Thursday, April 01, 2010

TED: Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.

Funny how grandmotherhood "reactivates" interest in some things.


Issa said...

Hey there, I followed you from your comment on my blog. I listened to this video and it's sticking with me, so I'll probably post about it, but I wanted to comment here, too. I love getting comments, so I like to give them, too, when someone's post sparks a thought! :-)

I'm interested in education because I was a childcare professional for many years, and now I'm trying to have kids of my own. Since education becomes such a huge part of a kid's life, it's something I've given a lot of thought to, even though kids of my own aren't here yet. Some of the things he mentions in this video are the reasons I plan to "unschool" my (future) kids. I hate the term unschooling, but it's already popular (very googlable!), so I use it. Are you familiar with unschooling? I guess it's similar to homeschooling, in that the kids don't go to school, but unlike homeschooling, unschoolers don't have a curriculum or learning program at home, either. In a nutshell, I guess I'd say it's just letting your kids live, instead of "schooling" them, letting their own interests and desires dictate what they do with their days and what activities they pursue. It addresses some of the schooling ills mentioned in the TED video, such as school squelching a kid's natural desires and talents, focusing on the few topics that are good for industrial business, and whittling the child's passion down to just one half of their brain.

In an ideal world, I think school is a great idea, where kids can interact with a bunch of other kids, have teachers on hand to provide inspiration and info, and pooling resources to offer lots of great tools. In reality, though, I think school can be a very scary place for a child's mind and therefore the world, especially when it comes to creativity, critical and independent thought, and just joy and happiness. There are some great examples of awesome alternative schools, like the Sudbury Valley Schools ( and some Montessori schools, but it's hard to find them.

Anyway, this is a very long comment! :-) I haven't delved into your blog enough to know how old your grandkid(s) are, beyond the little one I saw (so cute!) I'm curious if there's anything in the works as an alternative to regular schools for your grandkid(s) or if you did anything differently with your own, or your thoughts how education of your kid(s) went. Or just your thoughts on the video in general. Or just ignore me; I'm quite ramble-y today! :-)

Oldnovice said...

Thanks for stopping by, Issa, and thanks for leaving the link to your fella's blog, as well. From what I've read of him, I like the way he thinks also.

Astrid is my first grandchild. Em has a grandson locally and two granddaughters in Illinois, but I've not had opportunities to get to know them. Children are fascinating, IMO. I enjoyed every stage of development with my three and hope to observe Astrid's passage similarly. I didn't know if I'd have the patience at this age. Em didn't and still doesn't, but he won't interfere with my desires to nurture a relationship with my granddaughter.

There was recently a discussion that started at Crunchy's place and finished at Sharon's place on unschooling. I don't typically venture to Sharon's simply because I don't share her doomer philosophy, but I was interested in this topic.

I'd considered homeschooling (although not unschooling) when No. 1 was born. I already had a well-established career, though, and my earning potential was significant. I also loved my job and would have paid them to let me do the stuff I did. My husband at the time also balked at the idea, citing concerns of lack of socialization, etc. which really amounted to, "You make too much money to quit your job!"

To further complicate matters (because, as Gilda said, "There's ALWAYS something!", my sister-in-law's boyfriend was a budding psychologist who administered an IQ test to No. 1 when she was quite young, the results of which led me to ask, "Should I start her in school early, teach her at home?" to which he replied, "Both." I regret starting her in a private school at 4 years old, although she turned out okay in the end despite my stupidity. Truth is: MOST turn out okay in the end despite parental stupidity.

If I were to have an opinion on unschooling these days it would only be to suggest that every child is different in the way(s) they learn. It could work quite well for some, but others really need the structure that some kind of program provides. While my first was attending the grossly expensive private school, the second and third attended Montessori. No. 2 was self-motivated and an ideal candidate for Montessori's methods, but #3 (the boy) was basically feral until 5 years of age when he suddenly civilized (for no apparent reason). He beats to a whole different drummer as an adult, too and I think I see a lot of him in you and your guy.

All three ended up going to public school with me supplementing that education with "after schooling" and "summer schooling". Dunno if that "home schooling" did any good or not, but I don't think ANY time spent with your children is time wasted.