Creative Schools: A Book Review by AskteacherZ

Educational Assembly Lines still pump out Model "A" Grades to 21st Century Students!

Little doubt remains that the current emphasis on standardized education squelches creativity. In the book Creative Schools author Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D. argues masterfully that the industrial aged, one-size fits all, the educational structure of yesteryear exists in our schools still to this day but in a most destructive manner. To curb this continued course and positively transform education it will take a revolution of the masses.

Revolts begin with disseminating information to crystallize the unity of the many. Identifying curricular outcome flaws is often not enough to sway involvement. However, presenting the political purse of maintaining ancient industrial education testing techniques is a powerful motivator.

The sticker price to clone learning costs billions of dollars. Testing and supporting students in the United States is a booming big business. It finances political electioneering and drives the education systems. In 2013 the revenue was $16.5 billion. To put this in perspective Robinson points out that in the same year the U.S. domestic cinema box office grossed a little less than $11 billion and the National Football League (NFL) is a $9 billion business (pg. 165). Moviegoers and football fans would never continue to pay for tickets if their return was anything like what's put in front of students in the form of standardized tests. The current educational system shortchanges consumers. We're purchasing an inferior end product for our students.

Student engagement, learning outcomes and success of career preparedness depend upon allowing individuals the opportunity to pursue their interests, innovate and collaborate within the realm of educational curricula. Now with over 8 million views on YouTube Ken Robinson's TED Talks presentation from 2007 titled Do Schools Kill Creativity is an introduction to this very topic that is expanded upon in his 2015 book. In short, Creative Schools contains all of what he was unable to say in 18 minutes 8 years ago.

The Heart of Education is the Relationship between the Students and the Teacher

As a mission, all teachers enter the profession with the intent of making a difference in the lives of those whom they serve. Regardless of the age, subject or role in education (as I described in my "Bad" blog post in June 2015) all educators want students to become compassionate, innovative and active citizens in the future. Ken Robinson explains and expands upon this perspective very well with his humorous analogies, sarcasm, school and classroom observation examples and educational data.

The drill and test industrial aged education model of old must give way to a modern-day creative one. Project-based learning, maker spaces and a technology integrated curriculum need to be advanced, promoted and implemented in schools. Factors such as motivation, class size and funding can no longer be the crutch to explain the lack of student success. Schools and staff need to be supported and valued more by government leadership to allow for the building of quality relationships with students, parents, and community.

Education, as Robinson eloquently writes, is "...cluttered with every sort of distraction. There are political agendas, national priorities, union bargaining positions, building codes, job descriptions, parental ambitions, peer pressures. The list goes on. But the heart of education is the relationship between the student and the teacher. Everything else depends on how productive and successful that relationship is. If that is not working, then the system is not working. If students are not learning, education is not happening. Something else may be going on, but it's not education (pg 71-72)." Simply put, the priority in education needs to be about discovering individual talent not determining deficiencies. Discovering the gifts of each individual student is accomplished only through the building of positive relationships.

Creative Schools needs to make an appearance at some point on everyone's nightstand. Sir Ken Robinson doesn't disappoint. He's crafted a brilliant, inspiring and thought-provoking book on where education needs to be and how to get there. When finished you'll have a more profound understanding of the education world.


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