Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Paradigms in Education

22 Oct 2010

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Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources, and author of a range of books on the subject.

In this hugely entertaining and funny talk about changing paradigms in education, Robinson argues that we need a revolution in education.

The great challenge for education is the tyranny of common sense.

Many of our ideas have been formed not to meet the circumstances of this century, but to meet the circumstances of the last. Yet our minds are still hypnotized by them and we have to disenthrall ourselves of some of these ideas.

One of the things we are enthralled to in education is the notion of linearity. That if you start at a point and go through a track, you will end up being set up for the rest of your life.

We have become obsessed with the linear narrative and the pinnacle for education is getting into college. This linearity is a problem. Not everybody needs to go to college.

Life is organic. Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability.

At the heart of our challenge is reconstituting our sense of ability and of intelligence.

The other big problem is conformity. It is impoverishing our spirits and our energies.

We have to recognize that human talent is tremendously divers. People have very different aptitudes.

We must change metaphors.

We have to go from an industrial model of education based on linearity and conformity to a system of education that is based on the principle of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process. It is an organic process. You cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.

Editor's Note: You might also be interested in a graphically animated version of Sir Ken Robinson's views on "Changing Education Paradigms".

You can find this page online at

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