Credit of featured image: @Sirkenrobinson on Twitter
Amidst all the global chaos and madness that 2020 delivered it was easy for certain events to slip by unnoticed. We were just about at the finish line of what many would agree to be one of the worst years in living memory when I learned that unfortunately, four months previous on the 21st of August, Sir Ken Robinson passed away after losing a short battle with cancer.
Some may not have heard of Ken Robinson before, for the first seventeen years of my life neither had I but I’ll never forget the first time I heard him speak. It was at the beginning of my 5th year in secondary school, one of my teachers decided to show us his 2006 TED talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”. I honestly don’t think in all the years prior to or since that day I’ve felt an instant, strong resonance to another person’s message. Something in me woke up. As we approach the end of our time in school we enter into the part of our lives in which we begin to make choices, real choices that will affect our future. His opinions and perspectives on education and the way consequently live our lives once we leave school spoke directly to the emotions I was feeling at the time. Ken Robinson’s ideas, particularly his concept of “The Element” have had a profound impact on my life and the direction I have chosen to take with it.
At the end of this year I’ll be producing a research project in the form of a radio documentary which focuses on how each of us as individuals discover our passions in life. Some people have many, some people have one, some people earn a living through theirs and unfortunately some people think they don’t have any or never discover them at all. I’ll be looking at how our education system can steer so many of us away from our passions and ultimately lead us down career paths that don’t offer us a sense of fulfilment. This research will be heavily influenced by Robinson’s work. The project will act as an accumulation of all the perspectives I’ve gathered since that first day I heard him speak.
Although I’ve discovered others along the way that share similar ideas, for example Simon Sinek and his concept of “WHY”, I’ll always hold a deep gratitude and respect for Robinson for being the man that initially steered me on to this path. The opportunity to ever meet the man has unfortunately now passed but hopefully his ideas will continue to challenge the way we look at education so that we can guide future generations towards careers and lives full of fulfilment, passion and happiness.