BkRev#1808: Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education. (2015). Ken Robinson. New York: Viking Penguin. $ 27.95. ISBN: 978-0670-01671-6.

Nancy Ciudad-Simmons

Mentoring and Advising Center

Georgia Gwinnett College

[email protected]

“Stay foolish. Stay hungry,” is what Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. Ken Robinson in Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education carries this message when he suggests that we must ingrain in our students – especially those who are considered at-risk – passion for life-long learning, for evolving curiosity, and never-ending awe, so they can be successful, reach their goals, have fulfilling lives, and be positive contributors to the communities they live in and of our global society.

This leader in education takes us on a reflective journey about how to guide and teach our younger generations in a more personalized and holistic way while explaining how the education model used until now and numerous times modified without success, have practically succumbed to the reality of failing our students. Robinson goes back in history, especially during the time of the Industrial Revolution, to explain the origin of mass education that was built as a pyramid – higher education being at the narrow top – and following the industrial principles of standardization, compliance, and of supply and demand which are still used. As a result, Robinson states that it has generated problems because they clash with the nature of human beings: of being unique, diverse, highly creative and imaginative, and having complex and adaptive lives.  

For this reason, he defends why a revolution in education is so long overdue. This postmodernist point of view comes from the criticism towards traditional education that he sees as not no longer feasible and that we should shift towards a more organic form of teaching, but not completely because we need to find a balance between the two.  His proposal of a more progressive and personalized education can work now in a world with digitalized technologies, various means of communication, and with a globalized vision. Robinson shows us different approaches and successful stories which re-affirm the need for cultivating innovation and creativity as an emerging model. He calls for being caring, passionate, and expert individuals to make our students grow trust, willingness, and commitment.

“Advising is teaching” is the motto used by NACADA which advisors firmly believed in, especially if we view our role from a holistic and integrated perspective. We as advisors share what Robinson states as the roles for educators, that we should engage, enable, expect, and empower our students. We also have the same objectives as teachers do, of helping our students “understand the world around them and the talents within them so they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens.” (p. xxiv). For this reason, this book can also be a great resource not only for advisors, but also for those who teach for example, a First-Year Experience course because it mentions 21st Century Skills that can be the foundation for designing activities to guide our students to choose for themselves while developing learning, life, and career skills. Robinson delivers an inspirational and motivational message that we as advisors can relate and learn from, so we can generate new ideas and strategies to assist our students. The conviction with which this author urges for change of how we teach and learn, makes us join the revolution for transforming education through advising.

Posted in: 2017 Book Reviews
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