After I wrote my post titled Diagnosing a four-year old with ADHD – really? a little over a week ago, I got a very interesting comment from fellow blogger Nancy at nrhatch. (Thanks, Nancy!) She suggested I read her post Changing Education Paradigms where she features a great video from RSA Animate (I love their videos) enhancing a speech from Sir Ken Robinson. In it, he explains how much off-track our education systems around the world really are. His statement is based on the type of workers we need to prepare for the 21th century’s economy, as well as the way a child’s mind works and what type of schooling can bring the best out of our children.
I love the part where Robinson explains that most five-year-olds use divergent thinking (asking questions such as, what if?, why?, why not? ) but by the time they reach their teens, the education system has crushed their divergent thinking and replaced it with the very uninspired, non-critical convergent thinking. Perfect to create quiet, docile plant workers who will follow their leader without questioning, but not much else. And the increase in standardized testing will only reinforce the use of convergent thinking, as divergent thinkers have a hard time answering standardized tests. That’s because every answer has to be either A or B. There’s no more room for creativity, and imagination is being shunned in our schools. As if it was a bad thing to “think out of the box.”
After working almost 15 years in the corporate world, I can tell you most workers can’t even conceive thinking out of the box. You may think I’m stretching the truth, but spend just one hour in a meeting room with middle to upper management people and you’ll understand what I mean. Quite a shame, since our evolving world and its economic challenges will require just that. New ideas, new concepts, new technologies. And our schools are doing nothing to ensure getting our kids will be ready for this new world.
I’m not sure how we can get it so wrong and why we’re not turning things around quickly enough. I’m afraid it’s our responsibility as parents to make sure our kids preserve their divergent thinking skills, knowing how hard the school system will try to crush them. I’ve ordered Ken Robinson’s book “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative” to find out more about Robinson’s ideas and what I can do for my kids (and a little bit for myself too) to keep in touch with their creative side. I’ll make sure to let you know what I got out of it in an upcoming WWW Wednesdays update.
What do you think about where our educational system is going? Do you think it’s preparing our kids for tomorrow’s world? What do you think can be done to make things right again?
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