Ken Robinson _ Grassroots Learning Revolution - Educpros

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<ul><li><p>Accueil Entretiens Ken Robinson : Grassroots learning revolution</p><p>ON EN PARLE Crise f inancire l'universit de Versailles-Saint-Quentin : qui la faute ?</p><p>Ken Robinson : Grassroots learningrevolutionEmmanuel Davidenkoff | Publi le 27 .1 1 .201 3 1 5H22, mis jour le 27 .1 1 .201 3 1 7 H53</p><p>Ken Robinson // DR</p><p>Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of</p><p>creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business. He</p><p>works with governments and educations systems in Europe, Asia and the USA</p><p>and his talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been viewed more than</p><p>25 million times. His 2009 best seller The Element: How Finding Your Passion</p><p>Changes Everything has been translated into 21 languages. Ken Robinson,</p><p>invited by EducPros, will give a conference in Paris on december 12 in their</p><p>head office. Interview.</p><p>The key to success is to combine "the things we love to do and the things we</p><p>are good at". All right. However, you more often take your examples among</p><p>the artists and entrepreneurs than among the plumbers and supermarket</p><p>cashiers.</p><p>The Element is where talent meets passion. We all have our own unique talents and passions.</p><p>I do give some examples of artists and entrepreneurs. But I also talk about scientists and</p><p>teachers, cooks and community workers, cleaners and parents. There arent any specific</p><p>roles or activities that appeal to everyone equally. Something that I might love to do, you</p><p>might find boring and unfulfilling, and vice versa. Finding your Element is about</p><p>finding what works best for you. Its about finding yourself.</p><p>People develop themselves "against" (against their teachers, against the status</p><p>quo, against authority figures...) Could we say that all the artists and</p><p>entrepreneurs you mention also made themselves against adversity ?</p><p>Not everyone has to struggle to be in their Element, but some people do. They may have to</p><p>push back against their practical circumstances or culture, or against the attitudes of their</p><p>parents, teachers or other authority figures. They may feel held back by the expectations of</p><p>their friends, lovers or spouses. Were all affected by other peoples opinions of us and it can</p><p>be very difficult to create new ways of being and of being seen. Thats why I talk so much in</p><p>The Element about the obstacles you may have to face and how people in different</p><p>circumstances have dealt with them. </p><p>You say that the child has to find, as early as possible, his calling, a purpose...</p><p>How may school contribute to that ?</p><p>You can find your Element at any age, not only when youre young. And were not confined to</p><p>one Element for life. Its perfectly usual for passions and talents to evolve as we mature and</p><p>discover more about ourselves and the world around us. Formal education often gets in the</p><p>way because it is typically focussed on a very narrow idea of talent and doesnt encourage us</p><p>to explore our personal interests. One way that schools could help is by providing a broad</p><p>curriculum in the early years, so that children have more opportunities to discover their</p><p>talents, and by allowing them in later years to specialise more in areas they especially</p><p>Entretien | International, Innovation</p></li><li><p>enjoy.</p><p>Going back to basics doesnt make any sense. But what can be done when a</p><p>large proportion of the pupils dont master those basics ?</p><p>By "the basics" people normally mean mathematics and literacy. Im not saying that students</p><p>shouldnt master these disciplines. I think they should. But theyre much more likely to do so</p><p>if theyre interested and engaged in education and thats one of my arguments for more</p><p>creative approaches to treaching and learning. But the basics are much more than this. They</p><p>are the fundamental purposes that underpin education: economic, cultural, social and</p><p>personal. To meet these purposes schools need a broad and balanced approach to</p><p>education that includes not only mathematics and literacy but the arts, sciences, humanities</p><p>and physical education. This is one of the basic implications of The Element.</p><p>You say that school has pushed aside "the heart, the body, the senses and a</p><p>good portion of our actual brains". In practical terms, how could we take them</p><p>back ?</p><p>There are three core processes in education: the curriculum, which is what we want students</p><p>should learn; teaching, which is how we help them to do it; and assessment, which is how we</p><p>judge their progress. Current forms of education are based on a narrow view of academic</p><p>ability and they result in limited curricula, restricted styles of teaching and impersonal forms</p><p>assessment that are dominated by raw numbers and grades. Education should engage the</p><p>whole student, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically. To do that in practice</p><p>we need to transform curricula, teaching and assessment. In The Element I give various</p><p>examples of how this is being done.