Why I recommend "Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative"

by Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson’s ideas have been popular on the web lately, mainly because of his fantastic talk at TED. After seeing that talk I decided to get his book from my local library. At first I was a little concerned because the book read a little like his presentation put into writing, but after I while I realized that there was a great deal of depth to his writing and ideas.
He has a clear history of why we teach the way we do in mainstream schools and concrete suggestions of how we can change. He also has a chapter on how companies can encourage creativity in employees (even if they have had a mainstream education).
There was one thing that was surprising for me: he did not mention Waldorf Education in the book, even though it addresses many of the shortcomings of mainstream education. I realize that his focus was primarily on public education but he did mention several alternative education forms including Montessori. I was left wondering whether he felt that Waldorf promotes creativity or not. Of course, since both of my kids are in Waldorf school, you can guess what my opinion is on that…

2 thoughts on “Why I recommend "Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative"

  1. Hi Dave. What’s your opinion on Montessori? Our kids started at a Montessori school when they turned 2. So, far we love it (and they love it too). But, I’m curious about your take as a Waldorf parent. We’re struggling with what we’re going to do when they start kindergarten… since we have a choice of sending them to a great public school or continuing on with Montessori.

  2. Rich,

    I think Montessori is great! I went to Montessori for pre-school in Palo Alto many years back (my teacher was Jerry Garcia’s first wife). Montessori and Waldorf are like two sides of the same coin: they both have similar goals of producing well-rounded human beings, but take opposite approaches. Montessori is very child directed and focused on practical skills. Waldorf is teacher directed and focused on a more magical experience. I think the choice really depends on each child as well as your reaction to the actual school (there are good and bad schools of every pedagogy). But after watching Ken Robinson’s presentation you have to think hard before you consider public school education, because even the great public schools often stifle creativity (some charter schools are the exception).

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