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Friday, November 20, 2009

Teaching Tomorrow's Students

I was lucky enough to again see Sir Ken Robinson speak in person this past week. He was invited back to Omaha by state's Educational Service Units (ESUs) to speak on the need for creativity in education, something he knows quite a big about. As you recall, this is the second time I've gotten to see him in person, both here in Omaha. This time I was lucky enough to ride the elevator and chat with him on the way to the lecture hall, although I regret being less than articulate when asked about the history of the Durham Western Heritage Museum (reading through the history for the 2nd time, I was way off).
The previous talk he gave was to the general public. This week was strictly education types. Whether it was the different focus or hearing the message again, I seemed to take more away from this talk.
One thing that I had heard in his previous speech but really caught on with me is his statement "You can't be creative without being intelligent." He went on to say that his definition of creativity is the "process of having original ideas that have value." Similar to the Steve Jobs quote about who Apple builds computers for, a creative person can "step outside their current situation" and create a completely new idea from scratch.
By the end of the speech, a new thought kept coming into my mind: We are preparing students from a different society than what we grew up in for a society that will be different from what they grew up in. That's a huge task. One that can't be done well if instruction doesn't change. It is imperative for students to be able to think critically and creatively. As a curriculum department, we need to make sure that we are encouraging and providing examples of how teachers can transform their instruction and put the learning back on the students. A lot easier to say then to do.

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