Thoughts on Ken Robinson's Out of Our Minds Chapter 3

March 13, 2017 by John Andrew Williams

Ken Robinson’s Chapter 3, “The Trouble with Education”, has a personal sting for me. I was reading the chapter thinking of my own journey through the public education system. It made me think to myself, I AM A PRODUCT OF WHAT YOU’RE WRITING ABOUT. Unfortunately, I bought into the importance of Math and Science over the Arts, at the expense of creativity. I know it. I feel it in my bones. And I wish, so very badly, that I had had an academic life coach throughout high school and college.

He breaks down the trouble with education into three key points.

Point 1: Education Inflation

With the push to get a college degree, massive numbers of people are simply doing just that. The pressure has increased so much that certain Kindergartens are advertising the great start that they provide students on their path to college. There are even interviews for preschoolers to get into these competitive, selective kindergartens. And the pressure doesn’t stop there.

The real problem, aside from the immense pressure placed on kids at such a young age, is that two generations ago, a college degree guaranteed a job. However, now, many college graduates are coming back home to live with their parents. A college degree is simply is not enough.

Point 2: Degrees are Becoming Commoditized

Whenever anything becomes plentiful, it becomes cheap. There are more college graduates available to hire than ever before, which means that students have to do that much more to stand out from the crowd. Graduate degrees have become the new golden ticket. PhD’s are preferable. And a PhD from a good college is best.

Point 3: Education Is Missing the Point

It is a good thing that more people are going to school. The cost of not going to school or completing any degree can be devastating. However, simply getting a degree is not the kind of training that employers are really looking for. Employers are craving individuals who work well on teams, who are creative, and who are willing to take chances, make errors, and recover to continue to do great work.

The current education system is not fostering those kinds of skills. It is simply producing record numbers of graduates who are flooding employment markets with outdated skills.


The beauty of coaching is that it can help address all of the issues outlined above. An Academic Life Coach can help students who feel immense pressure to succeed academically and provide them with skills and tools to deal with the stress that comes along with it. When students work with a coach, they will also learn the soft skills that the current education system is missing, which will give them more than just a degree in the job market.

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