[ ♪ music ♪ ] . >> kids, until they go to school learning. >> creativity and education expert sir ken robinson says we have to reengineer our way we tech our students. ken robinson said we have to recognise their talents. something. >> he's been called an elite thinker. his books including "finding your element," and "out of minds." york.
>> ken robinson, you have been described as one of the world's leading thinkers. what goes through your mind when you hear that? >> it's all true, obviously. i mean, i... ..i don't know, people apply these epithets to you. it's a slogan that comes out. there are a lot of ex-parts on creatist -- experts on creativity. i don't take it seriously, but i try to clarify what i think and can. >> speaking of creativity, what is the mission. >> talents ability and how most people don't recognise what is inside them or what they are capable of, and education doesn't help them very much. culture. >> that culture of education was in part formed by the industrial age, and you have talked about how we have moved beyond that. explain what you mean.
well, mass education is relatively recent. in the last 150 years it's become a commonplace in the industrialized countries. 200, 300 years ago, there was no such thing as mass public schools paid for. these school systems are the product of the industrial revolution. they were designed for a particular reason, to produce the workforce for the industrial economy. if you look at how schools work, you can see it, they are designed like production lines. kids are educated by age group. it may seem, if you don't think about it, natural, but an odd thing to do, to put the 5-year-olds on the same conveyor belt and 6-year-olds, we don't do that outside of school, keeping them in the same compound. it's an efficient say idea, it's linear.
you see it inment kerric u -- in the curriculum. it's very narrow. >> for the country to move forward we need people strong in maths and science. >> we need people that are strong in all sorts of areas, as soon as you talk about those disciplines, the slogan is the standard science, technology and maths. they are important. but the - this administration, the previous administration, talks about little else but the importance of those dismrinls. they do matter, but the economy of america depends on talents in every field. i'm not saying they are not important, but they are all important. there are our disciplines that matter as much. if you talk about those disciplines, the people that are good ot those things or into those things is "you can sit the problem out. we'll leave it to the math meticians and scientists to solve the economic problems and
call you if needed. it's a foolish thing to do." people who are good in those areas have other talents, i'm not arguing against the stem issues, bit of economic and social benefits. >> a lot of americans thing if we need a society of engineers, music? >> when you look at what engineers do, for example, and we are sitting here in new york, and across the river there's a series of extraordinary bridges. these were not just put together. the buildings in this city. not just engineers, but engineers and architects and designers. but they have tremendous capabilities, and they work with a strong sense of design and beauty. this is one of the functions of
the industrial model. things are separated out from the production line. outside of education, they all connect. >> how do you foster that richer understanding of talent at a young age of five and six-year-olds. kids are born with tremendous talents, it's important for adults. they were once children themselves. i was. i have to admit this. i started my early life as a child. i moved among my own and was mistaken for one. i know that. kids that go to school have an appetite for learning. think of what children achieve from the moment they are born. most kids learn to speak. well, that's an extraordinary thing. they go from being mute to being articulate human being. don't teach them to speak. no one teaches you to speak, you couldn't.
you wouldn't have the time they wouldn't have the patience. a kid doesn't reach 2.5 and you say "we have to talk", "you are mother and i have been using sounds these are words." kids absorb this stuff. at an early age they'll learn to play instruments, they are curious. we then put them in school and shut down a lot of that curiosity and we start to teach them. it's interesting to me that a lot of people by the time they get to seven, eight, nine or 10 are bored and get listless at the idea of going to school, it's not because they don't want to learn, but the way we teach them doesn't speak to them. i'm talking about the system as a whole. the irony is america is trying though meet the challenges it
faces through a system that - it's kind of - it's based on a culture of standardisation of testing, and you can see it. you can see the light going out of children's eyes and the blood training, it's because it's being confused with an industrial process, not a human one. you have to stop from the idea that you have all this talent to begin with. >> an idea of teaching to the task, that it's more important that a kid pass an exam than think creatistly, what does it do to a generation that goes through that model? >> there was a report published by ibm. it was called "capitalizing on complexity" and based on interviews with 1500 heads of organizations around the world. they were asked what keeps them awake at night, what are the challenges. there were two - one is how to run an organization that can adapt to change quickly.
