Changing Education

While listening to a podcast titled ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ by Sir Ken Robinson, I found his views on today’s education to be very interesting and thought provoking. During his talk he expresses his opinion on the drugs children are given for ADHD. He believes that these drugs to be an anaesthetic which shuts the children’s senses off and deadens them to what is going on around them. The world is full of amazing things, i.e. computers and game consoles, and they are now being penalised for being distracted from boring subjects. Robinson believes that instead of leading children through education anaesthetised, we should be doing the complete opposite and waking the children up to what is inside them. I find this opinion very interesting as I’ve never really thought of what the drugs are truly doing to the child. Although the drugs are said to be ‘calming the child down’ they are really making the child into a zombie. Children should be encouraged to be themselves and act like children. Children are supposed to run around outside and climb things, we should not be coming to the conclusion that they have a disorder just because they have a lot of energy. If children were running around and exercising more often at school, the excess energy will burn out.

Sir Ken Robinson then goes on to compare schools to working factories. He talks about how they have bells signalling break times, separate facilities and even having areas of the school for individual subjects. I believe this a great point and is very important. Children go to school in uniforms just like workers in a factory and even have different ties to indicate what year group they belong to. The bells that ring for break time emphasise how there is designated time slots for the children to take a break from class or eat their lunch – just like in a factory they can’t take a break when they individually choose to. Robinson questions why children are educated in age groups and states that schools find a child’s manufacture date to be the most important thing about them. I believe that this is a great point that needs to be addressed. Why are children assigned to classes with their own age group? All children have different abilities and it can often be found that many work at higher or lower levels for their age group. Shouldn’t schools be assigning them into classes where the children can be working on the same level as one another? I believe this to be a good idea as it would be effective for the children because teachers often focus their attention on children who struggle rather than those who work on higher levelled work or even the other way around. However, would this cause the children who are ‘less capable’ to be left behind? I think not. As long as the system was thought about and worked with correctly.

Within the podcast, Robinson talks about divergent thinking – when people see multiple answers rather than one or different ways to interpret the question. He gives the example of asking people how many uses there are for a paper clip. A divergent thinker would question the size the paper clip could be or even the material it’s made of – It’s still a paperclip but not as we know it. He goes on to talk about how a test was given to 1500 kindergarten children and that if they scored above a certain level, they were seen as a genius at divergent thinking. Robinson revealed that 98% of the children scored genius level. However, these children were tested over the years between different age groups. The results of the test showed that the older the children were getting, their scores deteriorated. Robinson believes this to because the children have been getting educated. I can understand Sir Ken Robinson’s theory as at school, children are taught for there to be only one correct answer rather than multiple. For an example, during math lessons, you’re taught to complete an equation and that it only has one correct answer. If you don’t have the answer that’s in the back of the text book, you’re automatically told you’re wrong and must fix it.

I believe Sir Ken Robinson has some excellent views on today’s education. Is it time for a change in our education system and how we are teaching children? As Robinson states, we are no longer living in the time that the current education system was designed and structured for.

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