Ken Robinson: What do all high performing [education] systems do, that America does not?

What all the high performing [education] systems do, that America does not:

  • Individualize teaching and learning.

They recognize it’s student’s who are learning, and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity. That’s how you get them to learn.

  • Confer high status and support upon Teaching as a profession.

Strong education requires great teachers, who in turn require constant support and professional development.

Investing in professional development [of teachers] is not a cost, it’s an investment. Every other country that is succeeding knows that.

  • Devolve responsibility to the school-level.

Education does not happen in legislative committee rooms. It happens in classrooms, in schools, and it’s being done by teachers and students, and if you remove their discretion it stops working.

All jokes aside (Robinson is a very funny guy), he calls out American education for embracing several self-destructive ideologies:

  1. Kids don’t have ADHD. They’re just bored of doing 8 hours of boring clerical work a day. They’re kids.
  2. The “Dropout Problem” doesn’t need to exist. As the Finns say, “Why would you drop out? We just get them help.”
  3. Standardized testing has a place: In facilitating education. We allow it to encumber the entire process. We teach to the test.

Children are inherently curious. They learn by nature.

It’s difficult to compare Finland to the United States. There are only about 5 million people in Finland. But there are about that many people in some states. It would not be unreasonable to compare education in Finland to that within a given state.

On Alternative Education:

Alternative education embraces these truths.

What I find interesting, is that we call it “alternative” education. If we all did this, there would be no need for the alternative.

Leadership at all levels of schooling should not be “Command & Control”; it should be “Climate Control”, creating an environment in which learning can prosper.

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Jordan is a freelance engineer with full-stack chops, and an eye for analytics and growth.