By Gabrielle Peearanda
The buzz in the air in the Bronco Student Center on Wednesday was similar to that of a highly anticipated concert. A line of people stretched across the length of the BSC waiting to watch a presentation by Sir Ken Robinson.
Despite success as an author, educational advisor and advocate for the arts, Robinson is best known for his TED Talk entitled “How schools kill creativity,” which has twenty-six million views, making it the most-watched video of the organization.
Robinson’s presentations are centered on revolutionizing educational institutions to encourage creativity and intellectual diversity rather than standardization.
“We simply can’t afford to continue education the way we’ve been doing it,” said Robinson.
Most education systems conflict with humans’ natural ability to imagine and create.
Although he does not disagree with pursuing academics, Robinson says that the model by which most education systems are molded are now outdated.
“The one thing that really sets us apart is the one thing we don’t pay attention to,” said Robinson of imagination.
Imagination is not only a brain process; it is something that greatly affects the world.
“We live in two worlds. There’s the world that exists whether or not you exist. It was there before you came into it; it’ll be there when you’re gone. And there’s a world that exists only because you exist. It’s the world that came into being when you did,” said Robinson.
He emphasized the importance of creativity not just for self-expression, but also as a means to consider one’s actions and their impact on society.
Creativity is important for individuals and humanity to thrive because with imagination “we create in our communities, in our cities, in our cultures, our own destiny,” said Robinson.
During his presentation, Robinson frequently deviated from the subject to make a witty remark or share a personal story.
“He would go completely off topic and I wondered how he would relate what he was saying back to the main idea, but he managed to do it,” said Snah Desai, a third-year economics student.
But as Robinson mentioned in his presentation, “The path emerges as you take it.”
People cannot plan exactly where they are going to be ten years from now; they can have an idea of where they’d like to be, but “all you can do is create opportunities” for the future, said Robinson.
He recalled a significant moment in his life in which he decided what he was going to do after just having graduating college. He chose to further his education and pursue a doctorate degree.
“When I was at college”I didn’t know I was going to do the stuff that’s just been read out,” said Robinson of the many accomplishments on his resume. “I don’t know anybody”who accurately predicted the life they’re actually leading.”
Robinson attempted to dispel the myth that education and life are linear, that having a plan implies the completion of the plan. With such diversity among people, there is no direct path to success in life; the same goes for education.
Robinson’s campaign for creativity in education is incumbent not only on the cultivation of imagination in young students, but also the open-mindedness of adults to see the importance of imagination.
Robinson’s presentation, though it addressed serious social issues, kept the crowd laughing just as a stand-up comedian’s comic routine would.
Third-year Computer Information Systems student Michael Hari agreed with Robinson’s theory that education diminishes imagination.
“All the things I’m going to take away from college are things I’ve learned outside the classroom,” said Hari, as he gestured around the ASI Gas Creative Group’s design office where he works as a web developer. “When I watched [Robinson’s] video on TED Talks, I was like, ”Oh my gosh, this guy knows me!'”
Before ending the presentation, Robinson answered a question from an audience member who also praised Robinson’s work in education and advocacy for imagination.
The last question asked was, “What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?”
Robinson replied, “Hear yourself.”
He encourages not only the discovery of one’s creative spark and passion, but also the application of imagination that is beneficial to the world.
Courtesy Tom Zasadzinski
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