How to escape education's death valley | Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish -- and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

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Author td fisk ( ago)
I love this guy, but it's such a shame that this reality has taken so long to surface. I was saying this in the early 80s. My first marriage I had two stepsons and the first day I took them to school my war with educators began. Our first parent/teacher meeting I found myself facing 7 people, it was so easy to see who they were and what their motives were. My first thought was, these people are stupid they need ten times more people to take me on, I was a new type of rebel.Then I proved it. Not all of my generation were drugged out Hippies. In no uncertain terms I told them that I am the first and last authority and I will die to protect them. Educators are so easily frightened, but then all bullies are. After the divorce I married and had two natural sons. I didn't bother with going to war with teachers again, I was already at war with our Homeowners Association dictatorship. So I homeschooled.

The young lady in the other video of yours that let it all out at her graduation was a pure pleasure. I sometimes have to remind myself that the American young have always been a unique breed. They are often invisible with the occasional "troublemaker" appearing to be the exception. I know them well, I was one of them. My troublemaking days started when I went in the Navy in 1965, I was only 17. I dropped out of high school after failing the last semester of the 10th grade. School wasn't a good place for those with learning disabilities. So I learned that I had to teach myself. I was borderline illiterate, so I had to teach myself how to read. Finally, I read my first book at 21. I see today that there are even more children just like me, but worse having to endure abuse, degradation and indoctrination.

A little example of just how much of a troublemaker I was, I had an interesting incident while on my 2nd ship in Key West, Florida. I think it was 1968 there were race riots in Miami. It had got so bad that our Naval Station were sending riot control and about 50 were to come from ship. I was an early pick because of my expertise and experience on my first ship in the Mediterranean. One night on midwatch I was with the officer who in charge of our riot detail. We got to talking and to my horror he said if the rioters give him any excuse he would order us to open fire. It really pissed me off, but I kept control. I tried to appeal to his humanity and professionalism, it didn't work. Finally I told him that if her did that I would kill him. We were silent for the rest of the watch. The next morning I was notified that the officer filed Court Martial charges for threatening to kill an officer.

Those who distrust our military should really pay attention now. I knew I was facing at least 20 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth Naval Prison, infamous for its cruelty by the Marines. The ship's officer who was assigned to my case came to and said he received a message from JAG in Washington that the senior attorney, a full Captain is taking my case. He also said that the Navy and Marine attorney refused to volunteer to be prosecutors, they had to be ordered, very rare. It wasn't long that I learned the entire ship, including our Captain, were supporting me. One day I came up with an idea that I wanted sent to my attorney. I wanted to use the Nuremberg Trials Decision that following orders to commit an immoral act is no defense. I could see that can be turned to disobeying an unlawful order. Later that evening I learned that the tribunal voted unanimously to drop all charges. The officer in question was severely reprimanded and transferred. That was a very big deal because I realized that even though I couldn't read, it didn't I was dumb or incapable.

I was robbed of an education in public school, but not by intent. Today our young are being outright assaulted. When I see so much abuse from schools, TSA and the courts I can't imagine why parents aren't protecting their children and why our society no longer protects out our children. It is a shame of the highest order. Teachers knew I would without any doubt that I would kill or die to protect my children.

I've noticed that Britain, especially after Brexit vote, that more and more conservatives like Ken Robinson are going public. The Labor Party is really taking a dive, just like our socialist Party they falsely call the Democratic Party. The cleansing has begun, but it should have been at least 30 years ago.


Author Rohit Rajora ( ago)
A great public speaker he is

Author Luffy D ( ago)

Author The Ultimate Reductionist ( ago)
Organisms, including humans, ARE machines.

Author The Ultimate Reductionist ( ago)
Parents - don't let your babies grow up to be Trump voters.
I think that's in a song somewhere.

Author The Ultimate Reductionist ( ago)
No mention of BREEDING and the evils of BREEDING - forcing new organisms into existence WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION.

Author JWARD ( ago)
i love it how more people put their hands up for have 2 or more children than just have children.

Author Jayachandra N ( ago)
this guy is wonderful; so funny and wise

Author Edith Boesch ( ago)
The question is: Why is the educational system like it is today? There is a reason for it! The reason for it is that most of the gouvernments don't want our children to be creative! They want that the biggest part of the population stays formatted the way they want to have them, to be able to keep control over them! Imagine what would happen if a high pourcentage of the population would use there capacity of creativity? Would they contunue to obey the gouvernments as they do today? Would they agree with the decisions of the people who want to control us? So there are two ways: either the governments changes the educational school systems! or each one of us who already has a little bit of creativity has enough courage to use it to change this system! We have the choice!

