Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finding your true self - the element

Picasso once said that all children are born artists, the difficulty is to remain one into adulthood. The British educationalist, Sir Ken Robinson, believes that instead of growing into creativity, we are educated out of it.

In his talk, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html
Robinson says he believes most of us were benignly steered away from things we liked or were good at, because our parents said they would not get us a job: “Don’t do music at school, you’re not going to be a musician. Don’t do art, you’re not going to be an artist!”

That attitude, Robinson says, is “profoundly mistaken!” We all know that the world is going through a revolution – in IT,, culture – almost everything is changing.

Social patters of interaction are changing through chat rooms and facebook, entertainment because of things like Youtube and file sharing , and yet most formal educational systems remain the same.

Our view of intelligence is shaped by these systems, as well as by things like I.Q. Tests, which claim to quantify our intelligence. Howard Gardner, and now many others, say that there are multiple intelligences – ways of thinking and doing, ways of being.

It boils down to this, because we are using educational systems based upon 19th Century models, we are not getting the best out of ourselves. Many very talented people think they aren’t, and many children never find or develop their true selves because what they are good at isn’t valued, or is actually stigmatized.

Robinson has written a book called ‘Epiphany’, which goes into the various ways talented people became aware of their gifts. There should be a book in which gifted people relate how their own gifts were ruthlessly squandered, by misguided parents and teachers.

According to Robinson, our skills and talents, lost under layers of neglect, can still be discovered and developed – you’re never too old, apparently – good news for some!

For those lucky people with children, or expecting children; there is much to be done. Youngsters should be encouraged to move, sing, draw, express themselves, and still be good at subjects like math and languages too.

Parents, you should not commit the follies of your own parents; watch your kids, listen to them, and let them follow their heads and their hearts – in and out of school.

Gillian Lynne told Robinson she was considered slow at school; a psychologist talked to her mother about her problems at school. As they left the room to talk privately about the little girl, he turned on the radio. Watching Gillian move as soon as she heard the music, the doctor said, “Your daughter isn’t sick, she’s a dancer.” Her mother took her to a dancing school, and she never looked back. She became a ballerina, choreographer, met Andrew Lloyd Webber and produced some of the most famous shows in history, and became very rich in the process. Someone else might have prescribed medication and told her to calm down.
Robert L. Fielding

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