Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

This video of a talk by Ken Robinson – “Do schools kill creativity?” – is an excerpt from the longer video from the TED conference [Technology, Entertainment, Design] – which summarizes the talk:

“Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize — much less cultivate — the talents of many brilliant people.

“Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences.”

“We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

“By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity to take a chance. They have become frightened of being wrong.

“And we run our companies like this, by the way, we stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make.

“I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

Also see transcript article of his presentation: Do schools kill creativity?

Ken Robinson is author of the book Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.

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This video is a book review by Jurgen Wolff of Robinson’s book, from Wolff’s post Out of our minds (how to be more creative)

Jurgen Wolff is author of the book Creativity Now!.


The Rotund blog post/article “Gifted Kids, Gifted Adults” makes the excellent point that special classes are not necessarily what gifted and talented kids need to thrive.

The blog author writes, “Might I have benefited from a program tailored specifically to my intellectual and social needs? Sure. We all flourish when placed in a specially designed bubble that centers the world around us. But should this bubble be necessary?

“Kids that are the kind of gifted talked about in the Time article [Are We Failing Our Geniuses?] are almost invariably, as is mentioned in the article, autodidacts. This is a good skill to have because, even if your brain is nurtured and cherished, at some point you aren’t going to be in school anymore. I’m still an autodidact. The majority of my learning happens because I teach myself.”

Related video (on Teachable Moment on Finding Creativity as an Adult – Author and spiritual teacherĀ  Elizabeth LesserĀ  talks with creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson about finding your most creative self as an adult.

Also see my related article: Getting out of school alive

and related post: Kids and creativity in the classroom.



  1. “We are educating people out of their creativity.” I could not agree more. Keith Sawyer wisely writes that “creativity is the watchword of the 21st century.” And yet schools are organized to suck the creativity right out of students. I’m convinced this can only lead to disaster.

What do you think about these topics?