Nicole Jacobsen
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Sir Robinson ESD.jpeg ESD students pose outside of SMU's Dallas Hall upon hearing the Tate Lecture A-and-A session featuring Sir Ken Robinson.

“Walk towards the things that scare you,” suggested Sir Ken Robinson, internationally renowned leader in education reformation, addressing a crowd of students and teachers at Southern Methodist University’s Tate Lecture Series. More than a dozen Upper School students and ESD faculty members had the privilege to attend the moderated Q-and-A session on Tuesday, November 19.

When discussing education in America, Robinson asserted that teachers need to provide students with “rigor and discipline, as well as opportunity,” so that students can “find what they are good at.” He argued that as a result of such inquiry, creativity, and discovery, students “are more fulfilled and feel a greater sense of purpose.” Education’s ultimate purpose, according to Robinson, is “not to fill an empty mind but to create an open one” by personalizing a student’s educational experience.

“Robinson expressed the importance of creativity for our society and even for the survival of our species,” Cal Etcheverry, a freshman at ESD, said. “Influencing creativity helps students find their own personal talents and skills so they can strive to achieve them. Robinson’s ideas about personalization and encouraging creativity in school honestly reminded me of ESD.”

“I appreciated that Sir Robinson approached the topic of our education system, which sounds pretty dry, with humor and meaning,” Emily Barnes ’14, said. “The biggest thing he said that stood out to me was that we need a revolution in education, not just reform. His ideas really made me think about the way our society views learning and school–we take for granted that the system works well, but in reality there is so much more potential in education than we realize.”

Robinson inspired and challenged not only the students, but also the teachers. He suggested to faculty, “How you work with students is their education. The only thing that truly changes education is great teachers.”

Tolly Salz, Upper School English teacher, said, “At ESD, teachers take that suggestion to heart, striving to create a culture and climate where students have a sense of autonomy and ownership while exploring ideas in community — focusing perhaps not on only one predetermined destination, but rather on discovering various avenues of learning with others along the way.”

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