'Factory-style' education

Dateline: Wed 09 Mar 2011

This is a great video presentation -- a speech, with animation, by Sir Ken Robinson of the Royal Society of Arts. The subject is public education. Throw in the prevalence of the attention defiicit disorder diagnosis and how antiquated our notions of education are, and it is truly food for thought.

Thanks to John Blatt for sending it.




hendy [Member] said:


The premise of the video is incorrect, and there's lots of science to back up the lack of correct conclusion. Directly, correlation doesn't equal causation; this video is as fallacious as the ones equating childhood vaccines with autism.

I've had first hand experience with ADHD in adult and child cases. I have an autistic brother. I can tell you that there are at minimum 17 possible physical brain types-- directly correlated with hormonal dosings from gestation through puberty.

There are some interesting conclusions, but they're not based on REAL FACTS and the incidence of ADHD prescriptions doesn't correlate at all with his "map".

Ritalin is heaven-sent for those that need it. It's likely overprescribed. But for those that need it, it means ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. So, fie on the animation, fie on the conclusion. It's not fact-based. I've seen the arguments before, and they're made by the buck-up-kid nincompoops that abhor anything but rock-ribbed results. There are some truisms that make the arguments seem convincing. I have first hand knowledge that they're not.

2011-03-09 22:07:20

Tell The Truth [Member] said:


2011-03-10 13:06:27

ruthholl [Member] said:

The person who sent this is ADHD. Here are some of his thoughts...

"ADD/ADHD is a problem. I definitely needed medication as do many other people. I think that the reason why I needed medication is because I couldn't calm my mind enough to focus on the task at hand. This represented itself in a lack of impulse control, outbursts, a total lack of focus, and the many symptoms of hyperactivity. Medication helped me fit into the structure the school wanted, but it also made me a zombie. *Caveat - medications have changed significantly since then. I know doctors are much better at treating ADD/ADHD now.* But some unintended problems I had were (and maybe this was just ritalin) a lack of creativity, trouble socializing, and trouble participating in class. These led to issues dealing with other children, which had an effect on my overall experience at school and eventually led to me dropping out. Not that I am a textbook case, but medication has drawbacks; many of which are not reported.

"In the interest of the video, I would like to suggest a paradigm shift to dealing with these "ailments." Why not try to find ways to engage children as opposed to cram them into the current structure. At the martial arts academy I have watched children's attitudes transform after an engaging class. Children respond positively to structured, physical learning. I have also watched my own ability to focus become enhanced by learning how to focus a punch or on not being punched. So what about having a physical class in the morning? I wonder what effect that would have on the rest of a child's morning classes. It's like how Caesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer) runs the energy out of the dog before he tries to teach it something. Then, feed the children a healthy lunch and let them work more energy out at recess. Follow it by some art - get the creative juices flowing, then literature and grammer. I'm just throwing it out there, but I think we can restructure things to better address the children as opposed to the curriculum.

"I think important questions are being asked in this video. There is room for response. Debate. Reform. And f---,re-reform. Which, by the by, is something he says in the full video. He says that the whole world is constantly reforming education by trying to make it better, namely through higher test scores. The short video is not taken from one piece of the whole talk. Rather it is a compilation, which may be responsible for some of the confusion. I do suggest watching the whole video - he's really funny. Also, check out TED and the RSA websites for more information (and there's a lot)."

My point in quoting John is that he does come to these observations from a personal standpoint....and he does believe in taking the meds. I think he was just impressed that this British guy is addressing an issue about which he feels strongly.

2011-03-11 10:21:09

whosear [Member] said:

I need my own blog to appropriately express my opinion, so I'll summize: on ADHD it is my observation that the strongest influence is a lack of parental involvement and attention; that he correctly summarizes public education but fails to clarify the reason why it is mediocre: it's main goal since it's inception is conformity; and that he Diane Rativich earlier analogy that American public education is like a battleship, it takes forever to change course.

Change the main objective, then we may succeed. Until then, good money after bad.

2011-03-11 18:07:13

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Whosear, are you really trying to say, that most of ADHD is due to lack of parental involvement/

Re-read your pot.

I doubt you meant that.

2011-03-11 18:53:41

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

POST re-read your POST
God I detest iPhone auto-type

2011-03-11 20:43:43

hendy [Member] said:

My observations are that ADD/ADHD are a bit like being bi-polar, there are incredible swings, with focus problems. My brother took Ritalin and made it through school. There could have been no other way. But he was diagnosed as autistic over 40yrs ago, when learning disabilities were a primitive science.

My stepson had it, and fought mightily to get off Ritalin. It was very hard on him to do so: get good grades, not act out, and behave somewhat civility towards his brother and sister. I could look at him, and in ten seconds successfully tell you whether or not he'd taken his meds. No, we didn't feed him pounds of red dye#40, etc. He was that way-- no attention, but a good mind. He fought hard for the privilege of not taking Ritalin, and in the short term, he won. In the long term, although he made it through Purdue, he's vastly underemployed and a marginal alcoholic. He's gradually 'growing out of it', but he hasn't gotten past his fratboy stage and he's nearly 30.

My ex also had it. Lots of brains, more than any three of us, yet was a victim of prior spouse abuse. Had PTSD bad, along with long term depression-- and NO focus. Along the way, there was a lot of damage before I got there, more than I ever realized. She started taking the highest dose possible, more speed in a tablet than a human should take, and it calmed her right down. Focus, for the first time in a dozen years in her life. She was able to get employed successfully. Calmed right down. Is successful in many ways now. And if she misses two doses, she's like a hurricane on top of a nuclear blast after the meteor hit-- and I'm not exaggerating.

