Even though it was long, long ago, I still have vivid memories of art class in elementary school. I remember the chalky smell of those puck-sized tempera tablets and labouring to grip those giant, red handled brushes.
Like little robots we'd all paint pictures of puffy green trees set against a pale blue sky, with a rainbow falling behind two intersecting hills. You know the picture I'm talking about.
Even though our ever nurturing teacher praised us endlessly for what good little artists we were, when I brought my artwork home, it made my mom cry. She cried not because my painting was just that good (which is what I thought at the time) but because she knew it was the beginning of the end of my free imagination.
In this poignant and funny 2006 TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.