort of education and will require radical change on most fronts.
  • If the current system were working, there would be no need to change it - depending on where you look, there is currently a 30% to 50% drop out rate.
  • The school-to-prison pipeline is growing. We are failing our children more than they could fail us.
  • When you have a 30% drop out rate, you can no longer blame the kids. This is a systems problem, not a kid problem.
  • Focusing on creativity & imagination might be the best way to engage learners.
  • A narrow curriculum helps learners figure out what they are not good at -- a broad curriculum encourages engagement and standards go up.
  • Standardized tests have become the culture of public education.
  • Children have become fodder for test scores.
  • All the successful programs that re-engage learners into education are personal in nature -- we should do this in the first place.
  • Finland has one of the most successful education systems and they have a very broad curriculum.
  • Finland has high standards not because they focus on them remorselessly and exclusively but because they don't.
  • Being creative is a way of doing everything more effectively.


  1. The word creativity sounds a little ' elitist' for me. I prefer education where kids ' thinking and opinions ' is the driving force in helping them discover the world , make meaning and develop the skills needed to be life long learners. Simply said - ask kids for their opinions , to share their thinking

  2. Joe, my (bb)blog backlog is now at 229 and I am now just watching your Vimeo link . Earlier we had an exchange regarding the interest of business listening to input (how to run their businesses) from educators. I shared my perspective. I think this video touches on the parallels not the differences across sectors (private and public). It is not a we-they discussion, but a we discussion.

    I think I could write (if I had the ability and the time) a lengthy book supporting Sir Ken’s Robinson’s position. I won’t. But I will look at one concept of education-industry parallels that are not often linked. Sir Ken Robinson makes a link relating to “Waste”. In industry there is significant literature (Edwards Deming being an early advocate of reducing waste in manufacturing) based on minimizing “waste” or “defects”. Waste in this context generally means the use of resources that does not result in value.

    When Sir Ken Robinson talks about the US correctional system (work I was doing about seven years ago indicated that about 3,000,000 individuals were incarcerated and another 4,000,000 were on parole or probation), and makes the link between a poor education and being in the corrections system, I believe he is talking about the same concept “Waste”. In industry, some organizations look at both individual points of operation and the entire process to see how to reduce waste. They are almost always aided by a relatively short cycle time related to product/service inception to results time.

    If we think of the public costs spent over 20-30 years to prepare a young child to be a happy and contributing citizen as being the basis for how we fund learning, might we then take into consideration the cost of incarceration as part of the investment in a person? If one does the math, one year of school costs about $10,000 in public funds regardless of the result. One year of incarceration costs $30,000 in public funds. But governments operate on a fiscal model that prohibits them from considering the complete cost of learning. Governments do not take the cost of waste in to the investment equation. Following the money flow in our investment in people can not be accomplished by annual budgeting. Altering that financial management model might yield a system change to invest more realistically for success.

    Martin Goldberg


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