The problems that I feel, and I'm not a medical professional but am a professional researcher and analyst, lead to ADHD/ADD are varied. I believe there's a chemical imbalance in MAO, just like SSRIs are needed for those with depression and bi-polar disease. I really dislike having to resort to pharmacology to address the problem, but often, CBT doesn't work until you initiate remediation physiologically-- meds. Then you have a chance. Lacking that, it's nigh impossible to alleviate the symptoms.

Three cases. All were helped with Ritilan or variants like Lexapro. All were helped. Two received CBT that further helped things. I've seen other cases where I don't believe ADD/ADHD was what I was seeing, even though it had been diagnosed. But I'm not a doc. Only someone that cares enough to have read dozens and dozens of books and research on the problem. And I'm only a little smarter for it; there seems to be much that is plainly unknown.

Public education, as it regards remediation, isn't good but it's better than it was. It takes generations to not only evaluate, but remediate-- and FUND. Exception handling isn't something that schools do very well, even Montessori schools. Teachers are only now being taught how to recognize and also deal with something outside of a narrow standard deviation. It'll take time.

2011-03-11 21:38:29

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Thanks, Hendy. A remarkable personal story. We all have them, but you were brave enough to share yours, on this delicate subject.

Over time, our opinions moderate, as drugs/therapy/treatment evolve. In the case of one lady close to me, when she was 3-4, and acting like a complete angel at preschool, she was breaking furniture out of rage, at home. She's in her 20s now, medicated, college grad, very functional, mother...but it was a 20-year journey for her and her parents. Sometimes painful to watch. The helpless feeling is overwhelming sometimes, or so I'm told. I give props to any parent(s) who work hard at it, and try all available options. It's like a part-time job. And I will not criticize the menu of solutions any parent(s) choose, when they do it in good faith. Including drugs.

And it's one of those mostly-in-the-shadows battles many families fight, because it's not a genteel subject for polite MCL dinner conversation. But it's huge and it's everywhere.

And another thought: the case I mention, was a well-to-do family, both parents college grads, gainfully (well) employed. They had resources poor families do not. So this mostly-quiet battle with kids' problems, is even more difficult when your household is a single parent, under-unemployed, welfare, homeless....add on the handicapping conditions, and you know many of those kids end up being long-term societal costs. It's heart-breaking.

Europeans uniformly recognize the value of early childhood ed and interventions. Investments. FOR productive adults and AGAINST long-term recidivism. We're still in the 1930s overall, on this important topic. It's expensive. So is long-term care/prisons.

I'm still scratching my head over whosear. Parental involvement? Huh?

2011-03-12 06:35:25

guy77money [unverified] said:

Already seen this video clip over at Jon's Indy Democrat blog. But thanks for reposting it. As for the posts I will try to respond when I get (kids and it Saturday) quiet time to digest them.

2011-03-12 11:32:55

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ruthie, honey, the alphabet kids are on the loose again.

Do you need a Sgt.-at-Arms?

2011-03-14 07:11:53

greg wright [unverified] said:

Thank you for the post. As a former public school board member, I reached conclusions that were not different from those expressed by Mr. Robinson. Parents need alternatives to meet the individual needs of children. Our tax dollars should follow the children.

Greg wright

2011-03-14 11:38:59

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

The guy is out to lunch on his ADD/ADHD tangent. He shouldn't have brought it up in his little talk.

I have a wife and son both diagnosed by physicians with ADD. I live with it every day in interacting with both of them and let me tell you - it is a real disorder and needs to be treated as a medical disorder.

Otherwise, the guy makes some fairly relevant points.

Teachers don't get to teach these days. They do tests, prepare for tests, endlesslesly chart kids' lack of progress or progress.

Teaching these days is all about MEASURING.
Teachers don't want it to be about that; it has been forced on them by education bureaucrats and politicians.

The teachers I know well are very, very frustrated that they can't be left alone by the educational bureacracy (and politicians) to TEACH kids.

I do agree that radically innovative new ways of "doing school" are needed. Making kids sit in a classroom listening to lectures is cruel and unusual punishment. In many school districts, not much has changed since I went to school more than 40 years ago.

Instead of blasting teachers and adding more mind-numbing periodical testing, the powers-who-are should be advocating for creative innovations in presenting information so that kids don't dread going to school every weekday.

I think that was the guy's main point in his video.

2011-03-14 12:54:00

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

If that was his main point, he needs a teacher to show him how to communicate it. Geeeesh.

2011-03-14 13:42:09

hendy [Member] said:

Whitebeard, I would tend to agree with you but my experience with these things is older in my own experience. My children have done well, but I wonder how much they really know sometimes. Sometimes I'm positively surprised, and other times, there are, well, chasms.

You have a lot of contentiousness to deal with. From the fundies to the ultra-radicals (sometimes the same thing), there are different pulls. I wish I knew a better answer to the basic question of direction. It's my belief that teachers make all of the difference.... but it's difficult to qualify, let alone quantify as we do now.

2011-03-14 17:40:51

Zorba [unverified] said:

Last Saturday NPR aired a story about a study in the Netherlands on the effects of restrictive diets and children with ADHD. The results are rather promising. Here's the link:


2011-03-15 12:11:14

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