but the top is creativity. how do you run organizations that comes up with a flow of fresh ideas, new ideas. they complain that the kids coming through the system are not able to do those things, and why would you. they've been in school for a dozen years being told "there's one answer", it's at the back, there's four choices, if you don't know, guess, and living in a culture where thinking differently is punished. i'm not saying this is a deliberate plan. but it's how it works out, that the culture, if you want people to be creative, you have to cultivate that. >> coming up, how do you discover your talented so you can change your life. we ask ken robinson ahead on "talk to al jazeera". >> an america tonight investigation >> somebody could come in and take our home away from us >> it was a law that helped condo developments stay afloat >> we would have to sell and have to leave our unit >> now, this law is being used
dead mr. president, who should answer for those people? >> this is "talk to al jazeera", i'm peter schuster, and our guest is sir ken robinson, a well-renowned thinker on education. i want to ask you about creativity and its connection to a theme you have talked and written about, and that is finding what it is that you love. what is the connection between the two? >> many people don't know what their true talents are and many doubt they have any important talents. my experience, and i have been at this a long time, that everyone has deep talents, if you spend the time to look at them. a lot of people don't energy the work they do, they wait for the weekend and try to get through it. i find that there are people who love what they do, and couldn't imagine doing anything else. my experience
is when people do things they tlov do and feel good -- love to do and feel good at, that has a bonus effect. >> do you find most who love what they do have an element of creativity that is tide to part of it? >> yes. i should define creativity, because there are a lot of myths. one of them is about special people. and the reason for that is we have a culture where we celebrate people who are innovate you've. we discourage others from discovering what they can be innovative at. there's a myth it is just about the arts. i think it's a catastrophe for american education that so many school districts cut arts projects back. there are kids now that go through their experience of education without lifting a paint brush or learning to play a musical instrument. it's because of a narrow view of utility. so creativity is not just about the arts.
you can be creative in mathematics, science and the rest. the third there's not much you can do about it. you can do a deal to help people be creative. you have to understand how it works. creative is the process of having original ideas. that's relevant. >> how do you teach creativity? >> creativity comes from imagination. it's the power that we all have to bring into mind things that are not present. we take it for granted. species. >> doing what we have done for eons. i love dogs, but there's no evidence that dogs are creative. human being come up with new things. it's because we have a power to imagine, to suppose. creativity is putting that to work. the two things i say is if you want to encourage creativity, you have to cultivate imagination. you can't have an athletics
program if you ignore physical health. you can't have people on sofas drinking six packs saying "we'll turn up for the event in a few weeks time and hope it goes well", you have to exercise and develop the thing they depend pon. schools need to encourage the development of application. this dry culture standardisation tends to suppress and deaden the imagination. being creative is about using skills, you can't be creative if you can't do anything. to be creative, to making is original, you have to be able to develop the skills that the production requires. so there's no conflict between standards and creativity. >> how does an adult find only element of creative genius. it's a personal process. i think of it as a quest, not a straight journey. what i mean is some journeys
have a clear outcome. if we decide to go to san francisco, we know where it is, we won't be surprised if we get there. finding the element is much more open-ended. some know early on what it is. a lot of adults know there is a thing they wanted to do, and they may have got steered away by well-meaning parents, or friends who looked down on it or friends who said "i wouldn't do that", it's a common thing. you won't make a living if you do that. despite the fact that many people do, and people make their livings in all sorts of ways. it's a myth that life is linear. in is important to me. we subscribe to this when we write our resume. we sometimes have to set our lives down on two pieces of paper, because we put dates on it, the impression is that there's a plan. you can have intentions and
purpose, but no one can plan it. we retrospectively knit it together and it looks like a strategy. you don't want to convey a chaotic process. you create your life. you have to look inside yourself, get to know yourself, understand your passions and interests. then you have to get out in the world and try knew things -- new things, if you spend all your time sitting and muchwaying the television -- watching the television it's unlikely you'll discover anything else. life is real and serious to all of us. i'm not writing or working on behalf of people who are well off or live in comfortable circumstances only. i wouldn't want to the get too romantic about it, but my background was like that. i was born to a large working class family in liverpool in the 1950s. our circumstances were, you know, pretty bad.
