Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reflection on Ken Robinson TED Presentation

Just sat and watched Ken Robinson’s TED presentation on creativity. I will admit to reluctantly watching the talk. I have read some of Ken Robinson’s interviews and was not particularly impressed. I did find this presentation interesting, and not just because I am married to a college professor and found the part on the body being a method of transport for the brain HILARIOUS.

What’s not to agree with the premise “educating the whole person”… how Jesuit! I work in an environment which espouses this daily. The reality I find a little harder. With pressure for higher test scores and more prestigious college entrance, our school is on the front lines of what Robinson was discussing. How do you explain to parents (with scores and college as the measure of success) that a child’s development may lead away from their concept of success? I even sense this as a parent myself. When my child brings home a “C”, I pause... that is not the sign of success I want to see. But then I stop, what is important in this child’s development? A “C” on homework, or the bright, happy child I am watching grow into a social advocate? It’s still hard though. Success is defined by “A’s”.

I am concerned with Robinson’s definition of creativity. He defines creativity as, “the process of having original ideas that have value.” Value to whom? As we just discussed, ideals of success may not be the industrial driven focus that our education system was built on. So what value are we to put on original thought? Financial? Knowledge? Problem Solving? I am concerned that putting any value definition on original thought brings us right back to Robison’s supposed premise – that we educate the whole person. How do you put value on a person?

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