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I may be a bit late to this party, but someone recently sent me a link to Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks about education and creativity. As is all too common for my internet rambling, I finally got around to watching them at 2am last Saturday, when I was here at the Museum to be the Awake-All-Night-in-Case-of-Emergency person during the 8thAjax Pathfinders’ visit for an overnight program.  (It’s hard to fit that job title on a name tag, let me tell you.)

By the way, here’s the awesome group of Pathfinders (plus two Girl Guides), looking intrepid and chipper the morning after their sleepover here:

IMG_4693 2013 Apr 13 8th Ajax Pathfinders group shot wigwam WR

But back to me and Sir Ken in the middle of the night.  His talks on creativity and education are full of irreverent wit and sharp insights into the fundamental weakness of how we teach children. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong,” he says, “you’ll never come up with anything original… but our education systems… are set up so that the worst thing you can be is wrong… we’re educating people out of their creative capacities.”   I’ve seen it myself: my daughter used to draw trees as wild, multi-hued scraggles filling her skies. Now she dutifully creates tree trunks that are exclusively brown, with puffy green-cloud tops. Maybe a token apple, red, floating in the monolithic green.

“Creativity must have the same status as literacy,” Robinson says. Right now, our education system “progressively teaches us from the waist up, and is a protracted training for university entrance, favouring academic intelligence. ” The result “is that many brilliant, highly talented, creative people think they’re not,” a tragedy for each of those individual lives, in my opinion. But Robinson’s thinking about the bigger picture:  we can’t afford to squander different kinds of intelligence, he suggests. The kids entering kindergarten today will retire around 2075 – a world we can’t imagine from here, and will require new thinking to navigate.

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