Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson, Changing Educational Paradigms & Experts

Getting back to the YouTube video by RSA Animate on Changing Educational Paradigms that I mentioned in yesterday's post...  [You Should REALLY Watch This]  RSA Animate has animated a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson on today's efforts to reform the public educational system.  The video is fascinating as you watch the artist draw as Sir Ken Robinson is speaking.  The animation is very clever and really illustrates the points that Sir Ken Robinson is making.  It made me think about my own views of the goals of public education, the roles standardized testing plays and medicating children for ADHD. 

While doing so, I rediscovered something that I have always known, but have pretty much ignored.  Introspection is important.  (Gasp, choke!  I know of one friend in particular who is probably actually screaming "Alleluia! She has seen the light." as she reads that part.)  We all need to take a look at things that matter to us and our families.  We need to confront our assumptions and beliefs.  I am not saying that we need to change them, but rather just examine them from time to time and make sure that they still hold true for us personally.

I have previously been guilty of inertia.  I never bothered much to re-examine things.  Socrates would be most disappointed in me regarding my "unexamined life." (I don't even want to contemplate that I might have something in common with Paris Hilton-- it is just too frightening!)

In today's world there is an expert out there on each and every topic imaginable.  The mere fact that someone is labeled as an "expert" should not cause us to take their opinion, adopt it and discard our own.  Experts offer us an opportunity to look at things in a new light or in a way we may not have previously considered.  They give us a chance to reexamine our own views and possibly reconfirm them through thought and contemplation rather than mere inertia.

However, being addicted to expert opinions can be problematic.  Adopting the "THEY said" attitude endangers us of delegating our own thoughts and opinions to the "experts."  Without ever examining the credentials of the mysterious "THEY," do we inadvertently also absolve ourselves of the responsibility of thinking for ourselves?  "They said this..." or "They said that..." The infamous "THEY" who says coffee is good for you one day and bad the next.  (See, I knew that my "no introspection" could come in handy.  I have always stuck with my six cups of coffee a day, rode the wave and now it is practically healthy for me.)

Homeschooling will be an adventure into the unknown for us.  Inertia will not work for me any longer.  I will need to question my own views as I respond to the curiosity of my children.  Who knows what I will find?

Don't forget to question your own views, especially on something as important as educating your children.  Don't be complacent or let inertia carry you along.  Rest assured, if you think even a little bit about education today it wasn't because of a "They said" (or even a "she said").  There is no way I could ever be possibly construed as an "expert" by myself or anyone else!  I hope you watch the video link above.  Not because I recommend it, but rather because you are curious.  I hope it makes you think something-- good, bad or indifferent.  I'd like to think (pun intended) that I am not the only one jumping off the inertia truck and giving introspection a try.

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