“Robinson Insisted That Creativity Can Be Taught”

(p. B12) Ken Robinson, a dynamic, influential proponent of stimulating the creativity of students that has too often been squelched by schools in the service of conformity, died on Aug. 21 [2020] at his home in London.

. . .

Mr. Robinson consulted with governments and schools around the world, conducted workshops and wrote books, including “Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative” (2001) and “You, Your Child and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education” (2018), with Lou Aronica.

He preached that schools needed not only to broaden their curriculums but also to support teachers as creative professionals and to personalize learning by breaking large classrooms — artificial environments that invite boredom, he said — into small groups.

“Kids will take a chance,” he said in the TED Talk. “If they don’t know, they’ll have a go. Am I right? They’re not frightened of being wrong.” But, he added, “By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity.”

Mr. Robinson insisted that creativity can be taught — not through direct instruction, but by giving students opportunities, inspiration, encouragement and mentoring.

The educator Salman Khan said that his popular online website Khan Academy draws on Mr. Robinson’s teachings in part by personalizing curriculums to meet individual students’ needs.

“He opened our eyes to an educational system that isn’t fair to a lot of kids and holds back their potential,” Mr. Khan said in a phone interview. “He helped a lot of educators, including myself, say, ‘Hey, look, this is a time to change.’ ”

For the full obituary, see:

Richard Sandomir. “Ken Robinson, Who Encouraged Schools to Nurture Creativity, Is Dead at 70.” The New York Times (Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020): B12.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Sept. 11, 2020, and has the title “Ken Robinson, Who Preached Creativity in Teaching, Dies at 70.”)

The updated third edition of Ken Robinson’s first book mentioned above is:

Robinson, Ken. Out of Our Minds: The Power of Being Creative. New York: Wiley, 2017.

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