I recently learned about TED, a series of online 18-minute talks about various topics. When I suggest the site to others they all already know about it! But some have not seen Ken Robinson’s talk about creativity. If you have not, it is a must see. He laments the fact that creativity is stifled in schools around the world.

Eleanor Duckworth from a perspective of children talking about nature says much the same thing from a different perspective in “The Having of WOnderful Ideas”, TC Press. Re-reading Eleanor’s comments about children, which she constantly asks to “Tell me more” so that they realize that the focus on so called “right answers” is detrimental to learning, reminded me of a sketch I drew in Breaking Rules in a chapter on testing. I drew a person and then circled a very small area of the head on the left side. I said that it is tragic that all tests are focused on this small area on the left hand side of the brain and that there are no tests for the right side of the brain — art and music, and no tests of our other senses— smell, sounds of nature and music, visual images and art and movement, to name a few.

In NY city, some schools have eliminated recess where kids can play so they can spend more time on reading to prepare for the reading tests. In schools where recess has not been eliminated, the students score higher on the tests.  Asking anyone to sit hour after hour is so, so against all ideas of how we use our bodies. Ken Robinson focuses a lot on dance and movement which he says is on the low end of the ladder in value in schools. If I did not do race walking and stretching exercises every day I would have a tough time moving around! Ditto for those who do yoga at all ages. Why is movement ignored and ability to read non fiction and do mindless math problems stressed?

There are no excerpts from fiction on TOEIC or TOEFL and many reading tests. So look at TED, Ken Robinson in particular and check out anything by Eleanor Duckworth to show the need for revolution in education, not reform.