Changing the Paradigm

Why are schools organized like factories? Why are students grouped according to age rather than ability or interest? Why do they seem to lose the capacity for divergent thinking as they progress through the education system? Sir Ken Robinson, “a world renowned education and creativity expert” (as introduced in the Royal Society for the Advancement of the Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce) poses these and other questions in a speech he recently presented. Also a featured speaker at a TED conference, he is a champion of changing the paradigm of education to benefit creativity.
He states, “If you’re interested in a model of learning, you don’t start with the production line mentality.” Like a product that is stamped with the date of manufacture, children are grouped according to date of graduation, when the only commonality that they may have as learners is the year they were born.
He proposes that standardization adversely affects creativity, and he provides the following example: At kindergarten, 98% of children demonstrate the capacity for divergent thinking, an ability to see many differing possibilities to address a problem. It is an essential component of creativity. They lose this ability for divergent thinking as they become “educated.” So, he argues that in order to change the educational paradigm, educators and others have to “think differently about human capacity.” How likely is that to happen in the current educational climate?

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