Fantastic educational speaker – Sir Ken Robinson

I recently read a review of a book “Having Meta Skills will make you happy” at BOOK BUZZ, I found the review so fascinating that I left a review of the “review” !

following on from that, the author of the review article responded signposting Sir Ken Robinson. After a quick google search I found that Ken had provided numerous talks about education via the TED platform – ideas worth spreading – never having watched a poor TED talk I proceeded to watch some of his works and made notes as I went along, below are links to the short and incredibly insightful videos that Ken has spoken in and a few notes from those speeches.


Schools kill creativity

19 mins 24 secs

  • Kid’s will take chances and will be prepared to be wrong.
  • Adults fear being wrong.
  • Is the purpose of education to create university professors, who live in their heads !


Bring on the revolution

16 mins 48 secs

  • We make poor use of our talents.
  • We’re all good at something.
  • Some people endure rather than enjoy what they do !
  • Education can dislocate people from their natural talents.
  • Abraham Lincoln “The dogma’s of the quite past are inadequate to the stormy present, the occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion, as our case is new so we must think anew and act anew, we must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country”
  • Don’t take things for granted.
  • Kid’s don’t wear watches anymore because it’s a single function device !
  • Are we obsessed with getting people to college ?
  • Kids being interviewed to go to Kindergarden !
  • Industrialised fast food model of education is wrong, what we actually need is an agricultural model of education where we create an environment for people to flourish and grow.
  • Time is plastic, when we are passionate it flies, but when we are enduring the task it drags.


Changing education paradigms

11 mins 40 secs

  • Education reforms occur in two strands (i) Economic (ii) Cultural
  • Trying to meet the future by doing what’s been done in the past won’t work.
  • Historically – If you worked hard you got a job – this isn’t guaranteed anymore.
  • The current system of education was conceived in the culture of the enlightenment and industrial revolution, we’ve moved on from that !
  • Before the 19th century there was no real public education systems.
  • Working class kids were considered incapable of learning to read or write
  • We were driven by an economic imperative of the time.
  • It defined two types of people – academic and non academic – smart people and not smart people !
  • Most people do not benefit from the education system.
  • Does ADHD really exist ?
  • Kids are now medicated as routinely as removing tonsils – because it’s fashionable !
  • Kids are living in the most intensely stimulating period in history and we are penalising them for getting distracted.
  • ADHD has risen in line with standardised testing processes which have  forced us into a compliance model.
  • We use drugs to calm kids down !
  • The ARTS utilise senses operating at their peak.
  • An anaesthetic deadens the senses and drugs do just that !
  • We should be awakening kids to their true potential
  • The current system of education is modelled on industrialised model. 
  • Why do we batch kids up into production lines !
  • We knock divergent / lateral thinking out of people as they move through the education system !
  • The more educated we are the less creative we become – we’re told there’s only one answer !
  • Most great learning happens in groups, so we focus on the individual !
  • Collaboration is the stuff of growth.


How to escape educations death valley

19 mins 11 secs

  • No child left behind is leaving millions of children behind !
  • In the united states 60% of kids drop out of high school.
  • If we could half the drop out rate, it would create a net gain to the US economy within 10 years of nearly a trillion dollars !

There are three basic principles that human life flourishes under 

(i) Humans are naturally diverse, no two people are the same.

  • but education systems is generally based on conformity !
  • does ADHD really exist – shouldn’t we embrace personal growth – especially in children !

(ii) Curiosity

  • Light the spark and kids will learn without assistance.
  • Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
  • Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools.
  • Teaching is a creative profession not just an information delivery system.
  • Great teachers mentor, stimulate, provoke and engage.
  • Teachers facilitate learning – that is all !
  • Testing should not be the dominant culture of teaching or obstruct the process !
  • The process is currently compliant learning rather than exciting curious learning

(iii) Human life is inherently creative

  • We create our lives 
  • Finland have 0% school drop out rate
  • There is little standardised testing in Finland
  • High performing schools :-

(a) individualise teaching and learning, students are the learners and the system has to engage them

(b) attribute high status to profession of teaching.

(c) devolve responsibility to school level to getting the job done.

  • Current policies are based on mechanistic model of education.
  • Education is NOT an industrial process – it’s more an agricultural process where we create an environment for people to learn and thrive.
  • Organisms, which humans are, thrive under specific conditions.
  • Create a climate of possibility.

Further information about Ken and his great thinkings with more videos and articles is available at his incredible web site :-



Please add a comment if you enjoyed or learn’t something from this quick review of some of Ken’s fantastic material.


One Response to “Fantastic educational speaker – Sir Ken Robinson”

  1. infostocksy Says:

    Sir Ken was added the the WEA Educational Thinkers’ hall of fame in november 2013 –

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