Sir Ken Robinson vs. John Dewey

To summarize Sir Ken Robinson’s video on changing educational paradigms, our current American standard of education is based on an antiquated structure intended to mass-produce literate, standardized workers. Robinson’s main point regarding the arts in education is that they are victimized and under-appreciated in our current system.  Likening this to the “epidemic” of ADHD, Robinson argues that it is detrimental to anesthetize our children when we should be opening their minds through the aesthetic experience of the arts. Basically, considering the virtually unlimited access to the arts and all information allowed by new media, it is counter-productive to our children’s development of divergent thinking to cut them off in a limiting, numbing environment like the traditional classroom. Psychologist and education reformer John Dewey states that the purpose of education is to understand one’s full potential and use learned skills for the greater good, not to mindlessly acquire standardized skills. This relates to Sir Ken Robinson’s belief that the key to thinking creatively, necessary to effectively participate in the arts, is “divergent thinking”, or the ability to see multiple solutions to a question that are not always obvious or directly related.  Where Dewey and Robinson meet is the idea that by removing or downplaying the importance of the arts, children are numbed to the acquisition of important skills and are thereby inhibited from fulfilling their full potential.

Conor Scharr, Rich Becker

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