Author Casian D'souza ( ago)
Natural selection should eliminate any creature that is not wired to learn and adapt to its environment. Unfortunately the cultural environment many humans are born into stifles development beyond the confines of the community.

Author Casian D'souza ( ago)
The culture of education is not separate and distinct from the general culture of society. To get away from a culture of conformity, the entire society has to be addressed by changing its institutions of conformity. That includes not only conforming to organized religions and clubs but also supporting a political party's values over your own personal values.

Author Adem Aydemir ( ago)
Great man

Author Xuan Huong Nguyen ( ago)
I'd rather have a system where no one drop out because people are having fun learning than a high-achieving but stressful one.

Author Emily Caballero ( ago)

Author Chotibunder77 ( ago)
So what does this teaching look like? How do we unlock children's curiosity?

Author Name Changer ( ago)
Thankyou  Ken!   Yes, let us Trust! Trust the natural propensity for humans to  be curious, and so, learn.

Author Ranger Jauregui ( ago)
Alfred Preachin'!!!

Author PublicEnemyNo1 ( ago)
This guy needs help getting a suit that fits :p....great video though...

Author LovelyLivingDead ( ago)
I am a junior in high school. I feel like I missed out on something greater; Many years of my life have been wasted. People who know me say that I'm smart, but I don't think I can make it through college. I am too miserable in school.

Author Isaiah Hansen ( ago)
I'm already curious, I watch TED ED for fun

Author Shekaeb Wallizada ( ago)
I wish someone would change America's education system.

Author E115 ( ago)
Well I would say many Americans don't get irony. At least many young Americans.

Author Tim the Animator ( ago)
"All the evidence around the world is, 'If we all did that (fostering "alternative education"), there'd be no need for the alternatives'."

Just like how making the world easier/suitable for handicapped persons would make everyone's life more accessible and safer. Good word, Sir Robin. :)

Author Til Merkan ( ago)
Waldorf-Schools teaching exactly the way he wants to implement. Read it up and send your children there, if you want them to be proper human self-thinking beings (no irony).

Author Chris Manley ( ago)
Reminds me of Mr. Spivey. A true hero of mine. RIP. (6th grade)

Author Kathie Perry ( ago)
Finially someone with a "heart" and "MIND" for education

Author Jennifer Swanson ( ago)
the most frustrating thing is when your child doesn't care to do homework because the teachers have demonstrated they don't care if the student doesn't.

Author Mega Margaux ( ago)
Such an eloquent, inspiring and entertaining speech

Author Ali Berk ÖZDERYA ( ago)
I'm 18 but I still suffer from childhood.

Author Irgend Ein Name ( ago)
His speech after minute 16 is insane

Author Stunami ( ago)
Articulate and brilliant. Reminds me of the principles laid out in the public domain book "Education and the Significance of Life"—Krishnamurti

Author Deborah Ramirez ( ago)
351 clearly didn't get the message

Author Deborah Ramirez ( ago)
People need to stop clapping on TED talks. Gee let the man talk for god's sake!

Author Carla Caldwell ( ago)
I nominate Ken Robinson for Secretary of Education.

Author Ali Arsalan ( ago)
Great Talk 👏

Author BeggarsBelief ( ago)
'No Child Left Behind! No Child Left Behind!' 'Oh really, well it wasn't long ago you were talking about giving kids a Head Start! Head Start, Left Behind, someone's losing fucking ground here!' - George Carlin

Author Kartik Sharma ( ago)
There is a very strong magnet on that red spot.

Author Kutlu Fedai ( ago)
one of the Most powerfull speeches about Education and learning and the truth about it..

there are 3 people as he said
the people of no change
2)the movable
the people of change
3)The Moving
the people who change..

we shall each and every one of us plan on how to be number 3 in this list and number one in Education..

ı too am a student who doesnt interfere my school life with my education,
thanks to the free situation i am in..
as i went to school i realized that it was like all the fuss was about bubbling some circles and thinking about how they want us to think with boredom..
but the true way of learning went through funness and exploring which few rarely did stepping out of the mainstream education..

the change will start with each and everyone of us brothers and sisters..
I am a Humane fella that Currently resides in the Turkish Republic
what i realized thoughrout my journay of thinking and becoming a true Student of Knowlage is that change happens when we become the change we want to see
Which starts with the process of reading..
My advice to the people who which to become a person that changes.. is read..
Read with thinking..
With exploring throughout your mind your soul..
Discussing the idead found in books..
Discussing with the thinking authors of all around..
Read a book a week..
About life about education..
About change..
Read the people you see as a change..
Read and apply to your life..
Apply to your environment..
Write about what you can do..
Must do..
Write about everything as it is said..
Every genuis has a notebook carried in his or her back pocket..
Write your ideas that erupt in your endless mind as you read..

Read write and apply..
Become the change we want to see in this world..
And sooner than maybe tomorrow
We will be the change With the world..
Thank you.. :)

Stay awesome stay thinking my awesome Mates..
We can achieve everything we believe we can..
We shall never forget that..
And there is none who changed the world..
With listening to the world..

With love With peace..:)

Author Jack Allen ( ago)
Why don't they teach meditation in school? It would change the world.

Author mauriano baruso ( ago)
I KNEW IT!~~~!~ THE EDUCATION BUBBLE WILL POP NEXT~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Author Jai Leal ( ago)
Amazing orator with insightful thoughts. We need more like him.

Author Mark Kuo ( ago)
Please make this guy Education Secretary

Author Manas Chopra ( ago)
make him worldhead of education and give a bottle of nutella for his awesomeness

Author CutestHeidi ( ago)
Education is a money making system here in Michigan. My son in kindergarten has far too many tests and homework. School steals the joy from children and ruins them.

Author whitemanwii ( ago)
I ended up dropping out of high school cause unfortunately there wasn't enough classes to go around, not iwth the amount of students pouring in, so I couldn't get enough classes to get the credits. But I wasn't opposed to it. a lot of what we were learning was just pointless... Music Appreciation was a required class.... like wtf... schools are just full of pointless useless topics and whatnot.

Author Florid Monkey ( ago)
Please stop clapping after every word! This brilliant man has limited time to speak to you!!!!

Author Chuen Chuen ( ago)
So inspired. It makes me want to learn something of Finland education.

Author Gavyn E ( ago)
It's really sad to look at the date on this and realize that absolutely nothing has changed for the better within education. This man should be the head of the education system.

Author JustinAkaDeadstuff ( ago)
is this guy a knight?

Author Darin P ( ago)
His pants are too big...anyways, continue sir

Author rahmath affrin ( ago)
school teach us what to think,but not how to think

Author Travel Man ( ago)
So what is this guys solution?

Author mazdarati2 ( ago)
I'm just really happy that I have discovered TED talks and that I'm able to get so much knowledge and personal growth in such a short period of time.

Author Goldengio 03 ( ago)
Now that we talked about school let's talk about money. This is a problem now yet no one knows it gas is being produced from cars, factories, and gas stations. Houses are also a problem what we could do is lower or better abolish money here's the opportunity of that. Lowering money could have a chance for people to buy electric cars and make gas stations into car charging stations. Factories would decrease to not build that much cars that needs gas and use less heat and less gas to waste. If you lower the price for houses there's a chance for less homeless people on the streets and have better rights for black people and be equal to others than being treated like they are still slaves. The more you think, the more you realize that money did not only good things but did the worse, thank you.

Author Marianne ( ago)
Yay, I go to school in Finland! But anyways, this was an excellent talk and I want that we'll do something to "open" kids's creativity again, I'm getting the impression that most schools just close it and shut it down. Every kid is talented and their talent is worth developing. Sometimes it can change everything in the kid's mind if someone says him or her just the right words at just the right time. Teachers can inspire people to do incredible things. To actually do and create.

Author Ping Pong ( ago)
What an amazing man!

Author Karen O'Hara ( ago)
"There is no system in the world, or any school in the country, that is better than it's teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools".
So true!!

Author Chansophop Kaing ( ago)
you know I'm in the process of dropping out right now. and his speech made me cry.

Author Aviana Y ( ago)
If you disliked this video, comment below your reasons why please
I'm interested, lets discuss

Author Brian Murray ( ago)
Very inspiring talk. Would love to hear feedback from teachers working in the embattled inner city schools with high dropout rates. Do they think teaching techniques will impact the dropout rate where they work?

Schools create the lower and middle class. They teach you to accept a office job in cubicle for the rest of your life. Not teaching you how to become a leader but a follower.

Author Nancy Metzger ( ago)
Much of what he described as the solution/revolution is what home education is alllllll about!

Author Tetyana H ( ago)
Brilliant 💖👍🏻

Author Alanna Cunha ( ago)
god i love this guy

Author Mai ryuzaki ( ago)
im still very greatful to my highschool teacher for showing me this video because i have come back to it so many times. One of my favotite ted talks.

Author CulturalCompass ( ago)

Author Shiloh Friend ( ago)
Brilliant! The line about suffering from childhood is so spot on.

Author Trevor Ji ( ago)
최근에 '인벤톨로지'라고 발명학에 대한 책이 나왔는데, 부제에 '눈엣가시들의 역사'라는 문구가 돋보이더라.... 언제나 교육은 우리의 창의력을 존중해줄까....

Author Redbatcave ( ago)
We waste more time in our education system taking map tests twice a year parc testing. Replacing teachers with subs so they can go to meetings. Students just want there teachers in the classroom.

Author New Think ( ago)
Don't teach what to learn rather how to learn and how to think

Author only me ( ago)
Great speech, we need leaders to be and to think like you, Sir Robinson

Author D Poet ( ago)
Educational Revolution <3

Author Numi Who ( ago)
Good Quotes:

On education: “It is not a cost, but an investment.”
On high school drop-outs: “It costs a lot to mop-up the damage.”

“Education is based on conformity, even though each of your children are vastly different.”

“If you set kids down to do low-grade clerical work, don’t be surprised if they start to fidget. They are not suffering from psychological conditions, they are suffering from childhood.”

“Teaching is a creative profession, not a delivery system.”

“I had an old friend, very old in fact, he’s dead – that’s as old as it gets, I’m afraid...”

He suggests individualized education, but even that fails in an inadequate philosophical environment that has not progressed beyond subjective values – meaning the entire problem is philosophical (everything always gets back to philosophy) (hence my developing an objective value-based philosophy, and a new philosophical landscape around it, which would not only guide education but motivate students).

“The problem with education in America is the ‘command and control’ system” where bureaucrats remove teacher and student discretion.”
“Learning in America is like sailing into a headwind (the current ‘system’) - it gets done in spite of the system.”

“Death Valley isn’t dead, it is dormant, waiting for the right conditions“ (an analogy for our student population).
“Great leaders know that.”

“Benjamin Franklin said there are three types of people in the world, those that are immovable, those that will move, and those that are movers, and if we can encourage more movers, that would be a Movement, and if the Movement is strong enough, that would be a Revolution, and that’s what we need.”

My Conclusion: If you have not adequately philosophically answered the Greatest of the Great Questions of Life, that of “Why bother?” then nothing you do will improve education or human life on earth, or our chances of survival in a harsh and deadly universe (just to give you a clue).

Author Teach the Teacher ( ago)
I love this video, thank you, I'm going to share this on my channel and with everyone I think it will help.

Author C Higs ( ago)
Robinson makes great points, ones with which many people agree. To get from where we are now to an improved version of the system that adheres more closely to what Robinson is saying, what action should be taken to make the actual change? Because change won't happen without acting upon good ideas such as the ones discussed in this talk.

Author Lechuque ( ago)
Venus Project is the only solution

Author Rob Fowler ( ago)
In a pervious lecture,. he mentioned that a degree used to mean a guaranteed job and it no longer does. He forgot to mention the cost of a degree has risen man times what it should be and once was. Is there a connection there perhaps? Oh wait. That's right. We Americans don't understand irony.

Author kaxitaksi ( ago)
16:35 The analogue with Death Valley is genius and describes our whole society which is a Death Valley in many ways and could be transformed positively if just give people the chance. This is a great speech!

Author Instinctual Rationality ( ago)
It would have been soo good if I was born in his family. He is one of the very few who actually "Thinks" about stuff.

