Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson, who has the great TED talk on how education kills creativity, Schools Kill Creativity, has a new one. A key concept is divergent thinking, an essential capacity of creativity, is the ability to see multiple answers or approaches. Education appears to kill off divergent thinking. Creativity is important to problem solving.

I had not considered the big risk for public education is the degree is not a guarantee of a good job. Certainly, people warned me my degree was useless for getting a job in the bachelor’s level, so I’d planned on getting a Master’s or even Ph.D. However, even those were no guarantee. This probably ties in with Anya Kamenetz’s idea maybe the better approach is to provide the content openly and turn education into services to help students master the content. I would agree education has aligned itself into an industrial production of graduates with increasing standardization.

How the current model is bad for kids and various things would solve it has been the discussion a parent and educator friends of the parent have discussed since I was at least in high school and all through college. Montessori and charter schools were all predicted to break public education yet it still stands. DIY Y is the latest. Why do they still stand? Because while experts know public education is not sustainable and the general public would agree, they rely heavily on politicians to make their decisions. It is easier to campaign about fixing education than it is to correct any of the systemic issues. My prediction is until public higher education tuition rises so high about 50% of potential college students cannot afford to attend even with available scholarships, things will not change much.

Ken’s stance on ADHD is eerily similar to the ideas presented in The Edison Gene.

Book Review – The Edison Gene

The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child by Thom Hartmann

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reading the DSM-IV about ADHD sounded to me more like the behavior over a typical boy than a mental illness. Thom theorizes a gene came about which allowed our ancestors to survive an intense period of ice ages. This gene, when triggered, exhibits behaviors teachers find abhorrent in the Prussian style education system of the United States better geared to producing soldiers and factory workers than scientists and creators.

View all my reviews.

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Being Judgemental

Mom sent me The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child for my birthday a while back. This is the latest book I have been reading while eating. So last night, I put Chelsea on the spot by asking her, “Which would you rather be judged by: what you do or who you are?” Yes, it was a trick question. More on that later.

Her first choice was what she does, but she quickly flipped to who she is. I smiled my most evil smile. The longer I smiled, the more she thought about it and was torn about which was the right answer.

The trick was, according to Thom Hartmann, our culture judges boys by a standard of what they do and girls by a standard of who they are. This dual standard ends up in boys getting overly recommended for ADHD testing. However, I see this kind of difference in evaluating people as one of the reasons for glass ceilings. People have a hard time achieving unless measured on the same scale.

So, that Chelsea could not pick prior to even hearing what it actually meant was funny to me.