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    Onderwijskrant Vlaanderen
    Vernieuwen: ja, maar in continuïteit!
    22-11-2015
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Kritiek op onderwijsgoeroe Sir Ken Robinson (over creativiteit e.d.)

    Kritiek op onderwijsgoeroe Sir Ken Robinson (over creativiteit e.d.)

    It’s about methods, not aims

    I agree with Sir Ken Robinson that creativity is the aim of education. However, where we disagree is on how you can best develop such creativity. Sir Ken praises High Tech High’s model of instruction, where instead of memorising, pupils are doing. Guy Claxton recommends, among other things, that to develop the skill of imagining, pupils should lie on the ground, look at the sky a...nd then ‘close their eyes to imagine how the sky changes as a storm approaches.’

    By contrast, I think the best way to develop creativity is through direct instruction, memorisation and deliberate practice (for a specific example of how memorisation leads to creativity in a scheme of work on Midsummer Night’s Dream, see here). This might sound counter-intuitive, but actually, such practices are more effective at developing creativity than just asking children to be creative. Robert Bjork has shown that performance isn’t the same as learning. K Anders Ericsson has shown that what matters isn’t just practice, but deliberate practice: ‘mere repetition of an activity will not automatically lead to improvement’. Deliberate practice is when you isolate the component parts of a task and repeatedly practice them instead.

    So asking pupils to do creative tasks isn’t the best way of developing creativity. Asking them to memorise examples of rhetorical devices might not look creative, but it might be better at developing creativity. The question is not about finding a balance between memory and creativity, or between knowledge and skill. It’s about recognising that memory is the pathway to creativity, and that skill is composed of knowledge. As John Anderson said, ‘All that there is to intelligence is the simple accrual and tuning of many small bits of knowledge which in total make up complex cognition. The whole is no more than the sum of its parts, but it has a lot of parts.’

    What we had in yesterday’s debate was not a false dichotomy. There was real disagreement. If Sir Ken and Guy set up a school and I set up a school, they would look very different, even though we both had the same aim. And because we have the same aim, the argument is not about whether I am in favour of creativity or not (I am), or whether Sir Ken is in favour of knowledge or not (I’m prepared to accept he is), or whether we just need a balance between the two. The argument is about whose methods are more successful at delivering our shared aim of creativity.

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    I spent yesterday at the Michaela Community School Debating Education event, which was absolutely brilliant. I spoke against the motion ‘Sir Ken is right: traditional education kills creativity’, a...
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