Creativity is Key: Sir Ken Robinson Shares Why We Need Education Alternatives
We are all born with the innate ability to innovate and create.
These abilities not only impact the way in which we can learn and think, but also affect how we interact with others and the world around us.
These qualities, broadly speaking, are what make us uniquely human.
So why is it that these crucial abilities aren't championed in most traditional education systems?
At the expense of their natural creativity, curiosity, and fearlessness, children are pushed into outdated and narrow ideas of learning and thinking. Additionally, curricula are designed to prioritize conformity and standardized ways of thinking.
This is exactly why Galileo was created, and why our approach fosters that natural creativity and independence that all children possess.
We honor Sir Ken Robinson's legacy in the education space by sharing his ideas, voice, and by keeping his values alive. Honoring creativity in children and embracing self-directed education is how we can keep his legacy alive.
Intelligence Is More Than Just Academia
Academic success has long been seen as the gold standard for intelligence, and the way in which traditional education systems are structured only reinforces this misconception.
The late Sir Ken Robinson was a thought leader around the importance of creativity and blazed a trail for change within education. He believed strongly in giving the Arts (subjects such as art, music, dance, and drama) the same importance that learning areas such as maths and literacy receive within traditional education structures.
Sir Ken Robinson reflects on his experience in the British education system (in the early ’60s), where academic systems were used as a divisive tool that favored those who were purely academic.
But have our education systems really changed that much since then?
The academic aptitudes that schools focus on require a specific kind of thinking. This thinking draws on traditional learning systems.
This approach, according to Sir Ken Robinson, is just one kind of intellectual activity and is not an accurate reflection of the diverse intellectual activity that we are all capable of.
This focus on theoretical understanding leaves little room for knowledge to be applied and explored. By focusing purely on academic-style learning and teaching, this approach does not adequately serve the broad and varying needs of young people. Quite the opposite, it cuts out those who do not fit the status quo.
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Life Is a Constant Process of Improvisation and Creativity
At 15, what did you think your life would look like?
Probably nothing like it actually turned out to be.
We spend most of our formative years at school, and during this time we are expected to figure out and plot the roadmap for our life.
However, the opportunities and possibilities available to us are not always clear. At some point, we’ve all had the rude awakening that life is anything but linear.
It’s for this reason that Sir Ken Robinson holds the strong belief that children need to be equipped with a wide variety of skills that prepare them to understand the world around them. It’s for the same reason that Galileo works to equip our students with a broad range of modern, real-world-aligned skills that go beyond the confines of the classroom.
In reminiscing on his own school days, Sir Ken Robinson recalled feeling completely unsure about what his future held. Due to his passion for directing plays with his school friends, his teacher suggested going to a nearby college to study English and theatre.
Through this, Sir Ken Robinson found his passion for the Arts and why he became a strong voice against the structures of traditional education.
By engaging with ‘creative’ subjects, children are able to develop something incredibly important: creative intelligence. In the context of education, creativity is often seen as an abstract concept, rather than a tangible, workable skill or aptitude.
Creative intelligence is not, however, a separate learning experience.
The development of creative intelligence allows children to deeply engage with their own experiences, the experiences of others, and the wider world around them. Skills such as imagination, innovation, and critical original thinking are transferable to all areas of learning -- and life.
It’s Not Curiosity That Killed the Cat: Insights About Alternative Education
Children love to learn. It's a natural process that we’ve all been hardwired to do since birth.
Despite this, we’ve found ourselves in an education system that works against most children’s natural learning instincts.
But how did we get to this point?
Sir Ken Robinson attributes this to the industrial-style system that came about as a result of the increased demand for academic schooling. Systems of education were scaled up to cater to this, and in doing so created a linear process that would lead to the desired outcome: leaving school and ready to attend university.
However, the process of learning is more than just achieving the desired outcome, passing a test, or getting a certain grade -- and many children are suffering as a result.
So where to go from here?
Alternate education programs and non-traditional schooling approaches provide an antidote to this. Children can have their learning journeys customized to work for them, rather than the other way around.
Alternative learning systems allow for loads of benefits for both learners and educators:
- The process provides a humanized experience that focuses on the individual.
- The learning experience takes into account each student’s capacity, strengths, interests, and personality.
- The approach is flexible, agile, and diverse.
- Teachers receive increased support, mentorship, and a closer relationship with students and their families.
Most importantly, alternative learning systems don’t try to change or alter the way in which a child learns. These systems are built to support and nourish a child's natural curiosity and learning impulses that were always there, to begin with.
The Future of Non-Traditional Schooling
Although the mass-education systems that we see today still have many similarities to those from fifty years ago, one thing is clear: change is happening.
With large-scale issues such as what we’re seeing within our education structures, change comes from many places. More specifically, individuals on the ground and policymakers on the top.
Despite the overall stiffness of worldwide policy, a shift is happening from the ground up.
There is room for innovation within existing education structures. Education is not a fixed system, but rather its adaptable and complex.
The ever-evolving digital culture that we find ourselves in is just one factor that is empowering rapid innovation amongst parents, teachers, and students to take control of their own education and develop new models that work on an individual level.
Join the movement. Let’s revolutionize education.
Are you an educator who wants to be a part of something new, future-facing, and drastically different?
Our team of Galileo facilitators brings the love of learning back into the metaphorical classroom, one child at a time.
Our goal is to tailor a learning experience that fits the curiosities and aspirations of each child by preparing them with forward-looking, 21st-century skills that will empower them to be the leaders we know they are.
Forget everything you learned at school and join us on our journey to revolutionize education.