Serif in Education

Our education idol – Ken Robinson

There are people you just can’t help but love. And Sir Ken Robinson is one of those people.

“The most important thing a teacher can do for students is to keep their curiosity alive”, says education guru Sir Ken Robinson. Over a thousand educators gave Robinson — who gave the most watched TED talk of all time — a standing ovation after he spoke Friday in Abbotsford, Canada at the education event Learning Revolution.

“Creativity is one of the hallmarks of human intelligence and people who come up with fresh ideas are endlessly curious,” said Robinson. “If teachers can keep the flame of curiosity burning in children, then pretty much everything else will follow from that.”  

Robinson is best known for his 2006 TED talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?,” which has been viewed nearly 43 million times. He received a knighthood in 2003.

Change – and being scared of it

Today’s education system was developed in the industrialization era, and as such, won’t serve the future well, Robinson says.

But if it was created so long ago, why don’t we change it? Change is scary because we tend to fear the unknown. Ironically, that is what creativity is about – having the courage to try, making mistakes, even failing… but getting back up again. Of course, the Government would never want to be seen to fail, and besides, decision making is a slow process. Real change doesn’t happen overnight. But sometimes, moving forwards means moving backwards a few steps.

Robinson said he’s impressed with what he’s seen of B.C.’s new curriculum, given its focus on competencies across the disciplines. However, he said the change that is needed may take a long time to achieve.

“The change we are talking about is not linear and it’s not on a ratchet. It’s much more like a tidal movement. History is like that, it’s recursive,” he said.  “The best we can do is make sure education is not part of the problem, but that it is part of the solution.

“One of the things I was very struck by, always, was that when you have a very narrow, desk-based academic curriculum, you fail to engage the greater part of most people’s energies — their cognitive energies and their social-emotional capacities,” he said.  “For some people, those are especially the places where they come alive.”

“A lot of problems come about in schools because we sit kids down for hours doing … low-grade clerical work and they get agitated like you would or I would,” Robinson said.

“And then we start to medicate them because they’re not paying attention — well, of course they’re not. Get them up and get them moving around. It’s a basic understanding of how people learn and great teachers know that.”

Also, if education is too narrow, it can miss a person’s special talents entirely, he said. He used the example of the school music teacher who taught both Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Robinson said he interviewed McCartney for his latest book and asked him if their musical skills were recognized in school and McCartney said no.

“One music teacher in Liverpool had half the Beatles in his class and he missed it. Well, that’s a bit of an oversight, isn’t it?” Robinson said. “Human talent is very diverse, but it’s also often buried. You don’t know what you’re capable of unless you get the opportunity to find out.”

In this way, we are proud to say that the Serif Design Suite is truly creative. It’s not structured, it’s not rigorous – it flows depending on where the user takes it and is open to interpretation. Children can be given the opportunity to explore the different programs and ‘self-learn’ by making their own mistakes. The possibilities are limitless. Creativity is endless. Children can be children.

Ken Robinson – we salute you.


For more of this article, visit: