Thank you for this link. I listened to the presentation with great interest.
I'm a former elementary teacher turned vocational ed. instructor. Sir Robinson's spoke to me on many levels.
1) Secondary education is still largely geared towards producing students to attend college. Vocational education tends to be regarded by some "core subject" teachers and/or traditionally minded building administrators as having less intrinsic value.
2) I agree that there are many types of intelligence. I also think that the education system has identified the types of intelligence most "appropriate" to academic achievement and that classroom management and instruction help promote certain styles of learning while suppressing or rechanneling others.
For example, consider the accountability movement. Under the "teach to the test" form of accountability, the instruction of creative writing HAS BEEN STANDARDIZED to help students perform better on the written examination.
We have standardized the format of instruction: prewriting, writing, revising, editing, and publishing.
We have standardized the structure.
We have even standardized the component parts of a story.
The concept of creative writing has been reduced to an industrial-like mass produced process where raw thoughts are input onto a mental conveyor belt. The convey belt winds through various stations in our minds ... prewriting ... writing ... revising ... and editing ... and is output as a final draft ready for scoring.
Where is the creative process?
3) After 17 years of teaching, I quit my job as an elementary teacher because my entire grade level was standardized. Teachers no longer wrote lesson plans by themselves. All teachers on my grade level now had to write lesson plans together and all teachers were expected to teach these lesson plans exactly as they were written. Individual creativity was stifled in favor of "standardized instruction" between classrooms. Inevitably this "dumbed down" the quality of instruction as we were all reduced to teaching to the level of the weakest teacher. Instruction became a boring repetition of lectures supported by assigned reading passages and reinforced with worksheets or questions to be answered in the textbook. Teachers, in my view, were no longer teachers. We were facilitators of instructional recipes.
4) Part of what brought me back to education was the fact that the instruction of vocational education is still largely a creative process. Teaching the culinary arts in Arizona is a bit like teaching used to be for self-contained elementary teachers in Texas many years ago. As a vocational ed. teacher I am expected to teach to the state standards. How I do this is my business. I can sequence instructional topics any way I choose. I can choose the method of instructional format for each of my lessons. Since there is no district curriculum, I have had to write my own. Since we had no textbooks, I got to review textbooks and order the ones I actually wanted. To be candid, I could probably toss the standards out the window and I really don't think anyone would notice. Why? Because vocational education isn't a core academic subject. Vocational ed teachers are largely regarded as "baby sitters" who keep the undesirable not college bound students gainfully occupied so that the "real teachers" (core subject areas) may prepare their students for college.
Of the six vocational ed teachers at my school, I am the only teacher with an education background. The others were certified through a combination of work experience for their CTE (career and technical education) endorsements and by taking state mandated classes.
This does not mean to say that the other CTE teachers are not "real" teachers. It's really just a matter of perception.
So long as the state and district leave me alone to do my job, I really don't care what other teachers think. I'll take the creative flexibility to teach what I need to teach over standardized instruction any day of the week.
Creativity is ultimately the hallmark that separates a chef from a cook. Cooks teach using standardized recipes. This is a common practice in the food service industry because standardized recipes ensure consistency in food quality, plating presentation, and portion sizes.
Chefs are the guiding force who create these recipes.
crème brulée with an almond tuille and fresh fruit garnish