Closing LWF12, Sir Ken Robinson did much more than draw together the various themes and ideas from the conference. Instead, he used his closing talk to discuss the “revolution” he believes is needed (and is already happening) in education. Echoing the conclusions of his 2006 TED Talk and purpose of his 2010 TED Talk, he referred quickly to the struggle between “whole child” education and the propensity of governments to want to “control” and “test” education.
Robinson created a highly compelling polemic. He went on to address the disconnect between practice, theory and policy, as well as the technological and social changes that are feed into the need for a learning revolution. He outlined what he believes to be the purposes of education and then set about, under the headings: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, and Assessment, recommending a series of changes needed to improve education. These included:
- Emphasising personalised (independent) learning;
- Customising education for communities;
- A move away from “subjects” to “disciplines”;
- Encouraging collaborative learning strategies;
- Shifting the emphasis in assessment away from “judgement” to “description”.
What I found most gratifying about Robinson’s talk was the emphasis he put on teachers and schools. He believes that teaching is at the heart of education, reminding us (the teachers) that we are part of the system and therefore can, if we choose to, change it. He recognised that there were many of us already doing so and continued by saying: “If you’re waiting for a government to start the revolution, I think you’ll be waiting a long time”. In closing he declared that:
We need to be part of the solution for the revolution and not part of the problem
With that sentiment in mind, I invite you to join me (and a host of other educators) on Thursday, March 1, between 8pm and 9pm, for #ukedchat, where we will be addressing the following question:
Are schools (as physical spaces) necessary to facilitate learning in the 21st century
The question is (I hope) a jumping off point for a debate about what schooling should be like in the 21st century. You can read my full provocation, here.
Ken Robinson – Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative
Ken Robinson with Lou Aronica – The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything