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A Climate of Possibility for Kids and Teachers

Posted By Prucia Buscell, Thursday, August 29, 2013

Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in the U.S. and normally it gets less than two inches of rain a year. But from December 2004 to March 2005, an extraordinary six inches of rain soaked the desert floor. The result was a rainbow carpet of desert wildflowers-one of the most spectacular blooms in modern history.

"That proves Death Valley isn’t dead,” said Sir Ken Robinson. "It’s dormant. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility, waiting for the right conditions...

Sir Ken Robinson led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, an inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy. In 2003 he was knighted for his achievements. In a TED talk on US education, he likened the blossoming desert to what can happen for students and teachers when conditions are right. He described a successful educational program in Los Angeles where teachers receive strong support and students have a rich curriculum and interesting activities in the school and community. It was called "alternative,” he said, and if that type of opportunity were available to all, there’d be no need for "alternatives.”

Students need diversity, curiosity-which he calls the engine of achievement-and creativity, and he said that means they need humanities, arts and physical education, not just standardization and testing. Teaching is a creative profession, he said, and great teachers are mentors who also stimulate, provoke and engage. He believes our culture has tended to de-professionalize teaching. The real role of educational leaders is not command and control, he said, but "climate control-creating a climate of possibility” where learners blossom.

Listen to his recent talk on "How to Change Education from the Ground Up."

"If we are to have a revolution in education,” Sir Robinson said "it probably won’t come from the top down but from the bottom up.”

A teacher named Pete Reilly wrote an engaging piece about Robinson’s talk, with pictures, in his blog Ed Tech Journeys.


1.100 Year Bloom in Death Valley - 2005, 

2., National Park Service 

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