i mean we were living in a city that was devastated by the world war ii, where the economy collapsed and my father had been out of work for months and months. it's not where you start, but what is inside of you, where you set your sites. if you lose hope, a sense of possibility and transformation, yes. but the great transformative power in humanity is creativity, it's seeing something new and moving towards it. >> growing up in liverpool, you mentioned that you wanted to be a football player, and you got struck with polio. that's a big setback. >> i got polio when i was four, so it wasn't that i was going around sending my resume to coaches, and doing demonstration games in the public park. it was my family that thought i had a future in football. dad in particular, who saw a lot of talent. this is the early "50s, there
was a polio epidemic, i got it and the only person in the street and family. i went overnight from being an energetic fit muscular kid to being completely paralyzed. it affected both my legs, not the upper body. i came out on two brace, in a wheelchair , it was a cute sight. people sfon tain -- spontaneously gave me money. it was the end of that. i went to special ed. i'll tell you the interesting thing is my father who got a job as a steel erector, four years after i had it he had an industrial accident. he was working on this site, and a large beam of wood fell from the roof, 30 feet and broke his neck. he was a quadripolicemenic for
the rest of -- quadripreejic for the rest of his life. he never lost his mind. he took a big dent, but recovered. he kept encouraging me, and all of us, to find what we were good at. he said "you have to focus on your education", and pushed me hard. it wasn't like i was a willing for natural student, but it opened up interests i wouldn't otherwise have discovered, and talents i wouldn't have otherwise realised. and i don't want to psych ol guise and say it's because of that i go this, but it's how i think about it now and have done recently, it's a reference point. it was true of me too. i'm not doing it because of me, but i'm an example of what i'm talking about. >> you did it because you enjoy it. you enjoy education and thinking about these things. >> there are things i thought i wouldn't do, and meanwhile
others go in other directions. that's why everybody's resume is unique, you create your path, and it's different for everybody. sometimes you make wrong terms and end up in cul-de-sacs. if you can create a hif, you can recreate it. >> was there a moment you thought "aha i found a path that works for me." i tell you how it was for me, and it is like this for some people. finding the thing you are good at, finding your element, which is not just what you are good at, what you love to do, is a bit like falling in love. the parallel i make is this: if you do something that you love to do, your energy is different. it's a spiritual thing, i don't mean that in the religious sense, i don't not mean it that way, but in the sense where you are in high or lo spirits. if you do what you love to do, at the end of the day or week
you can be exhausted, but buzzing by having done something that you love. if you do things you don't care for, then, you know, five minutes can feel like an hour, at the end of the day you drag yourself back to the house. it's about the spiritual energy. when i say it's like falling in love. for some people finding your element is like lovatt first site. sometimes, it was this way for me, it's more like you release after a long time, that you are in love with something. you release this old friend you have, you are feeling differently about them. it was like that for me, it was not an instant thing, but over things. >> when it comms to your career some of the best advice i got was don't worry about journals and not paying, do what you are passionate about, and the money
and everything will follow, is that the similarity. >> it's sometimes true. i'm not offering a poliana view of the world. some people can't make a living from what they want to do. there's a massive movement for amateur activity at the moment. and sometimes it is misconsouth-east because people think amateur means unprofessional, not as good as professional. the literal meaning of amateur from the latin is doing something for the love of it. there are amateur actors doing it for the love of it. they are not hams, they are good actors. they don't want the uncertainty. some do want it. it's not just about the activity, but the culture that goes with it, and your circumstances. i'm not saying if you have several children and are living
in a housing project and there are serious social issues, you could wander off and seek your passion, of course not, have you possibilityies, you have to take act of your circumstances. at the same time you owe it to yourself. we only have one life that we know of and you owe it to yourself spending your time and being in your element is not just about what you do for a living, but how you spend your life. it's meeting others that share the passion. sometimes you make a living from it, sometimes you don't, sometimes you want to and sometimes you can't. somewhere in your life you need something that feeds and enriches you. that's what it's about. >> you are watching "talk to al jazeera". our guest today sir ken robinson. >> you know how they say that everybody has a pupose in life? well at one time