</p><p>We are going the wrong way altogether: "jobs and competitiveness depend</p><p>absolutely on the very qualities that school systems are being forced to tamp</p><p>down". Could you be more specific ?</p><p> One of the purposes of education is economic. One of the problem is that current systems of</p><p>education are based on an outdated view of economics and business.</p><p>In 2010, IBM published "Capitalising on Complexity", a study that was based on personal</p><p>interviews with 1.500 CEOS from companies of all sizes across 60 countries, representing 33</p><p>industries. The report concluded that two of the most important challenges that companies</p><p>face are a) adapting to rapid change and b) developing a culture of innovation. For</p><p>these they need people who can think creatively, work well in teams and respond quickly to</p><p>new opportunities. Typically, education does not prepare students for these roles in working</p><p>life. On the contrary, it tends to promote compliance and to suppress creativity.</p><p>"One of the enemies of creativity is common sense". Yet some basic rules have</p><p>to be taught. Could you expect that a child, by doubting, will rebuild the</p><p>principles that underlie the multiplication tables ?</p><p>Of course not and I dont make this argument in the Element. Being creative doesnt mean</p><p>breaking all rules the sake of it. Often, creativity is encouraged by boundaries and</p><p>restrictions think of the rules of sports and games. But sometimes innovation does</p><p>come from challenging accepted ways of thinking and behaving. Thats how new</p><p>games come about.</p><p>Human culture evolves precisely because of our ability to discover to new ways of doing</p><p>things. Getting the balance right between tradition and imnnovation, convention and</p><p>creativity is at the heart of good education and of creativity.</p><p>Intelligence is brought down to verbal and mathematical reasoning. This dates</p><p>back to Greek antiquity, and was reinforced by the Industrial Revolution and</p><p>the Age of Enlightenment. Pretty heavy legacy. How can we break with twenty</p><p>centuries of history ?</p><p>I dont say that intelligence has been reduced to verbal and mathematical reasoning. These</p><p>are essential skills and they can be used in highly creative ways. But theres much</p><p>more to human intelligence than these, which is why human culture is so various and</p><p>fascinating.</p><p>For historical reasons, education has become pre-occupied with certain types of 'academic'</p><p>ability with certain uses of verbal and mathematical reasoning. I believe this is already</p><p>Formal education often gets in the way because it istypically focussed on a very narrow idea of talent</p><p>Education should engage the whole student,intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and</p><p>physically</p></li><li><p>changing. In the culture at large there is a growing understanding of the range and vitality of</p><p>intelligence. Education is changing too. Our task is to promote and accelerate these</p><p>changes.</p><p>The influence of peers is stronger than that of parents. This wont get any</p><p>better with social networks, "like" culture, peer groups.</p><p>Yes, the evidence is that young people can be influenced more by their friends and peer</p><p>groups than by their parents. Social networking sites can increase this influence and that they</p><p>can have negative as well as positive effects. We should remember though that peer influence</p><p>is not always bad and parental influence is not always good.</p><p>The real task is to help young people develop their powers of critical judgement and their</p><p>own sense of identity, purpose and resilience. Helping them to discover their individual</p><p>talents and passions to find their Element is an essential part of that process.</p><p>The system you describe should not have spotted you, who attended a special</p><p>school from the age of five. You differed from the norm on more than one</p><p>account.</p><p>Everyone differs from the norm on more than one account. Ive had various mentors and</p><p>guides who have played significant roles at different points in my life. The same is true for</p><p>many of the people I feature in the Element. Mentors can be tremendously important for all</p><p>of us. Often they can see potential in us that were slow to recognise in ourselves.</p><p>Breaking the barriers between subjects in order to show the unity of</p><p>knowledge. On paper this seems almost obvious. But is it a realist idea when all</p><p>systems, all curriculums, from primary school to university, are divided into</p><p>subjects ?</p><p>There are many ways of organising the curriculum. "Subjects" are often the least useful.</p><p>Mathematics is not really a subject; nor is music or history. They are disciplines that are</p><p>characterised by particular processes, concepts, techniques and interests, which overlap and</p><p>intersect in all sorts of ways. Disciplines are constantly evolving. In the early 19</p><p>century, chemistry, literature, psychology and sociology werent studied in universities as</p><p>they are now. They simply hadnt evolved as we recognize them today. Schools and</p><p>universities that try to stand still as knowledge evolves around the will</p><p>inevitably become irrelevant.</p><p>"Investing in the improvement of teaching and the status of great teachers".