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Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the teaching revolution!

Once again, Sir Ken Robinson brings a lot of wit and poignancy to the discussion involving education reform. “We don’t need an evolution of education, rather a revolution. ” This is especially true if we view education as a broken model, one that is essentially geared towards producing citizens of a different sort.

Robinson stresses education geared towards innovation. We have always paid lip service in education to the wonders of critical thinking from Plato to the present. However, mass education is a different story. It is generally an exercise in ‘skilling’, providing tools to navigate the landscape of modern life (literacy, basic math, etc.).It is not designed to produce critical thinkers looking for innovative solutions to both new and age-old problems.

I really do enjoy his mention of the ‘tyranny of common sense”, that we take for granted things that we have always done a certain way. This tyranny is found at individual, organizational, and national levels, wherever there a person looking for a solution to a problem of process.

Robinson is stressing much the same as we hear from leading academics and educational reformers. We need change, we need a revolution, we need it now. But frankly he just says it so much better. And he is funny.

And he quotes Lincoln, which is also a testament to his desire to reach back and rise above the mundane of much of this discussion.

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.”

Brilliant.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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