Thanks for posting. His remarks that the school system reflects an educational philosophy based on the Enlightenment and Industrialization aren't really new thoughts. Anyone remember the factory schools in the Pink Floyd video from the 1970's?
He did make me feel a lot better about my dc's choices to attend a performing arts high school. I've witnessed for myself the positive results of an education in an arts-rich environment. I've been a little concerned about the standards of academics, but I find Robinson is pretty reassuring about choosing an arts-focused school. Of course, I'm eager to find reassurance wherever I can
. I knew that they made the right choice on a personal level, but it's good to remember the benefits that will flow as they move into a 21st century economy and culture that will be different from the one I grew up in.
What really caught my attention though, was his conclusion that "great learning happens in groups" and "collaboration is the stuff of growth".
My dc have always preferred to attend school rather than homeschool. They have tried homeschooling in the past. If I hear a complaint about school, I invite them to study at home again. I point out the benefits of self-directed, individually paced learning.
I once thought they preferred school because they liked the structure and certainty, but that wasn't true because they really objected to a structured homeschooling day. I thought they wanted more social time, but they didn't really respond to the idea of homeschooling co-ops or joint learning sessions or the occasional class. What I've come to realize is that it isn't simply that they want to socialize with their friends during the day. For sure, it isn't that they want some school authority to determine a course of study for them.
My kids are collaborative learners. They learn well in the company of other students who are offering contributions and participating with them in the learning process. In fact, they seem to prefer it, rather than studying independently. They want to be in that kind of environment full time.
They've been really lucky to attend schools that foster good group learning dynamics. They've been in gifted programs that incorporate a lot of group projects and peer instruction. I've seen how the educational results can exceed independent learning.
There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of self-directed, self-paced learning. I've always believed in the importance of self-directed learning. Ken Robinson's recognition of the benefits of collaborative learning is intriguing to me because I've only recently been mulling about whether it's a learning style for some people, similar in some ways to the concept of auditory vs. kinaesthetic learning styles.
I suspect that there are "collaborative learners" who are inspired and motivated in a group environment, and thus learn really well in the right school setting, and "independent learners" who really need privacy for their learning. Extroversion/introversion probably factors into it quite a bit, although I think DS at least has a fair tendency to introversion.
It's made me re-think some of my beliefs about whether a completely self-directed, self-paced learning program is an optimal choice for education.