</p><p>In many countries however, the idea of merit pay is much debated. How could</p><p>merit be measured so that teachers would agree to be subjected to such</p><p>assessment ?</p><p>Great schools depend on great teachers. Great teaching is a sophisticated and multi-</p><p>dimensional process. Like the rest of us, teachers like to be recognised when they do a good</p><p>job. The problem is that too often they are judged only by the raw test results of their</p><p>students. A fair system of evaluating teachers would also consider the quality of their</p><p>teaching, their impact as mentors and their wider value in the life of the school and the</p><p>community. Merit pay is only one form of reward and not necessarily the best</p><p>one. It can create difficulties that other forms of public and professional recognition do not.</p><p>Personalizing education Could MOOCs contribute to it ? Can you see a</p><p>fundamental change in them? Or just a temporary trend ?</p><p>More and more, education has to be personalised: it has to be tailored to the interests and</p><p>learning styles of individual students. Digital technologies provide tremendous opportunities</p><p>for doing this, both in the access they give to ideas, information and networks and in the tools</p><p>they provide for research, study and creativity. They will and they should transform</p><p>education in the years ahead.</p><p>MOOCs are an example of the huge global demand for learning and they are</p><p>already generating new economic and pedagogical models, especially for higher</p><p>education. They are also producing fascinating data on new approaches to teaching and</p><p>learning. Whether they will survive in the current form is hard to say but we should all be</p><p>paying close attention to the lessons they are already teaching us.</p><p>Grangeton, Reggio Emilia Alternative experiences do exist, and you mention</p><p>several of them. However, they dont even expand in their own area, let alone</p><p>in their country. Why ?</p><p>Getting the balance right between tradition andimnnovation, convention and creativity is at the</p><p>heart of good education and of creativity</p><p>th</p></li><li><p>These are just two examples of "alternative" models of education. There are many others and</p><p>they stand in a long tradition of alternative education that includes the work of Maria</p><p>Montessori, John Dewey and many others. Such examples are growing around the world.</p><p>Reggio Emilia, for example, has had tremendous influence on the education of young</p><p>children far beyond Italy.</p><p>Its important to remember that education is a human process, not a</p><p>mechanical one. It cant be replicated like making motor cars and exported to new</p><p>markets like inanimate products. Education is much more like agriculture. It is a slow,</p><p>seasonal process thats affected by climate, local conditions and circumstances. And it has to</p><p>be constantly tended and nurtured. As the world climate for education continues to change,</p><p>these alternatives will continue to take root in many new and fertile settings.</p><p>Imagine you were the Secretary for Education in France, which has 800.000</p><p>teachers. You are given an extra 2.5 billion euros (3.4 billion dollars) each year</p><p>on top of a 46 billion euro budget (62 billion dollars). What will you do with</p><p>them (In France, additional teaching positions were created, without</p><p>increasing salaries) ?</p><p>I dont claim to be an expert in the economics of the French education system and dont have</p><p>detailed knowledge of all the challenges in different areas of the country. In general, though,</p><p>the greatest impact in educational achievement comes from supporting the</p><p>professional development of teachers.</p><p>In my experience, three keys areas in which teachers need professional support are a)</p><p>creative approaches to teaching and learning b) teaching and learning with digital</p><p>technologies c) personalising student assessment. If a 5% annual increase in the education</p><p>budget were targeted on professional development in these areas, it could have a huge impact</p><p>on the quality of teaching, learning and achievement in all schools.</p><p>You say that schools follow the fast-food model instead of the Michelin guide</p><p>model. However, the Michelin restaurants cost a fortune.</p><p>One of the myths of the catering industry is that fast food is cheap and good food is</p><p>expensive. Burgers may be cheap for the consumer but we should also count the real costs to</p><p>our economies and societies. They include the disastrous impact of industrial food</p><p>production on the the environment and the soaring medical costs of treating diabetes, heart</p><p>disease and obesity. These arent included in the cost of burger but we cover them</p><p>nonetheless as taxpayers. The ingredients of healthy food are not necessarily more expensive</p><p>and the health benefits can be much greater.</p><p>Its the same with education. Systems of mass education that alienate many students and fail</p><p>to meet the real challenges we all face is an expensive waste of resources. Quality educaton</p><p>that cultivates the real interests and talents of students is no more expensive</p><p>and is a much better investment for all of us.</p><p>Your TED conference on creativity was viewed 17 million times, and the</p><p>animation entitled "Changing education paradigms...</p></li></ul>