Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

| May 24, 2010

Just stumbled on a nice video by Sir Ken Robinson at the TED Talks.

What I find interesting about this talk is how it runs so nicely through a recurring argument. One would think that the call for revolution is itself a revolutionary movement. But, aside from the amazing (and hilarious) presentation of it here, what is most striking is how common and straightforward this argument is.

We see the clash between the idea of evolutionary progress and radical revision. (Robinson astutely pointing out that the education of today is always predicated on assumptions of the past, rendering it at best outdated.)

But we also see, at heart, his argument for revolution asking us to shift from an industrial model of education based on linearity, conformity, and batching, to the revolutionary new model of…


Now, I know, agriculture, food, the local, sustainable, green, organic, buzzword, buzzword, buzzword… It’s all so very current.

But surely we should not imagine that this is the long awaited revolution?! Aristotle was talking about humans as seeds not a few years ago.

It puts me in an a very interesting place. Because frankly I pretty much agree with him. Education as we know it is conformist junk, but I’m not just talking about those educators over there. I think we have barely scratched the surface when Robinson talks about uncovering our habitual perceptions.

But the thing that is difficult to grapple with is how much our modes of talking about the problem are themselves deeply habitual. We cycle round and round. “Education these days…”, we say as if these days were particularly different.

So how do we address this question? What are we to make of both the importance of recognizing that education is hardly serving us, and our tendency to fall into predictable patterns of critique?