Here is the full transcript of educator and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk presentation: Bring on The Learning Revolution. This event occurred in February 2010.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Bring on the Learning Revolution! by Ken Robinson at TED Talks
I was here four years ago, and I remember at the time that the talks weren’t put online. I think they were given to TEDsters in a box, a box set of DVDs, which they put on their shelves, where they are now.
And actually, Chris called me a week after I’d given my talk, and said, “We’re going to start putting them online. Can we put yours online?”
And I said, “Sure.”
And four years later, as I said it’s been seen by — it’s been downloaded four million times. So I suppose you could multiply that by 20 or something to get the number of people who’ve seen it. And, as Chris says, there is a hunger for videos of me. Don’t you feel?
So, this whole event has been an elaborate build-up to me doing another one for you, so here it is.
Al Gore spoke at the TED conference I spoke at four years ago and talked about the climate crisis. And I referenced that at the end of my last talk. So I want to pick up from there because I only had 18 minutes, frankly. So, as I was saying —
You see, he’s right. I mean, there is a major climate crisis, obviously, and I think if people don’t believe it, they should get out more. But I believe there is a second climate crisis, which is as severe, which has the same origins, and that we have to deal with with the same urgency. And I mean by this — you may say, by the way, “Look, I’m good. I have one climate crisis, I don’t really need the second one.”
But this is a crisis of, not natural resources — though I believe that’s true — but a crisis of human resources. I believe fundamentally, as many speakers have said during the past few days, that we make very poor use of our talents. Very many people go through their whole lives having no real sense of what their talents may be, or if they have any to speak of.
I meet all kinds of people who don’t think they’re really good at anything. Actually, I kind of divide the world into two groups now. Jeremy Bentham, the great utilitarian philosopher, once spiked this argument. He said, “There are two types of people in this world: those who divide the world into two types and those who do not.” Well, I do.
And I meet all kinds of people who don’t enjoy what they do. They simply go through their lives getting on with it. They get no great pleasure from what they do. They endure it rather than enjoy it, and wait for the weekend.
But I also meet people who love what they do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. If you said, “Don’t do this anymore,” they’d wonder what you’re talking about. Because it isn’t what they do, it’s who they are. They say, “But this is me, you know. It would be foolish for me to abandon this, because it speaks to my most authentic self.” And it’s not true of enough people.
In fact, on the contrary, I think it’s still true of a minority of people. And I think there are many possible explanations for it. And high among them is education, because education, in a way, dislocates very many people from their natural talents. And human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves. And you might imagine education would be the way that happens, but too often, it’s not.