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My Day with Sir Ken Robinson

Note to self -- Always be prepared with a good question. 

I had my chance to shine and I missed it!

In January, I had the pleasure of spending the better part of a day with Sir Ken Robinson, one of the leading voices in creativity and innovation in education. Mr. Robinson also has the distinction of presenting one of the first TED Talks ten years ago. Some people say that Ted Talks made Sir Ken, however fans of Sir Ken will argue that he made TED Talks! His video has been viewed by an estimated 350 million people in more than 160 countries.

As one English educator friend said to me:

"What Paul is to music; Ken is to education."

Mr. Robinson was scheduled to provide the keynote speech to a large audience at the Abbotsford Conference Centre. Additionally, a luncheon was held for him and 30-40 educators. During this time, each of us had an opportunity for a small chat and photos. Mr. Robinson then gave the group a preview and some anecdotes about his upcoming keynote. He proved to be a natural comedian, as he is the antithesis of dry English wit, with a whip smart ability to make his answers humorous and memorable.

As we approached the afternoon's presentation, we got word that there was a 15-minute delay because the crowds attending the conference had created a rare traffic jam in downtown Abbotsford.

Imagine that, gridlock in downtown Abbotsford due to a celebrity educator!

One of the event's coordinators told us that we had Sir Ken to ourselves for an extra 15 minutes for questions and then looked directly at me to see if I would like to kick off the bonus visit. I politely passed as I had not prepared a question that was worthy, all the while kicking myself profusely (mentally) for not being prepared to ask a provocative question to one of my favorite celebrity role models.

As is often the case with such missed opportunities, I spent the rest of the day preparing the ultimate questions. If I had another chance, these are the following three questions I would love to ask Sir Ken.

Question #1

Do you think there are more, the same or less truly original ideas being generated today as compared to other times in history?

Part Two - What strategies can we use to assist students to generate (more) original thought?

Question #2

Due to the incredible advances in information technology and the access to vast amounts of information, how has the present accelerated rate of change impacted the traditional distinctions between knowledge and skills?

Part Two - How has this affected the associated transitions from:

Information -- Knowledge -- Wisdom

Question #3

When creating a holistic environment that nurtures the diverse talents of our many students (his words), what comments or advice do you have regarding school design and programming?

Although perhaps a little philosophical in nature, these are the questions that we ask ourselves every day as we continue to develop Aberdeen Hall. We look to renowned innovators for inspiration and ideas.

What question would you ask Mr Robinson if you had a chance?

At Aberdeen Hall, our leadership teams are encouraged to foster an environment that relentlessly pursues improvement and innovation. By doing so, our organization will avoid stagnation and continue to thrive.

Be it personal or institutional, experiencing progress is truly one of the most satisfying experiences in life.

Please enjoy Ken Robinson's TED Talk at:

As always, I welcome and enjoy your comments.

With warmest regards,

Chris Grieve

Head of School

My Day with Sir Ken Robinson
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