“The reason I think we need a revolution [in education] is really captured in a phrase you hear politicians often misuse. They talk about the need to ‘get back to basics’ in education; and, I think, we should. The problem, I think, is that many politicians, when they say “get back to basics”, seem to believe the basics are a group of subjects that they did when they were at school; and in particular, they tend to emphasise literacy and numeracy and science. Well, of course, they are fantastically important; but the basics of education are not a group of subjects. The basics in education are fundamental purposes …”
“I find it interesting; people can talk all day about education, but never mention ‘learning’. And, therefore, what I’m arguing is that the education revolution has to be based on a radical commitment to improving learning, however that happens”.
Sir Ken Robinson
September 17, 2011
In his latest talk, Sir Ken not only identifies the basics in education as “fundamental purposes” that manifest in economics, culture and personal realities; he markedly identifies specific core principles that would radically improve learning:
“Education is not a mechanistic process; it is a process that depends upon the imaginations and interests of students being properly engaged. So, at the root of my call for a revolution is the need to personalise education”.“Every student has their own story; every student has their own menu of interests and of talents; it has to be about them. It has to be about improving the motivation and opportunities for creativity of teachers. Teaching is an art form; it’s not just a delivery system. Great teachers are people who know how to mediate their material in a way that really does inspire the imaginations and ignite the creativity of their students”.
“Wherever students learn, that is the education system for them. It’s not the committee rooms of our parliament buildings, it is not the boardrooms of our examinations boards; education happens in the schools or learning communities that students attend, and that for them is ‘the system. So, customising education to those students, to this place, these needs, this community, is absolutely critical”.
“Our current drive towards standardisation offends the principle of diversity on which human life depends and flourishes … human life is inherently diverse and we need to celebrate that in our school systems. Instead, too often, we subscribe to a rather bland menu of conformity.”
“Education isn’t just what happens in formal school buildings; it should involve great institutions … like our great museums, our great science institutions; it should be a genuine partnership with the community more generally”.
Sir Ken maintains that these principles underpin the debate for revolutionising education and for moving beyond curricula per se; they provide the impetus to making education deeply personal by improving the quality of the learning.
Watch the video of Sir Ken’s inspirational introduction at TEDx, London; or download the transcript: