“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”.
Such is the motto of Sir Ken Robinson (1950-), an English author and speaker who has delivered some of the most interesting ideas about education we have heard lately. He challenges our current education systems and urges us to acknowledge the importance of creativity.
After working as a professor of education in the university of Warwick, Robinson worked for the UK government where he led the commission on creativity, education and the economy. Beyond influential, his report was qualified by The Times “as raising some of the most important issues that businesses faced in the 21st century”. Today, Robinson works with different European and Asian governments as well as with top Fortune 500 US companies where he advocates a rethink of our school systems. .
With his 2006 video for the TED Conference – a global set of conferences which the slogan is “Ideas Worth Spreading”, Robinson’s presentation quickly became a record in TED’s history. With over 25 million views, it is estimated that his talk has been viewed by around 250 million people in over 150 countries.
Sir Ken Robinson challenges the division between academic and non-academic. In his own words, “intelligence is diverse, intelligence is dynamic and intelligence is distinct”. He argues that one of the problems of our societies is the hierarchy that puts mathematics and literature at the top and all creative subjects at the bottom. Creativity should be considered as important as mathematics or literacy. Yet, our education systems, usually focus on a very narrow view of academic ability.
Additionally, Robinson points out the risks carried in our education systems. Teaching that it is normal to make mistakes is probably one of the things our educational systems are worst at. From the panic of making errors at the school blackboard, to the anguish of not saying what the professor wants to hear at university. We are programmed, indoctrinated not to make mistakes. The result is that people are not educated to explore their creativity.
Intelligence today means academic success. Maybe that explains why so many young people are marginalized or denied a place in society.