Ken Robinson’s ideas are the kind that make me ashamed for not assuming. The gist of the talk is that (1) you need to be okay with being wrong to innovate and (2) intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct.

Robinson provides context to create an interesting perspective when looking at our system of education. It was created in it’s current form around the time of the industrial revolution and to serve that revolution. This means that the most ‘useful’ subjects are given priority and that academic ability is the only form of intelligence we recognize in most people.

There’s a problem with our definition of ‘useful’ now. We don’t need as many people who are willing to follow directions perfectly now. Math and science are important, but creativity trumps them every time. Nowadays people are less likely to be rewarded for being a good computer programmer than they are to have a creative idea. More now than ever, the people who win are those who can solve problems.

The thing about problem solving and creative thinking is that it requires that you be wrong often enough to come to a solution. We go through school learning that mistakes, not knowing, and being wrong in general is unacceptable. We’re tested to measure how well we can remember what they told us and regurgitate it in a specific way. If you don’t do well, if you can’t concentrate on exactly what want you to, in the way they want you to, then process it in their specified way, you’re not intelligent. You get thrown on a medication so you can win their game. You may have been a brilliant artist or a hyperactive, manic-depressive serial entrepreneur, but now you’re focused on long division. And that’s worth something, right?

It’s widely recognized that there are serious problems with our system of education and there’s a lot of great talk about how to fix it. What I don’t understand is why so many parents and kids realize this and still submit to themselves to it. It’s tough to get around the system in place up until high school graduation. Then there is a question to be asked, one that I don’t think is considered a legitimate question often enough, “should I go to college, and should I do it now?”.

Advertisements