Who ever said cheating was a bad thing?

Posted by Tom DeCaigny, Jun 03, 2007 0 comments

After considerable Vegas stimulation and conference information overload, I'm still thinking about yesterday's Arts Education Innovator and Culminating Forum session with Sir Ken Robinson.  I first saw him speak in Lisbon, Portugal at the UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education and then lucked out months later by catching his address to the National Governor's Association on C-Span late one night. 

Sir Ken Robinson is an excellent storyteller. He's witty, concise and manges to expose deeper meaning through simple narrative. (Check out his new book:  "Out of Our Minds"). He makes a strong case for the potential of arts education to address global economic changes and the growing antagonisms between international cultural groups.  His discussion yesterday of a "climate crisis in human resources" struck a particular note since some colleagues and I had experienced a related phemenonon at lunch the day before. 

After being seated at a Bistro in the Paris hotel (speaking of a climate crisis, can anyone explain to me how it is that a hotel can justify air conditioning an outdoor patio?!  What happens in Vegas, unfortunately doesn't always stay in Vegas...), our waiter noticed our conference badges and inquired what we were in town for. We explained what Americans for the Arts was all about, and he shared that he was a "former artist" who had attended art school on the East Coast.  He went on to share that he only knew one person from art school who "worked" as an artist and that there wasn't any money to be had in the arts.

This jaded attitude seems to reflect Sir Ken Robinson's point about a human resource crisis.  This young waiter seemed to have missed the point about creativity (I'm not sure I would recommend his art school).  To him, there was no relationship between his training as an artist and his potential in the modern-day work force.  He seems to be stuck in the industrialist model of education - one based on technical skill - and oblivious to the potential to apply his imagination across disciplines. He would be well-served by the reformed education system Sir Ken is calling on us to develop.

"In school they call it cheating when you look over someone's shoulder to get an answer, out of school they call it collaboration" - Sir Ken Robinson -

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