Sunday, June 7, 2015

Just reading - Creative Schools by Sir Ken

Reading books by leading educational researcher and thinker Sir Ken Robinson, is almost as good as listening to him speak in the flesh! He writes as he talks - in a voice that is engaging, passionate, humorous. A voice  which offers the  definitive reasons for why there needs to be a revolution in the way we deliver education - NOW.

I'm halfway through his latest tome - Creative Schools - revolutionizing education from the ground up - but it would be fair to say, that in me he's preaching to the converted, but I wanted to share two sections here.

'Opportunities for change exist within every school, even where the emphasis on high stakes testing has become extreme. Schools often do things simply because they've always done them. The culture of any school includes the habits and systems that the people in it act out every day. Many of these habits are voluntary rather than mandated - teaching by age groups for example, or making every period the same length, using belss to signal the beginning and end of periods, having every students facing the same direction with the teacher at the front of the room, teaching math only in math class and history in history class and so on.' pg57

My current school is grappling with a number of these 'habits and systems'  (which as Sir Ken, so rightly states are voluntary) right now, as we try to work through a process of change management - curriculum, pedagogy and spaces are on the agenda. We are lucky enough to have contact with NZ educators  who are leading the revolution in their schools - because it's what is best for the learners. I hope we are brave enough to learn from them.

Sir Ken's teachings around 'personalisation' are straightforward - in every aspect of life, personalisation is apparent. But as he says  -

' has yet to take root in education. This is ironic, because it is in education that personalisation is most urgently needed. So what does that mean? It means: 

  • recognising that intelligence is diverse and multifaceted
  • enabling students to pursue their particular interests and strengths
  • adapting a schedule to different rates at which students learn
  • assessing students in ways that support their personal progress and achievement ' pg 83

I believe we need to be brave and follow what we know is our moral purpose - and make the revolution happen. 

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