Ken Robinson Talk

I’ve been an insider in education my entire life. My parents were profs and then later worked in the public schools system as teachers and administrators.The biggest problem with schools, at least in the opinion of my father, were the teachers themselves. Very few are willing to train in new teaching techniques. And are more likely to go with an existing (sometimes 30 year old) lesson plan instead of making a new one.

But its easy to point a finger. The problem as I know it is that there are too many people involved that “think” they know about education. From the school board, mayor, governer and our own Moron ‘n Chief. They think they know about education because they experienced school. More ignored research has gone into improving learning in the last 40 years then was made to put man on the moon. It can’t get used because it doesn’t look like what we know to be education. A classroom has 20 people in it with 1 deliverator. Thing is you could have a classroom with 40 people in it with all them being teachers and learners using modern learning tools and it would be 80 times more effective.

When I was in 6th grade an amazing accident happened. The smart kids in the class challenged the deliverator who threw up her arms and said “think your so smart?! teach yourselves….” So we did. That year I learned more about math then I ever did in following years. We figured out that our parents knew a lot about a lot of things. One flew airplanes, another was a rocket engineer, somebody’s mom wrote for a living. We probed them and then taught back what we learned to each other. One thing that stood out for me was discovering alternate numbering systems. What a mind blow to find out how to count using 2, 8 or even 26 unique numbers. I remember it to this day what I felt when I groked it. It was a huge aha for me. I would have never had that experience had the deliverator been dishing it out.

I know from my own experiences as a teacher what the long time teacher is up against. Time being the biggest issue. What I found though was that it was less about teaching and more about performing. All the worlds indeed a stage…

That meant that I had to be on my game but more importantly I had to get the students to perform as well. Simply sittting in the classroom taking notes is a sure way to learn nothing. When teaching After Effects (or any app for that matter) it was show and do every day. Eventually you caught on enough that you didn’t need my help. When the grok light came on. And when that happened real learning happened. That usually took about 7-8 weeks.

But more often then not the students really only wanted recipes. Scripts to follow that would allow them to get by. Because sadly, there was very little creative in them. Sometimes I found a kid that oozed creative. In art school this was 1 in 20. The rest had no chance.

When “The Wall” came out when I was in 8th grade I really didn’t understand the song “We don’t need know education!!” I knew that I hated half of school. The art, photographer, speech, math and science classes were fun. “We don’t need no thought control.” At least the teachers there were passionite about their subjects. “No dark sarcasm in the classroom.” English and History didn’t hold my interest. “Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone!” It turns out the reason was simply “context.”

If you are just learning to spew there is no point. The classes that I hated were the “spew” classes. Pointless learning for no reason.

Today I really understand the song. Sadly, it won’t be in my lifetime when it’s message is finally taken for what it means. Stop taking the kid out of the kid.

An art teacher used to tell this story at the beginning of a new class….

Tommy and the Houe – 2017 audio

Tommy and the House – 2006 – MOV version