Friday, August 19, 2011

Listen to Sir Ken. Please.

     I am fascinated by the ideas put forth by Sir Ken Robinson, U.K. native and Los Angeles resident. If you pay attention to him, you'll be forced to reconsider all you've been taught from earliest memory, and how it has impacted your intelligence and creativity.

     According to Sir Ken, we are going about education all wrong, and I think he's right. The teachers I most admire embrace methods way out of the box . . . with nothing but a wave at the box, indeed.

     If you name your favorites from elementary school on, who were the ones who inspired and made you soar? I shared a fifth grade teacher with my mother, the very strict and demanding Mrs. Dothard. She noted that "Patricia talks" on her report card. Many years later my own echoed, "Beth talks too much".

     At the time, I might have told you she was difficult. She pushed me and made me stand and read out loud to the entire class almost daily. She was relentless about my posture, for heaven's sake. She wore old-lady combat boot shoes.

     The truth is, I worshiped her. I am happy she touched my life and made me feel smart early on. I am grateful she allowed not one moment of squirming or nonsense in her classroom.

     And I really do sit up straight because of her concern for my precious diaphragm.

     There are more, of course. We all have them. I would be much less verbose without Mr. Joseph Gilpin, who introduced me to the joys of classical Latin. (Some people might find that an improvement.) He taught World Religion, too, and I took every class I could with him. I would happily have signed up for Dog Grooming 101 if he had been involved.

     Sir Ken says we're medicating our children into mediocrity (my words, not his). I have grave concerns over ADHD drugs, and he does as well. I grew suspicious of the label and the "epidemic" many years ago.

     Please listen to what he has to say. It's insightful and I would be delighted to hear your comments.

Sir Ken Robinson

Love from Delta.


  1. I have long argued that, in most cases, ADHD is an excuse for both teachers and parents who can't be bothered with a child with an active imagination. Unfortunately, our society has evolved to family units where both parents feel forced to work, thus not having time or patience to raise children. I do not think this was accidental. We are being manipulated by folks who DO NOT WANT cohesion in the fabric of America.


  2. I don't know about the manipulation part, but our system is failing. True teachers are among those I admire most, and I feel that many are lost because the wages are inadequate and the freedom to teach (as opposed to force-feed data for regurgitation on tests) is extremely compromised. At least, that's what it looks like to me. It's not all about working parents, either—in a college preparatory school, you'll find lots of moms and dads who are fixated on their child's performance . . . though I fear it's often because of their own egos and consumption with getting Junior into the "right" university.

  3. Beth, so interesting that you posted this as it was just shared at an amazing professional development session I attended presented by Dave Weber. We are planning to show this clip at Curriculum Night to show why we do what we do in our Gifted program... do be do be do! you are so timely!on the cutting edge. Love the TED talks! Sir Ken is wonderful. I love his comments about how ADHD increases as you move Eastward. It always drives me crazy when people want to medicate young creative ones especially boys.
    Ritulin/aderol etc make boring work palatable so that it can be accomplished. YIKES! instead of
    championing creative thinking .SOME people want to squash it. like a bug. It frightens me when 5th graders finally qualify for our program and can't think or respond to an open-ended assignment. they are searching for a b c or d !!!!
    love from Georgeja! I am stepping down from my soap box. but only momentarily!

  4. I love it when you are on your soapbox, and invited you there when I posted this. Love your comments, but must confess I was trying to figure out what a b cord is until the light bulb went off and I realized it was a b c or d. This is what the education system has done to me . . . :p