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Summary: Sir Ken Robinson in Nanaimo

On April 26th, I had the privilege of attending the Windows of Opportunity seminar in Nanaimo, BC that featured world renown author, speaker, and educator Sir Ken Robinson.  He did not disappoint as he used his dry wit to not only entertain the audience but also motivate us to participate with him in his educational revolution.

Although there were too many things to possibly write down, here are a few key thoughts (paraphrased):

“All people have talents; some find them while others do not… Some are provided with ample opportunity to showcase their talents in the school system; many have talents that are not emphasized in the current system… the education system needs to provide opportunities for students to reveal their talents.

“The education system does not often respond to who students are.”

“It’s very hard to know what we take for granted… Because we take it for granted!”

“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. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save the country. — Abraham Lincoln

“Our current education system was designed for the industrial revolution and remains a manufacturing process where conformity, standardization and linearity is the norm.”

“School subjects are still divided into “useful” and “useless” according to the opinions of society/schools. Things that are useful are those that lead to university or can supposedly get you a job. Those that are considered useless are things like the arts.”

“We often punish people by taking away the things they enjoy doing.”

“Human life is not linear but our education systems are; human life is inherently creative.”

“We are in a state of cultural evolution.”

Flowers came to life in Death Valley following the extremely rare rainfall in 2005.

Flowers came to life in Death Valley following the extremely rare rainfall in 2005.

“Analogy of gardening: Gardeners do not grow plants – plants grow themselves. Gardeners provide the optimal environment for plants to flourish (sunlight/shade, water, heat, etc). One environment can cause one type of plant to flourish while another to die or become dormant. In Death Valley in 2005, it rained 7 inches. In an environment that was supposedly ‘dead’ of plant life, under the right conditions, a beautiful layer of flowers formed. Under the right environment, people flourish.”

“Education must be personalized, not standardized.”

Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” “We have no choice but to push the system and start to blossom.”


For more on Sir Ken Robinson, please watch his TED Talks Video or read his book, “The Element”.

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Chris Wejr

Proud father of twin girls and a son. Currently working as the Principal of James Hill Elementary School (K-5) in Langley, BC, Canada. Passionate about strengths-based education and leadership, reconciliation, assessment, and human motivation.

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