Education as production line

Published 2010-10-15

This is a brilliant animation featuring education reform & creativity expert Ken Robinson. His central thesis is that all modern education systems are built on industrial-age models that are no longer appropriate. Take 12 minutes to watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

OK, welcome back.

As the spouse (and child!) of a teacher I can safely say: the “industrialism” metaphor is even appropriate when applied to teachers/principals etc. The relationship of administration to teachers/staff is just like that of foreman to fab worker. It’s a shitty model for education since, I dunno, 1970?

But the more I think about it, the stupider it gets. Why do we get summers off? So the kids can work the fields, right? So that aspect of education is even older than industrialism. And the college system is positively medieval (have you seen what PhD students have to wear at graduation?) There isn’t a teacher in the world who won’t admit that education would work better in a year-round system, but there’s pressure from lots of directions not to do this.

Something there is about education that makes people very conservative. I think it has to do with childhood recollections. If they do away with summer vacations, that’s tantamount to doing away with my memories of summer vacations. When they tamper with education they tamper with my memories of childhood. I think: “gosh, it would be so sad if Orion and Iris couldn’t have long summer days climbing trees and watching Godzilla movies just like I did.”