Thursday, June 16, 2011

The 'System' isn't working

Long before the educational morass that we are now experiencing  began,

 while I was still in the trenches, trying to integrate the arts into public education, or as I like to think of it now - straightening the deck-chairs on the Titanic, there were clarion calls that our educational system was failing.  Those calls had been there before, but it was clear to some that we had passed the point of being able to fix education.  I knew about some of these calls  then.  It was apparent that "No Child Left Behind" insured that every child was.  As someone who had spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars learning from people like Howard Gardner, Joseph Chilton Pierce, Jane Healy, Carla Hannaford, Daniel Goleman, Eric Jensen, Randall McChesney, Gordon Shaw, Doug Goodkin, Paul Dennison, Edwin Gordon and others, I was well aware of the mind / body/ emotion connection.  Brain research was proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that teaching the whole child, was the way to engage young minds, rather than utilizing archaic methods that allowed (caused?) them to 'check out' or 'act out' like so many students were doing.  Neuro-science was now providing tangible evidence of what good educators since Plato had always known.  The "mind" included physical, emotional, and cognitive processes working in concert, and they were stimulated by utilizing an "enriched educational environment".  That was the way that children (and the rest of us) had always learned, and the arts were an integral part of that.  I knew that, I applied that in my own classes, and I straightened my deck chairs, naively  believing that somehow, the right people would notice, and  'Institutional Education' would change course. 

A prominent spokesperson for change in education for the last several years has been Sir Ken Robinson. He is an expert on education and creativity, and his ability to communicate that knowledge is as extraordinary as it is low-key.  This video was my introduction to him four years ago, and if you haven't seen it, you are in for an epiphany. If you have seen it, you know its value, and will appreciate it again.   After you have watched this video, you will find several links to Sir Ken on this site.  Check them out.  I will be using many of his talking points as jumping-off places for our discussions in the near future. 

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