I was visiting Montessori Matters a couple days ago, where Pilar had posted this amazing video animation to Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on changing education paradigms:
Not only is the animation worth watching (so cool), but the message is extremely important.
Here are a few highlights from the video, if you don’t have 12 minutes (though I really recommend you watch it – more than once – to get the full meaning. It’s worth your time, really.)
On education reform:
“Every country on earth is reforming education…
….the problem is they’re trying to meet the future by doing what they did in the past and on the way they’re alienating millions of kids who don’t see any purpose in going to school… and they’re right (kids not thinking there’s a purpose to going to school) particularly not if the route to it (going to school, getting a college degree) marginalizes most of the things you think are important about yourself…”
On outdated education models:
“…This is deep in the gene pool of public education that there are really two types of people: academic & non academic, smart people & non- smart people and the consequence of that is that many brilliant people think they’re not because they’ve been judged against this particular view of the mind…”
…this model has caused chaos in many people’s lives. Most people have not. Instead they suffer…
On school being boring instead of exciting:
“An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak… when you’re present in the current moment… when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing when you’re fully alive….
An anesthetic is when you shut your senses off… we’re getting our children through education by anesthetizing them. And I think we should be doing the exact opposite, we should be waking them up to what they have inside of themselves….”
On school being like a factory:
“…The system of education is modeled on the interests of industrialism & the in the image of it. Schools are still pretty much organized on factory lines: ringing bells, separate facilities, specialized subjects...still educate children by batches. We put them through the system by age group. Why do we do that? Why is there this assumption that the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are? The most import thing about them is their date of manufacture?
I know kids who are much better than other kids at the same age in different disciplines. Or at different times of the day. Or better in smaller groups than in large groups or sometimes they want to be on their own.
If you’re interested in learning you don’t start from this production line mentality.... essentially about conformity and increasingly about that as you look at the growth of standardized testing and standardized curricula. It's about standardization, I believe we have to go in the exact opposite direction….”
On humans’ capacity for learning and thinking:
“… we all have a capacity (for divergent thinking)… [but] it mostly deterioriates…. [after kids] spend 10 years in school being told there’s ONE answer, its at the back, and don’t look, and don’t copy. Because that’s cheating… outside of school that’s called collaboration, but inside schools [it’s cheating].
We have to think differently about human capacity…. We have to get over old conception of academic vs. non-academic and see it for what it is: a myth.
You have to recognize that most great learning happens in groups. Collaboration is the stuff of growth….”
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There is so much good information in this video, so much to think about; and much of it true to what I’ve experienced and believe about education.
I believe that children can learn to LOVE learning, if they are given the opportunity to do so in a free, open, self-directed environment. This may be a Montessori school, a homeschool, an unschooling environment, maybe even a public school (though this has not been my experience; if it has been yours, please share!). When children are able to be themselves, to follow what they are naturally interested in and not to not have to worry about homework, tests, or grades, they find that learning, just for the sake of learning – because we know our brains are capable of SO much, not just what a state or country determines we should be learning at a specific period of time in our life – is amazing and awesome!
When you get away from the idea that there is only one right answer, and are praised for “thinking outside the box”, children have the ability to come up with the MANY right answers that are out there. I believe it is so important to foster independent thinkers who are taught how to use their minds, how to think through things – instead of specifically WHAT and HOW to think – because those children will become the adults that will direct change in this world.
Hope you enjoyed the video!