A line consisting of students, faculty and community residents formed outside of Evans Auditorium, wrapping through The Quad to the back of the Taylor-Murphy History Building to see a knight speak on the lack of appreciation for the creative nature in education.
The Common Experience Committee brought Sir Ken Robinson, a knighted scholar, author and participant in the Vancouver Peace Summit, to the university. Robinson tied in the Common Experience theme for the year — “The Whole Mind: Crossing Boundaries of Disciplines.” Robinson advocated creativity in the classroom. The Common Experience is a program created to foster intellectual discussion across campus, according to the initiative’s Web site.
Hiroko Warshauer, senior lecturer in the department of mathematics, serves on the committee that invited Robinson to speak.
“I think Sir Ken has it right, that it’s not just changes, but thinking in terms of transforming education and what they would mean and value,” Warshauer said. “I think he’s looking toward the future and what educators want to do.”
Robinson said the world’s school systems are based on the thought that life is linear and education should follow suit. He said the dominating conception is a set template for everyone, and if they do not follow, they fail the system.
The three biggest misconceptions about creativity, Robinson said, are that it is only found in certain people, is about art and music or if innovativeness is not present, there is still hope.
“Creativity is a process, not an event,” Robinson said. “Failing is the wrong word. Instead, it is finding out what doesn’t work to find out what does.”
Jain Orr, anthropology junior, connected to the speech and said she felt that the traditional educational experience was hindering.
“I barely passed high school, failed out of college my first semester and it wasn’t until I took my first cultural anthropology class that (I saw) F’s and D’s turning to A’s,” Orr said. “I was convinced I was an idiot and that I was going nowhere in life, and here I am flourishing.”
Robinson said college students are “technology natives,” people who grew up with electronic equipment. Caleb Williams, psychology sophomore, said Robinson influenced him.
“It really made me think about how the technology in schools is run by people who aren’t native to it,” Williams said. “It makes me wonder where we’re going with the future of education when technology natives start running the show.”