Thoughts on Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds Chapters 1 and 2

March 10, 2017 by John Andrew Williams

Robinson clearly calls out that the emperor – in this case, the current model of education – has no clothes. With his doctorate, dashing good looks, funny jokes, and British accent, he is the perfect voice to call out the depressing obviousness of the current, failing education system.

The March book for the EDU Book Club is Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson. I just finished reading the first two chapters, and frankly, I am freaked out.

He lays out the problem with utter simplicity.

Technology is changing our society at such a rapid pace that our education system is woefully out of date. Schools are still optimized to produce factory workers for textile mills. In the meantime, smartphones and nanotechnology are running laps around the current curriculum.

Every 53 minutes a buzzer buzzes. It alerts students to move along to the next stop on their assembly line education. This is the next insertion of knowledge they’ll have to regurgitate for accuracy in standardized tests.

It would be almost laughable if the whole situation weren’t so sad.

I’ve lead dozens of workshops where I mention how education is based on an industrial model. I talk about how out of date it is and how it is hurting young people. However, Robinson takes that message to a whole new level. I’m only two chapters into this book, and I am realizing how even I have underestimated the swift movement of technology. It is nonstop and incredible to think of what it is going to be able to accomplish in the next couple decades.

I was looking at Twitter today, at advancements in artificial intelligence nanotechnology, and I realized that the future has already occurred.

Two questions:

  1. Will you echo the call that the emperor has no clothes?
  2. Will others listen?

And I guess there’s a third question: What will we replace the current system of education with? My hope is an Academic Life Coaching model.


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