Learn from art and drama schools, says Sir Ken Robinson

University lecturers can learn how to teach creativity by looking at innovative practice found in art colleges and music schools, claims education expert

June 17, 2015

It is a myth that creativity cannot be taught in universities, according to education guru Sir Ken Robinson.

“When people say you cannot teach creativity, they have never been to an art school or music school,” said Sir Ken in a talk to an audience at the Royal Society of Arts headquarters on 16 June. The education expert's lectures on creativity in education have been viewed more than 40 million times online.

His talk, titled Do Schools Kill Creativity?, filmed in 2006, has been viewed more than 33 million times on the TED site and is the non-profit education organisation’s most-viewed video.

“There is a tremendous sector  of specialist colleges that specialise in creativity – art colleges and performing arts colleges,” he said, adding that larger universities could “learn lessons” from these institutions.

Sir Ken, a former professor of education at the University of Warwick, who specialised in theatre-in-education, said conservatoires are “repositories of fantastic pedagogic processes”, but this “tremendous creative capacity [had been] pushed to the side”.

In a wide-ranging talk, Sir Ken recommended the introduction of training courses to teach creative thinking in universities as many academics were “not natural teachers”.

That was because many lecturers were motivated to work in academia owing to their love of a discipline, rather than a desire to teach, he said.

He also praised the increased use of entrepreneurship-led education in improving students’ creative thinking and encouraged universities to broaden their students’ curriculum.

He praised the work done at several UK universities, including the universities of Falmouth, Huddersfield and Plymouth, in improving their students’ creative thinking abilitities.

He also claimed that lecturers could improve their teaching skills by studying the methods of kindergarten teachers.

“People in higher education would benefit from spending time in nurseries,” he said.


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