08/01/2013 by Don Quijones
“The current system of education was designed, conceived and structured for a different age. It was conceived in the intellectual culture of the enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the industrial revolution.”
In this, the first, in a three-part series of must-watch Ted Talks, Ken Robinson discusses the failings of our modern school system. In its place, he proposes a new paradigm of education that forsakes the production line mentality to schooling, the most recent manifestation of which has been the massive growth in standardized testing, in favor of a system that encourages collaboration and promotes creative thinking in the classroom.
The continued obsession with an outdated model of education that prizes academic ability and deductive reasoning to the exception of pretty much all else has marginalised millions of children around the globe, Robinson says. As a result of this very narrow conception of the mind and human ability, “many brilliant people think they’re not.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, more and more children, overloaded with stimuli outside the classroom (video games, facebook, wassap, television…), are switching off inside the classroom.
To make matters worse, rather than trying to engage and motivate students, many school boards are turning to the pharmaceutical industry for a quick fix to the growing problem of inattention in the classroom. In the U.S., for example, children as young as seven or eight are being fed powerful prescription drugs, many of which are suspected of causing serious side effects including depression, suicidal tendencies and even psychosis, just to help them make it to the end of the school day.
As Robinson says, “what we’re doing, in effect, is getting our children through education by anaethesising them when what we should be doing is waking them up to what they have inside of them.”