i felt that selling cocaine was my purpose. >> we was starving just looking for a way to succeed. >> the first time i seen rock cocaine was 1980. >> the murder rate was sky high... >> south of the 10 freway, was kind of a no man's land... >> ...you know... we're selling it to the blacks... so you go into these neighborhoods there's no cops, you can sell where you want, and when they start killing each other, nobody cares! >> i was going through like a million dollars worth of drugs just about every day. >> it's like gold... we can make a fortune... >> he was maybe the biggest guy in l.a. >> freeway rick was getting his dope from a very big operator... i think we're into something that's bigger than us... something we really can't deal with. >> they had been trafficking on behalf of the united states government. >> she could prove what she was saying... >> crack in the system >> the sun isn't up yet, but david godeski is. godeski has been homeless in
washington d.c. for nearly 7 years. last night, like most, he slept outside. with affordable housing getting increasingly scarce here there's been a spike in the number of homeless. churches, food pantries, the city, are all scrambling to meet the demand. at the public library's main branch, homeless individuals rush in when the doors open, some are even dropped off by a shuttle bus from the homeless shelters. once inside, they log onto computers to job hunt or check email. they meet friends or just read protected from the elements. >> for many years we would sort of open our doors and say "okay, we've done our job", because we're providing them a warm place to go if they've got no place else to be. >> now, social worker jean badalamenti will help provide information on homeless services and will "sensitize" staff. while government, residents and local businesses argue over the
role of the libraries, david godeski is just glad they're here. >> having a place like this where things are controlled, it's a godsend. >> so godeski will be back every day he can. . >> i'm david shuster, and you are watching "talk to al jazeera", with sir ken robinson, a leading thinker on innovation and creativity. >> so many people would agree that the education system doesn't foster creativity, are you optimistic that at some point american society will realise this and turn things around? >> america is a resilient culture, there's always reason to be optimistic. it would be wrong to
underestimate the challenges. it has major economic purposes, but they are social, cultural and personal. and it's important that we pay attention. at the moment on average across the country it's estimated that one in three students who start the ninth grade don't graduate in the 12th grade. i hesitate to use the word dropout. to call someone a dropout implies they fail. most probably the school fails them. there are lots of programs designed to re-engage children. they are more purposeful, offering support to teachers and students. these are called alternative program.
if all education was like that, we wouldn't need it. this is an issue affecting every country in the world. it's worth noting that one of the most successful education systems in the world has no standardized testing. it has a broad curriculum - this is finland. they have a lot of responsibility given to students, head teachers and teaching itself is a well respected and properly compensated profession. people will say to me "you can't compare america to finland? >> you can't. america has over 300 people in it, and finland has 5.5 million. most of education in america is organised at the state level. and there are 32 states in america with populations similar or smaller than finland. i have been to a lot. i do a lot of work in oklahoma, and some of the best schools in america are in areas of low income, high unemployment, but
they have in commonly a visionary principal, passion at staff and connection to community and a willingness to innovate in how they do it. if you keep doing the same thing, and it keeps going wrong, do something else. a lot of problems in american education are not caused by kids, but the system. if the system would change, a lot of these problems that we ease. >> thank you so much for being on al jazeera, sir kens on america tonight. >> how do you describe yourself? is.
>> a mad junk yard dog. >> are little pieces of god's green acre here. >> that green acheser here in the valley of western pennsylvania. in the lake night teen 50's the local steel mill was taken over by a company contracted to build nuclearle bos. >> it was a nice town, and then this industry came in. >> welcome to florida, 2015 i thought that we lived in a country where your property couldn't be seized for private gain. >> this may be legal, my question to you is it moral his response? there is no question of morality in business. >> and good evening i'm joey chen, if there's one thing you out to be able to count on it is the place you call home. tonight we look at two communities are that trust was