Author Kylo Ren ( ago)
So wait we need to take government regulation out of something??? Like it can actually be a bad thing? Who would of thought

Author Namlee Jo ( ago)
Love my parents mom and dad a lot of homework thank you

Author CoolDrool666 ( ago)
I agree that childrens' creativity should be allowed more room and attention in the classroom. However, and I think Robinson touches on this in the talk, I think the key is to inspire critical thinking in children. Education as it is today in most parts of the world, as far as I know, doesn't really do this until the university level (and kids are capable of such thinking at a much younger age). If we not only say "listen kids, this is how it is", but also give them the tools to view information critically and as something that is not absolute, I'm hopeful that creativity would follow naturally and that it would lead to a more empathetic world, less filled with fear and hatred.

Author 최영승 ( ago)
I'm from South Korea. As he says, We spend a lot of money and time in education and think of it as an investment. But, the purpose is to help students to get high scores on standardized tests , especially " Korea College Entrance Exam". So, we evaluate teachers based on the number of their students who have succeeded in entering so-called "prestigious universities". I'm sure we don't educate students, but train them to be the best test-takers. It has nothing to do with "discovering creativity and distinct talents in each of us"

Author Bruce Porter Sr ( ago)
I'm probably older than he is, and I'm a HS dropout. I existed in school....just barely. Made it through 10th grade and left. I survived by reading. Some of my teachers made a deal with me, I could do anything I wanted if I didn't disturb the class. That was ok, but, they really could have helped me if they had suggested the books I read instead of letting me just read books that I could read in an hour that were fun, but provided no real education or stimulus. So, I ended up getting a BS, have more than enough hours for a masters with no reason to get it. Still don't have a HS diploma. And home schooled my 6 children.

Author Katerina Zissouli ( ago)
Great video! Thanks for sharing!

Author mariam ahmedzein ( ago)
I loved it once when my friend called from the states to ask about a pumking recipe, it was great, and thought it was the begging of admitting that so much happened since I got married. but he knew, it was serious, and we knew everything about this pumking in the world of essentials! The only time he got immpressed with what I was saying was when he heard me saying to sister in laW, about Codak they could be offered jobs to that number of people. She said they were 1 billion! He was laghing in tears sitting far on the couch!! He was emmbarrsing he heard it but she had this habit of telling thing about education when it was killing!

Author mariam ahmedzein ( ago)
I loved the way the full version of cooking programs developed on our public TV, it was aired only on weekends. My Ex. husband would go out for the day, Saturday and there is a simple meal on the table, nothing too fansy. He would too surprised how the Phone chat line stopped on a weekend. He tried that for a few weeks, quietly, then he stayed home for one weekend. He sat at the TV, and there was the WOLD of update on name of programs and their pick and never forget that contest around north america that lasted for weekend and tomatoe desert won at the end. It was very tragic and he though it was telling everything about what was happening.

Author Q0ET9U ( ago)
I find it strange that in an earlier video he talked about how schools are killing creativity. Now he's saying students dropping out of schools is a bad thing. If students drop out, then aren't they free to go pursue their dreams?

Author Lawrence Carson ( ago)
Everyone watching this should copy this URL ...and then email it to 10 teachers ... and the board of educators in your local school district. It is our responsibility to do that. If we could literally sacrifice the lives of 50,000 young men in Vietnam ... or who knows how many in Iraq or Afghanistan then why cant we sacrifice just two hours to do this and get this man's wisdom back into the culture of our country.

Author orangeflip ( ago)
this guy is pretty funny

Author Matt Butcher ( ago)
Why don't they film a fantastic lesson then and say do it like this....

Author Matt Butcher ( ago)
Did you ever notice that they tell us to engage kids and how do they tell us? By lecturing... do what I say not what I do

Author greeny309 ( ago)
gotta love that guy!

Author Jennifer Farley ( ago)
How did I miss discovering this gem of a man? This is fantastic.

Author Majestic Winter Flap Flap ( ago)
This is TEACHING in my school.... Teacher puts a presentation sais coppy this and goes on phone/PC.. and thats all nothing else at all

Author Bob Troller ( ago)
Brilliant talk!

Author Andrew Ens ( ago)
So what do I do now that I know that my education system is trash ;-;

Author Michael Silvia ( ago)
Ken Robinson hits every point dead on...

Author Arcticnerd ( ago)
So I just came from a different TED talk that went on about how critically important science and scientific thinking is for the modern world. I agree that our education system is a mess but I think we need to educated kids more in the stem fields.

Author edgarfig369 ( ago)
Well said

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