Education, study & language

C2 Listening and speaking: How to escape education’s death valley

If you happen to be a teacher, a parent or a student, you will have very probably spent a great deal of time thinking and speaking about school and education. You will also have probably wondered what schools are for and if they actually work at all. Astonishing as it may seem, you will also have acknowledged that despite the fact that we live in a country where education is a universal right, there seems to have been a sharp rise in dropout rates and unmotivated students.

For this post, I’m going to use a link to a one of Sir Ken Robinson’s thought-provoking TED Talks. Sir Ken Robinson was a former British educator who campaigned for a personal approach to learning and leaves us legacy on creativity and innovation. In this inspiring talk, Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish and tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” by turning the concept of education on its head.

Read the questions below before watching the video. Take some notes that will help you cope with your contribution and try to answer each question using, as far as possible, your own words. You should also try to answer each question in less than a minute and so you may consider using the stopwatch that you will find below.

PS. You may first want to read an article from Publicschoolreview.com as to become familiar with some of the problems that schools are facing and the No Child Left Behind programme. You will find the link to an interesting article here.

Questions related to the talk

Take notes about:

  • The irony in relation to ‘No Child Left Behind’. Explain
  • Education under ‘No Child Left Behind is based on conformity and not on diversity’. Explain what Sir Ken Robinson meant by this.
  • What does Sir Ken Robinson mention concerning the relationship between the present-day schools and ADHD?
  • Sir Ken Robinson believes that many schools are stifling creativity. What does he mean by this?
  • What, according to Sir Ken Robinson, is utterly wrong with the present-day testing system?
  • What negative effects, within the educational system,  arise from the culture of standardization?
  • What does Sir Ken Robinson mention concerning the freedom and power to decide versus government control of schools?
  • What type of control should there be in schools, according to Sir Ken Robinson?

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