‘Dance is as important as math’: Sir Ken Robinson on a creative education

Internationally renowned speaker came to Abbotsford to talk to teachers

Sir Ken Robinson soke at Gateway Community Church on Friday Jan. 13.

Sir Ken Robinson soke at Gateway Community Church on Friday Jan. 13.

Kids are being taught too much rote memorization, while their creative-thinking skills are being underdeveloped, according to education expert Sir Ken Robinson.

Robinson brought his message advocating for a “learning revolution” to Abbotsford on Friday, Jan. 13. Invited by Abbotsford Christian School, Robinson spoke to an audience of approximately 1,200 educators at Gateway Community Church.

Robinson is known worldwide for speaking out about the need for creativity and innovation in education. He is perhaps best known for giving the most popular TED Talk of all time: “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

Robinson spoke about the need to balance traditional subjects such as math and science with classes that help unleash creativity and healthy lifestyles among young people.

“Dance is as important as math,” he said.

He said by focusing on a narrow set of subjects in grade school, certain aptitudes and potential skillsets may go unnurtured and unknown to parents and teachers.

“Human ability is often hidden,” he said.

A more organic and less linear school system would better reflect how humans actually live their lives by providing broad knowledge and experiences, Robinson said. Such a system would focus much less on standardized testing and rigid curriculums and more on developing critical and creative thinking.

Robinson pointed to South Korea as a near polar opposite of the type of education system he favours.

That country has some of the highest overall student test scores in the world, with a demanding and rigid system. It also has one of the highest rates of depression and suicide.

Students in modern schools do not get nearly enough physical exercise and are instead reduced to doing what amounts to “low-grade clerical work,” Robinson said.

Forcing kids into desks for several hours every day has caused what he calls “the false plague of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).”

Robinson likened the current high rate of ADHD diagnosis among young people to the past “medical fashion” of removing tonsils – a practice that was much more common in the mid-20th century.