Take a pinch of ADHD and combine with 2 generous teaspoons of ODD and shake well………

We have almost done it. We have almost managed to test kids to death and construct a new model for the ideal designer child that fits our “factory” paradigm of education.

I teach many kids who now spend more time preparing for tests, getting tested, worrying about marks they received, studying for the next test and so on without any breaks to ENJOY learning and explore their interests.

Kids as young as 3 are routinely tested, labelled, drugged and made into education robots.

Parents obsess over terms such as ODD. ADHD, “the spectrum” and nobody seems to realise kids come in a myriad of varieties- just like adults.

Yes- surprising news- kids ARE humans and have rights.

They deserve to be allowed to be who they are- not who we want them to become!

They deserve to have their gifts and difficulties accepted- we are not perfect either.

It’s OK. It was meant to be like that!

Rejoice in their differences and explore these kids. Very likely they will teach us things we have forgotten like-

  • the value of play in learning
  • how to think creatively
  • the fact that we have a cocktail of multiple intelligences and that is OK
  • why it’s important to have some spare time for dreaming, doing nothing or whatever? time. We all need a slice of WHATEVER? time in our planners!

Do we truly want the world to be dull, boring and colourless with cloned child – human lemmings walking straight over the cliff edge into a world without creativity, dreaming, ideas or simply the space to think?

We ALL need to wake up and treat every child as a gift to the world.

Over the past week I have had so many creative, brilliant children do amazing things! Keep in mind that most of these students have had at least one if not 4 negative labels slapped on them. The label they really need is  BRILLIANT!

In 7 days I have witnessed kids:

Make up a fantasy narrative stories in 5 ninutes based on a tower of glue sticks, they made while I spoke to his parents

Take some packets of stickers and use them to write a really interesting book.

Talk to me entirely in antonyms for a whole hour just for fun.

Notice mathematical patterns way beyond their years.

Beg for more time to write and write pages and pages of coherent text. I have a few kids like this – their creative writing is amazing and they fall deeply into their narratives and accept criticism and craft their writing. Sadly we have almost killed the love for writing with our genre driven madness!

Generate innovative ways to save bees, recycle, save endangered species, care for trees and avoid interfering with the echolocation process many animals depend on.

Write the sort of poetry you would be unlikely to even see from a third year English honours student- the sort that takes you from joy to tears in a flash!

Sketch a building accurately on a tissue in 5 mins flat! (From a Grade 2)

Take popular learning games, change the rules and make entirely new games better than the original!

Make huge leaps in thinking about maths and show the levels of maths understanding you would not expect in a graduating high-school kid.

I have students who question EVERYTHING, kids who beg for spare time, kids who (dare I say this out loud?) want to be kids!

The number of labels we can now apply is endless – in fact they read like a recipe book! Take a pinch of ADHD, add in two teaspoons of Oppositional Defiance Disorder and shake them well and place them in a giant “spectrum” cake tin. Cook the mixture in a special oven called “school” for at least 10 years or at least until all the lumps, bumps of individual differences have vanished.

The innovative Sir Ken Robinson has been proposing radical changes for many years. Education is the only thing in this world that doesn’t really change much. If you could bring back your great, great, great granny she would walk around in a daze looking at planes in the sky, computers, Ipads and so on but if you took her to the local school she would relax and feel at home.

We are trying to control kids rather than feed their curiosity, fuel their enthusiasm and nurture their skills and creativity. What are we scared of? Most likely we are scared of the kids themselves. But why?

Sort it out before our kids all grow up with the mindset I see so often- hating school, feeling like an abject failure before 8 years and with an understanding that they will never ever have any spare time to just be, dream, think and wonder.

It never had to be like this and it is truly time for a new paradigm.

Sir Ken is right- watch this along with  1,952,822 others and let’s start a learning revolution today!


“every student deserves to be treated like the miracle that they are—with personalized, individualized education that addresses that “world within.” Sir Ken Robinson


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