I’m the daddy of the mac, daddy

I got sucked into the videos at TED.com late on Sunday night and lost an hour or so watching them. If you only have time to watch one video in your busy day, watch Ken Robinson’s talk on how institutional education kills creativity. It has the virtues of being both moving and entertaining:

(I can’t embed the video, despite three tries, so just view it on the TED.com site)

Memorial Day hangs on the calendar as my Point of No Return for the allergy season. If I can survive Memorial Day weekend, I’m good for the rest of the year. If I can’t survive Memorial Day weekend then, well, I suppose I’ll have other things to worry about.

As of last night, the current project sits at 60,000 words (Microsoft count, not estimated count). I think I just passed the halfway point last night. I don’t know if that means I have another 60,000 words of manuscript to generate, but I know that the ball needs to start rolling a little faster at this point.

I spent $60 on gas on Sunday.

More updates as the situation warrants.

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4 Responses

  1. I watched the video. First of all, since I’m an educator and have two degrees in education, he didn’t say anything I haven’t already thought about — but that’s not his fault. And I agree with just about everything he said. But it’s oversimplified.

    It’s lovely to say “la la la, we need to allow the children to express themselves and their beautiful creativity!” But what does that look like? Does that look like letting kids who can’t sit still dance and play basketball all day instead of learning fractions or how to write a coherent essay?

    It’s easy to tell the story of the choreographer in hindsight, after she’s been very successful. Most people aren’t going to be wildly successful at anything in that way. Most people are going to need to just get a decent job and do it reasonably well. That’s part of what education is for: teaching kids the basic skills they’ll need (like writing) to do whatever they end up doing.

    Another part of the purpose of education is to expose kids to a variety of things, because 99% of them have no idea who they are or what they want to do with their lives yet. I absolutely agree that we should include a lot more arts and “extras” in the curriculum. But as a teacher, I see how hard that is to add in. The only way to do it is longer school days. That means more teachers. It would be near-impossible for kids who need to take after-school jobs, creating a deeper gulf between educational have- and have-nots. Not to mention that those ADD kids who are so creative also really can’t focus on a school day for as long as it is already, much less if you add hours to it — even if those hours are dance class. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but I do get irritated at high-handed pronouncements about how stifling education is, that aren’t willing to get into the nitty-gritty of how we could make it better.

  2. P.S. Your comment font is ludicrously tiny. Any chance of tinkering with your theme?

  3. Samwise:

    It is oversimplified. It’s only a 20 minute talk, so I expected as much.

    The wildly successful choreographer story may be a cherry-picked anecdote. But: I assert that even if she became only a moderately successful choreographer – hell, even if she barely made enough to get by, but still got to work doing something she loved – it would not count as a failure. America is wealthy enough that people can still support themselves doing niche work, like art. If she hadn’t pursued her dream – due to medication or the regiment of an educational institution – that, I would consider a failure.

    And as for what a school where children express themselves looks like: I think Montessori schools provide at least a hint.

  4. Montessori schools do provide a hint — and that hint, from my admittedly limited experience, is that they work pretty well for a lot of little kids… and produce very flaky teenagers.

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for more creativity in education, and I can rant about that with the best of ’em. But we’re actually not doing all that well in teaching knowledge, either, and I think that needs to be included in a re-think of the entire system.

    (I’d be curious to see what kids would look like by middle and high school if everyone went to a more Montessori-like kindergarten/elementary. Maybe we would have more self-directed high schoolers able to handle a more creativity-focused curriclum — which means more creativity in sciences, not just art. But I can tell you that many, many of my kids would flounder like crazy in a Montessori school, and I teach in a private school full of privileged kids.)

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