A beginner’s guide to the late Sir Ken Robinson
Best known for:
Born: 1950 in Liverpool, England.
Sadly, Sir Ken passed away on 21 August 2020, following a short battle with cancer.
Nationality: British. Sir Ken divided his time between Los Angeles and London.
Where does he work:
What's it all about:
Though his ideas developed over time, Sir Ken's main argument was that education should foster creativity in pupils by offering a broad curriculum and encouraging individualisation in the learning process. He believed that too much of the present education system in the UK and United States fosters conformity, compliance and standardisation rather than creative approaches to learning.
Creativity, he argued, comes from fostering curiosity through teaching that focuses on harnessing imagination rather than memorising facts. A creative education would place less emphasis on standardised tests, and instead gives teachers and schools more power to develop teaching that suits and excites their pupils.
What does he research:
In 1998, Sir Ken led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the New Labour government. The resulting 'Robinson Report' - All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education - called for a national strategy for creative and cultural education, and recommended new priorities in education, including a stronger emphasis on creative and cultural education; a new balance in teaching and in the curriculum between learning knowledge and skills; and giving educators the freedom to innovate and experiment. It was globally well received, and led to Sir Ken contributing to Singapore's education strategy. His later works further developed his theories on the nature of creativity.
Sir Ken suggested there are many misconceptions about creativity and whether it can be taught. He argued that everyone has the potential to be creative and that creativity can be developed in a practical way, though critics have noted that he didn't provide many concrete examples of how creativity can be taught.
What he says:
What others say:
Why you should consider reading more:
Out of our minds: learning to be creative – second edition (2011)
Do schools kill creativity? (TED Talk, 2006)
Changing education paradigms (TED Talk, 2010)
All our Futures - Report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (AKA The Robinson Report) May 1999
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