In this version of “ARTISTIC” critique, I will be reviewing Sir Ken Robinson’s Creative Schools. Unlike the text I shared last week (Roxanna Elden’s See Me After Class, see that review here) Robinson’s text is content and research heavy and is a great resource for schools attempting to transform education. See the original article here.
Affirmation: positive assertions
Creative Schools provides inspiration for transforming schools. His call to action connects education to four basic principles: personal, cultural, social, and economic. Throughout the text Robinson refers back to these principles, and uses them as a guide for transforming schools.
Reflection: opinion-based observations
When I first picked up this book, I was excited to start reading. However, it took me months to actually finish it. It is a heavy read. There are multiple references to policies, various forms of delivering education, and plenty of acronyms. However, Sir Ken Robinson’s personality does shine through with glimpses of his humor and candor.
Technique: foundational elements
Robinson uses a formal and didactic approach which gives it a textbook feel. Although this makes for an academic read, his playful personality often shines through. Overall, it is informative, but if you are looking for a “How To” guide to delivering creativity in schools, this text will fall short.
Inquiry: questions for the author
My largest question for Robinson is “How?” He provides the principles to implementing creativity as the driving force of education, and he acknowledges the politics behind education. Going into detail about how it makes it difficult to reach the full potential of education, but there aren’t any clear cut steps for achieving the goal. Robinson articulates the goal of education as “to enable students to understand the world around them. As well as, discovering the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens” (p. xxiv), but how to reach this goal is a little vague.
Suggestion: recommendations for the author
Now that the background of this revolution (as he calls it) is laid out, please outline the steps to true educational reform at the site level. There are things that we cannot change, and he acknowledges this, but what if we want to change anyway? The text gives examples and testimonials of schools that have transformed, but how does a school actually accomplish the change, what are the steps? My suggestion is to build an actual how-to guide.
Translation: interpretation of author’s intent
Robinson has been in education for over forty years, so it is clear that his experience provides a tapestry of the educational world. I believe his ultimate intention is to provide the reader with an understanding of how current initiatives rob our children of their creativity. He wants to offer an alternative way of viewing and envisioning education. He highlights how most reform is driven by political and commercial interests, which are devoid of the true meaning of education, then explains what education should be.
Illation: overall evaluation
Overall, this is a great resource for experienced educators, administrators, and school site leaders. It might be a little heavy for newer teachers who are still learning how to navigate the day-to-day expectations of their sites, but would be a great summer read.
Create: recreate the work
There are changes happening in education and Robinson highlights some great schools, teachers, and leaders who are making grassroots efforts to change the landscape. It would be wonderful if the changes seen in this text could be recreated into a guide for educational leaders.
I recommend Sir Ken Robinson’s Creative Schools for leaders who are serious about making a change for the good in education.
Piquès & Pirouettès
Typhani Harris is a dance educator and mentor teacher who has been on the boards of both the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CAHPERD) and California Dance Education Association (CDEA). Recently, she has made a cross-country move and is now an instructional coach in Brooklyn, New York. Having begun as a high school English teacher, it has been her mission to bring theory and research into the traditional dance class, and in 2009 she won the Music Center’s Bravo award for excellence in Arts Education. Typhani is currently on a mission to help teachers Stop Teaching and Start Reaching their students, check out the unTeacher Lab at stopteaching.org