I am a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson, not just what he represents, but the way he expresses himself. He has been appearing in TED Talks, and one of his speeches, perhaps the most famous one, is the all time most watched TED Talk. [The ones, who are not familiar with Sir Robinson, he is actively pushing an education system reform.]
What makes his case so special? Why is his TED talk the most watched? Is he bringing something new to the table that we didn’t know before? Perhaps, but lets have a look what he is all about:
The very clever video infographic that was made from one of Sir Robinson’s speeches, illustrates the problems in the education system he has been pointing out for a while: Since we are all different, why are we being educated in the same way. Arranged to classrooms based on the year we are born. Tested in the same way and measured against one criteria. etc.
So what’s wrong with that? Nothing, if the purpose of the education is to create soldiers and factory workers (which was the case of our 19th century built, still-in-use, education system). But what about today’s world? Machines are replacing physical workforce, army isn’t the largest employer, outside the US at least. Is the current education system applicable for today?
I wrote previously about misconceptions of 3D printing and how one of them is that it will disrupt our society. Well, one could say that the current education system is doing the exactly same, by killing creativity and trying to put everyone into the same mold. We are all different, how can we fit to the same mold.
Personally, I have only studied in two countries, Finland and Thailand, and can only refer to those systems, by experience. Finland has been going to the right direction for more than ten years already. For example, when I went to high I was able to choose classes based on my interests, and was able to build my own curriculum based on a certain framework. So, the concept that Sir Robinson is talking about, is not entirely new, it’s just not as well applied in other countries.
Thailand on the other hand, has some serious issues that are not only the education system related but also culture related. Such as, inability for the students to question the teacher, as he is a higher ranking person in the society. The sad part of the story is that since you have been thought this way since you were a little kid, when you reach the university age, your brain is still surrounded with the same limitation. For most cases you become lazy to think, and your creativity is severely effected.
Here’s Sir Ken Robinson’s latest TED Talk from May 2013, where he is explaining the need for rebuilding the education system: