Calls for change in the UK school system might have relevance to music teaching and arts education generally in this country.
Creative Schools is a new book by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica that advocates a radical rethink of how children are taught at school, saying we need to move away from an “exam factory” mentality and our current fixation with school rankings.
It argues that schools need to embrace a more flexible, personalised approach to learning that is based around creativity and better recognises each child’s individual interests and strengths.
Based on their observations on the British education system, the authors conclude: “The emphasis on testing comes at the expense of teaching children how to employ their natural creativity and entrepreneurial talents – the precise talents that might insulate them against the unpredictability of the future in all parts of the world”.
The Guardian calls Creative Schools a “powerfully written manifesto for change” that prescribes “a richer personalisation of learning”.
The book’s implications for music teaching are clear enough. A ‘one size fits all’ model is counterproductive, and instead, high quality music education should focus on the individual creativity, talents and proficiencies of children. It is certainly food for thought for our nation’s music educators.