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Monday, January 31, 2011

Thank You Sir Ken Robinson

      While attending BlogathonATX I was trying to decide what I would write about next.  Up popped a link to a post by Joe Bower asking for bloggers to respond to one of the following prompts about Sir Ken Robinson:
  • What elements of Sir Ken Robinson's work inspires you?
  • What role should creativity play in education?
  • In what ways does school need to change?
  • How can school broaden its definition of achievement?
  • How can school do a better job of encouraging all children to find their passion?
  • What needs to happen so that school is something to be enjoyed rather than simply endured? 
So, here are some thoughts.  (The following paragraph should be read at an increasingly faster pace)

      Creativity.  That isn't always something schools cherish in the U.S.  If schools could change so that we were encouraging students to be creative in all of their classes then we would see all kinds of achievement from happy, involved students.  These creative, achieving students would increase their passion for learning which would lead students to discovery of new areas of study which would create a new desire to create and achieve and suddenly school would be something that is enjoyed rather than endured!  [I believe I covered all of the prompts in that last paragraph.]

     The most important word in the last 95 words: Creativity.  We, as teachers, have got to let go of our human desire to be in control.  Let the students feel like they are in control and let them create.  In the words of Miss Frizzle: Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!  
    
    Does this mean that we have to break out the construction paper and markers everyday?  Well, maybe, depending on your grade level and subject.  Let's take playdoh, for example.  If you teach math or science I think you should have a can of playdoh on every desk.  One teacher told me she let the students do what ever they wanted with the playdoh as long as they followed classroom norms set up by the other students.  One girl in her class would come in every day, open the can, and take out her little man she created on the first day of school and he would sit on her desk watching her work.  At the end of class he went back into the can.

     Why math and science teachers?  Well, couldn't they have their students create geometric or arithmetic patterns?  Wouldn't it be fun to create a representation of a linear relationship?  How about probability - "create a way to demonstrate 6 out of 9," for example.  In science they could look at the structure of DNA or atomic structure or rock layers or......  Your, and your student's, imagination is all that is keeping your students from creating with playdoh.

    So, math and science teachers (at EVERY level) I better see playdoh in your school budget for next year.  Or, if you have active parents or a parent committee, ask them to donate playdoh to the cause.  And the cause is ----CREATIVITY!  Thank you Sir Ken Robinson for opening my eyes to the importance of being creative in the classroom.  (Although, to be honest, I AM a little tired of teachers discovering "this great video with this guy with an English accent....)