Debating creativity and 21st century learning


"I firmly believe that you can't be creative without acting intelligently. Similarly, the highest form of intelligence is thinking creatively." Ken Robinson; The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything ; Allen Lane; 2008; p56



Ken Robinson's book, "The Element" and related videos provides the main focus for discussion and investigation in this page.

In order to facilitate some healthy discussion about the topic of creativity in an educational context several other videos and links to websites have, however, been included. These are:

  • In a TED Talk Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about creativity, fulfillment and his concept of flow (being completely involved in an activity for its own sake).
  • In a TED Talk Elizabeth Gilbert offers perhaps a personal perspective.
  • In a TED Talk Larry Lessig gives an interesting legal perspective.
  • In a TED Talk Robert Sutton in the Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Speaker Series provides perhaps what we might call an entrepeurial definition of creativity.
  • The Learning and Teaching Scotland website has a range of interesting and useful materials
  • The Guardian has a range of useful materials.



Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Although Sir Ken Robinson asks the question "Do schools kill creativity?" he also points us to the importance of creativity within our educational system and to society as a whole. This entertaining talk is a powerful introduction to a study of the importance of creativity in education



The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything; Ken Robinson


In "The Element" Sir Ken Robinson describes the The Element as the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. The book is thereafter all about how every one of us can find our element, connecting with our true talents and fulfilling our creative potential.

Ken Robinson believes that we are all born with tremendous natural capacities, but that we lose touch with them as we spend more time in the world. Whether it’s a child bored in class, an employee being deployed ineffectively, or just someone who feels frustrated but can’t quite explain why, too many people don’t know what they are really capable of achieving. Education, business and society as a whole are losing out.

"The Element" draws on the stories of a wide range of people showing how all of them came to recognize their unique talents and were able to make a successful living doing what they love.

Ken Robinson claims that a large number of people have no idea what their true talents are and they are don't really have a good idea what they are capable of achieving. They get on with life but they are not very fulfilled by what they are doing. He also claims, however, that some people love what they are doing and they couldn't imagine doing anything else with their lives. He says they are in their element because they love what they are doing and in fact many of these people enjoy what they are doing so much that they would do it for nothing. These people are in their element.





Click to debate any of the above