• Andrea Paulakovich

The Ideal Education

If you have never taken the time to listen to Sir Ken Robinson, you are truly missing out. In a recent video entitled "The Ideal Education," he discusses several key areas I would like to summarize and then ask you to ponder: 

1. 30% of students in America are drop outs. Sir Ken Robinson says, "The system has failed them. Children want to learn. They are born with infinite possibilities and have a tremendous appetitie to learn. Education is the problem. Not the students."

2. "What is the aim of education? Help children understand the world around them and the world within them, so they can become compassionate, fulfilled, and engaged individuals."

3. "Education should help students pay attention to everything in the same way."

4. "You do not open doors by certifications, you open doors by competencies."

5. "People become who they are in the world because of what they have gathered. Who you are and what you have gathered are two different things. What I have gathered does not determine who I am. Every day since you were born people are trying to teach you what did not work in their life."

6. "The Middle of the 19th Century is when education began. Education is meant to push students towards the university. We have a deep rooted idea that intelligence is academic. This is not true. Just because a student is not good at school does not mean they are not intelligent."

7. "Education is intellect based. Intellect has been mistaken for intelligence. We need an innovative intelligence. Intellect cannot function without accummulated information. Education should expand your horizon; however, if you become educated in its current form you become isolated."

8. "We need to upgrade people so the system will work well. If we want to upgrade education, we need the best people." -Sadhguru

9. How do we foster intelligence of the whole child? We need a different curriculum. Our current curriculum is purely academic. You need a broad curriculum that recocnizes that we need to teach the emotional, spiritual, and physical curriculum. Pedagogy is the most important part. It cannot be reduced to direct instruction. It is creating the conditions that they will find the answers themselves. Great teachers know that teaching is peaking curiousity, engaging, and helping them see the possibilities. 

10. "No Child Left Behind was meant to help us compete with other countries. Standardized testing is a business. It is stifling our children. In 2013, the National Football League was a 9 million business. The education testing support was a 16 billion dollar business. We raise standards by focusing on standards and testing. Wrong! We have to focus on pedagogy, teaching of the whole child."

11. "Spiritual development is lagging behind our technology development."

12. "We are the largest population in history. 7.4 billion. The question has been asked, "How many people can live on earth?" We all need food, fuel, water, and air to breath. If everyone cosumes all of this, at the same rate as the average rate in North America, we could sustain 1.5 billion. If we don't change direction, we will need four more planets to sustain."

13. H.G. Wells said "Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe." 

14. "Take away the word information and bring inspiration. Research shows that a six-year-old is more intelligent than a thirty-year-old; however, a thirty-year-old has more information, so they think they are smarter."

15. "If there is joy in learning, why do we need to take a break?" -Sadhguru

16. "Education is not a race."

17. "Leadership, management, business, culture, music, and art are curriculum. If you know how to nuture human intelligence, without influencing, it can be inflamed."

18. "If you want to nurture human intelligence, you have to get rid of extreme opposites of good and bad. Humans can choose. The purpose of intelligence is to do the right thing in the position we are fixed."

19. "Education is trying to condition the intelligence."

20. "Curiosity is the engine of achievement."

21. "The Western rational view is that thinking is about making distinctions. At the National History Museum, you will see butterflies classified, beetles, etc.... If you leave the National History Musuem, and go into the countryside, you don't see butterflies classified. You see cross-pollination. It is about relationships. For example, in the schools we divide science and math. However, in the real world they function together. Why do we separate them? Thinking is about making connections." 

22. "Creativity and intelligence is not separate. Creativity is about having fresh ideas and is apart of intelligence."

23. "You can't raise children. You raise cattle. Children grow up. You can only create a conducive atmosphere. Although they have the same genetics, the same food, home, etc..., they will go different ways. Each child perceives life differently." -Sadhguru

24. "60% of people in correctional facilities did not finish high school. There is a huge difference between people with money and people without money."

25. Jared Diamonds wrote Collapse. In the middle of the 19th century, Britain was the largest empire in the world. Within in a matter of 20 years, the empire was destroyed. Now, America is the most powerful place on the planet at the moment. It is hemmorgaing children with no hope. There is crime and drug abuse. This is a consequence of America's economic policies. -Sir Ken Robinson

26. Teachers tell students one subject will be more useful than another. Sir Ken Robinson was told that he should take German over Art. He was told Art was useless. He completed the German oral exam and failed twice.

27. "Dance is as important as math." -Sir Ken Robinson

28. We need the ability to attend to something that is important to you. -Sadhguru

29. Getting public education right is very important. 

30. The Finland school district works on the premise of schools working together. Everyone collaborates. There is no standardized testing. Teachers have 2 hours of professional development a week.

31. Get the culture of the school right and things will become right. 

32. Are we willing to think about each and every action and consider how it will impact a child? Everything you do our children see. Education does not just happen in school. Children learn equally outside as they do in schools. The most important thing schools are missing out is exposing children to phenomenon happening around the world.

33.“If you only measure the statistics, you miss the human aspect.” -Finland Schools

34."There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions." -Finland Schools

As you consider the ideas presented from Sir Ken Robinson and Sadhguru, I want to challenge you to think about their ideas and consider how American public schools could learn and grow from implementation of such ideas. The year my ability to teach writing transformed, was the year I did three things: I placed mentor texts in front of my students, I modeled writing in front of my students, and I expected my students to write in some form on a daily basis. What does this have to do with the ideas presented from Sir Ken Robinson and Sadhguru? Everything. They are providing the "mentor texts" so to speak, they are delivering on a silver platter the answers to our biggest questions, and they are providing models of schools that are getting it right. We have a lot to learn; however, we can start taking steps in the right direction by asking questions and beginning to rethink the foundation of our educational system.

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