The Loss of a True Influencer – Sir Ken Robinson

Younger colleagues of ours (and generally those more regularly steeped in current Social Medial culture) often refer to various, popular online personalities that they and many others enjoy following as “Influencers”.

Hearing this last week of the untimely passing of Sir Ken Robinson was unwelcome news, during an already challenging time in education and beyond. The truth is, many on our team have long considered Sir Ken Robinson to be one of the most profound Influencers in the arena of Educational Transformation over the last 15 years.

It seems a bit silly to try to write much more about his work and his message, when his own words and sense of wit and passion were so well crafted and delivered as to both entertain and awaken simultaneously.

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Of his much-heralded TED Talks, this excerpt on the topic of educational reformation vs. transformation-

And human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves. And you might imagine education would be the way that happens, but too often, it’s not. Every education system in the world is being reformed at the moment and it’s not enough. Reform is no use anymore, because that’s simply improving a broken model. What we need — and the word’s been used many times in the past few days — is not evolution, but a revolution in education. -Sir Ken Robinson

Also from this same 2010 presentation entitled, Bring on the learning revolution! his citation of an Abraham Lincoln quote focusing on the need to occasionally abandon unexamined adherence to past practices in order to solve unprecedented problems, which is a timely concept given the current challenges facing education-

The great problem for reform or transformation is the tyranny of common sense. People think, “Well it can’t be done any differently, because that’s the way it’s done.” I came across a great quote recently from Abraham Lincoln, who I thought you’d be pleased to have quoted at this point. 

 “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.” I love that. Not rise to it, rise with it. “As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” 

-President Abraham Lincoln

I love that word, “disenthrall.” You know what it means? That there are ideas that all of us are enthralled to, which we simply take for granted as the natural order of things, the way things are. And many of our ideas have been formed, not to meet the circumstances of this century, but to cope with the circumstances of previous centuries. – Sir Ken Robinson

So with that, we will merely add to the chorus of appreciation for him that has been reverberating across so many outlets and channels over this last week by saying:

What an incredible loss this man’s passing is to the national and global education dialogue; and how lucky we all are to have a personal and moral connection to his persistent demand that schools need to become instruments to help learners find and foster their talents and passions. And recognizing his insistence that Teachers and Parents, working together, are the partnership that has the most promise of realizing that type of change moving forward.

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Our own Jodi Halligan and Sir Ken Robinson following his presentation at Chico State University – February, 2016