March 16, 2017

Sir Ken, Brené, Ted (and Me)

Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D.
If you are a fan of TED Talks, I wish you had been able to accompany me to Baltimore two weeks ago to the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools.  It was a TED fan’s dream line up.

TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks of 18 minutes or less. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Education, and the future of education, is a frequent topic.

Google the most watched TED Talks of all time and two of the keynote speakers in Baltimore, are listed in the top four: Sir Ken Robinson and Dr. Brené Brown.

Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past thirteen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. She is the author of three #1 New York Times Bestsellers: Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.  They are all great reads.

Brené Brown, Ph.D.
Her talk to educators was both entertaining and story-filled, yet her serious message was one of personal reflection.  As teachers, she encouraged us to be aware of and share with our students our own vulnerability, and then in turn, to support our students to be aware of their own vulnerability.  By learning to admit and grow from our mistakes is where the magic happens.

Our Friends’ School teachers know this only too well.  They model a growth mindset and frequently discuss with the children that it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s important to own them, and then to learn from them to do it in a different way next time.

Sir Ken Robinson, whose #1 viewed TED talk has been watched more than 44 million times, is from Liverpool, England and now lives in Los Angeles.  I am currently reading his latest book, Creative Schools, which I highly recommend.  His talk in Baltimore was particularly inspirational, especially to a crowd of independent school educators. 

Robinson is a powerful voice for transforming the way we do education in the U.S.  He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century.

Independent schools, particularly progressive, forward-thinking schools like Friends’, are the leaders in this innovation.  Because of our size and autonomy, the fact that we are not beholden to a giant bureaucracy or government policy, the teachers at Friends’ are able to adapt to the latest educational research and really spend essential time and energy truly getting to know our students  - how they learn, what they love, and how to challenge them in their learning.  We are able to deliver a highly personalized approach to education and we are proud to say that we do indeed engage all our students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century.

Even Brené Brown has said that “Ken Robinson is leading a daring revolution to change how we understand schools, learning, and most importantly, the passion and talent of our students. This is a global game-changer and I'm in.”

I encourage you to watch these TED talks and read these books.  Thank you for being part of our school where we continue to be at the forefront of innovative educational thinking.

1 comment:

Bill Flagg said...

Here here! Love this! Let's keep our kids out of the box!