Sir Ken Robinson

Principals Pen Friday, 28 Aug 2020

I woke on Sunday morning to the unexpected news that Sir Ken Robinson had passed away.

Ken was an influencer on the global stage. Knighted in 2003, Ken dreamed of a contemporary model of education well before most educationalists realised we were clinging to the factory model. Ken’s first TED Talk remains the most watched TED Talk of all time - with over 66 million views - perhaps because it provided the a-ha moment many were craving. Simply, it just made sense. His wisdom has profoundly influenced and continues to impact Living Faith’s vision for a student-centred learning environment.

I could write endlessly about Ken’s championing of a model of education that leads to children living productive and fulfilled lives, but I will instead provide you with just a sample of quotes from some of his greatest works.

  • ‘Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. … We are educating people out of their creative capacities. ... We don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it. So why is this?’ Do Schools Kill Creativity?, 2006
  • ‘If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.’ The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, 2009
  • ‘One of the real challenges is to innovate fundamentally in education. Innovation is hard, because it means doing something that people don't find very easy, for the most part. It means challenging what we take for granted; things that we think are obvious.’ Bring on the Learning Revolution!, 2010
  • ‘Every gardener knows that you cannot make a plant grow … The plant grows itself. What you do is provide the conditions for growth.’ Teachers Are Like Gardeners, 2010
  • ‘The current system of education was designed and conceived and structured for a different era. … We’re getting our children through education by anaesthetising them. And I think we should be doing the exact opposite. We shouldn’t be putting them to sleep, we should be waking them up to what they have inside of themselves.’ Changing education paradigms, 2010
  • ‘Teaching is a creative profession. Teaching, properly conceived, is not a delivery system.’ How to escape education’s death valley, 2013
  • ‘The current systems of education are rooted in the old industrial economy of the 19th century. They’re not rooted in the new economy of the 21st century. It’s why so many employers are complaining that the kids who do well in education still don’t have the right skills or attitudes or dispositions to fill the vacancies they have. … We divide the day up in schools into bits of time - to 40- or 50-minute blocks, typically - and then we ring bells and people start to shuffle around the building and do something else. That’s an organisational device. It’s not an educational principle.’ Most Likely to Succeed, 2015
  • ‘It is often said that education and training are the keys to the future. They are, but a key can be turned in two directions. Turn it one way and you lock resources away. ... Turn it the other way and you release resources and give people back to themselves.’ Out of Our Minds: The Power of Being Creative, 2017
  • ‘There’s a big difference between learning, education and school … Children love to learn; they don’t always enjoy education and some have big problems with school. Why is that?’ You, Your Child and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education, 2018
  • ‘The movement towards personalisation is already advancing in medicine. We must move quickly in that direction in education, too.’ Standardisation broke education. Here’s how we can fix our schools, 2019
  • ‘People flourish when the culture is right. ... You don’t make a successful education system based on driving people through pointless systems of tests and output and data-driven hurdles. ... Successful schools don’t focus on output, they focus on culture.’ My thoughts for the call to Unite, 2020
These quotes are just the tip of the iceberg. I invite you to delve further into Ken’s pioneering work, which has inspired educators and parents across the world.

Ken passed away following a short battle with cancer, aged 70. He was surrounded by family during his final moments, and we pray God will embrace his family in love and comfort at this time.

- Jane Mueller, Principal