wandgestaltung wohnzimmer trends 2013
translator: joseph genireviewer: morton bast thank you very much. i moved to america 12 years agowith my wife terry and our two kids. actually, truthfully, we movedto los angeles -- (laughter) thinking we were movingto america, but anyway -- it's a short plane ridefrom los angeles to america. i got here 12 years ago, and when i got here,i was told various things,
like, "americans don't get irony." have you come across this idea? it's not true. i've traveled the whole lengthand breadth of this country. i have found no evidencethat americans don't get irony. it's one of those cultural myths, like, "the british are reserved." i don't know why people think this. we've invaded every countrywe've encountered.
but it's not true americansdon't get irony, but i just want you to knowthat that's what people are saying about you behind your back. you know, so when you leaveliving rooms in europe, people say, thankfully,nobody was ironic in your presence. but i knew that americans get irony when i came across that legislation,"no child left behind." because whoever thoughtof that title gets irony. don't they?
(applause) because it's leavingmillions of children behind. now i can see that's not a very attractivename for legislation: "millions of children left behind." i can see that. what's the plan? we propose to leavemillions of children behind, and here's how it's going to work. and it's working beautifully.
in some parts of the country, 60 percent of kids drop outof high school. in the native american communities, it's 80 percent of kids. if we halved that number, one estimate is it would createa net gain to the u.s. economy over 10 years,of nearly a trillion dollars. from an economic point of view, this is good math, isn't it,that we should do this?
it actually costs an enormous amount to mop up the damagefrom the dropout crisis. but the dropout crisisis just the tip of an iceberg. what it doesn't countare all the kids who are in school but being disengagedfrom it, who don't enjoy it, who don't get any real benefit from it. and the reason is notthat we're not spending enough money. america spends more money on educationthan most other countries. class sizes are smallerthan in many countries.
and there are hundredsof initiatives every year to try and improve education. the trouble is, it's all goingin the wrong direction. there are three principleson which human life flourishes, and they are contradictedby the culture of education under which most teachers have to labor and most students have to endure. the first is this, that human beingsare naturally different and diverse. can i ask you, how many of youhave got children of your own?
okay. or grandchildren. how about two children or more? right. and the rest of youhave seen such children. small people wandering about. i will make you a bet, and i am confidentthat i will win the bet. if you've got two children or more, i bet you they are completelydifferent from each other. aren't they?
you would never confuse them, would you? like, "which one are you? remind me." "your mother and i needsome color-coding system so we don't get confused." education under "no child left behind" is based on not diversity but conformity. what schools are encouragedto do is to find out what kids can do acrossa very narrow spectrum of achievement. one of the effectsof "no child left behind"
has been to narrow the focusonto the so-called stem disciplines. they're very important. i'm not here to argueagainst science and math. on the contrary, they're necessarybut they're not sufficient. a real education has to give equal weight to the arts, the humanities,to physical education. an awful lot of kids, sorry, thank you -- one estimate in america currentlyis that something like 10 percent of kids, getting on that way,
are being diagnosedwith various conditions under the broad titleof attention deficit disorder. adhd. i'm not saying there's no such thing. i just don't believeit's an epidemic like this. if you sit kids down, hour after hour, doing low-grade clerical work, don't be surprised if they startto fidget, you know? children are not, for the most part,suffering from a psychological condition.
they're suffering from childhood. and i know this becausei spent my early life as a child. i went through the whole thing. kids prosper best with a broad curriculumthat celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of them. and by the way, the artsaren't just important because they improve math scores. they're important because they speakto parts of children's being which are otherwise untouched.
the second, thank you -- the second principlethat drives human life flourishing is curiosity. if you can light the sparkof curiosity in a child, they will learn without any furtherassistance, very often. children are natural learners. it's a real achievementto put that particular ability out, or to stifle it. curiosity is the engine of achievement.
now the reason i say this is because one of the effectsof the current culture here, if i can say so, has been to de-professionalize teachers. there is no system in the worldor any school in the country that is better than its teachers. teachers are the lifebloodof the success of schools. but teaching is a creative profession. teaching, properly conceived,is not a delivery system.
you know, you're not there justto pass on received information. great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage. you see, in the end,education is about learning. if there's no learning going on,there's no education going on. and people can spend an awful lot of time discussing educationwithout ever discussing learning. the whole point of educationis to get people to learn.
an old friend of mine --actually very old, he's dead. that's as old as it gets, i'm afraid. but a wonderful guy he was,wonderful philosopher. he used to talk about the difference between the taskand achievement senses of verbs. you can be engagedin the activity of something, but not really beachieving it, like dieting. it's a very good example. there he is. he's dieting.
is he losing any weight? not really. teaching is a word like that. you can say, "there's deborah,she's in room 34, she's teaching." but if nobody's learning anything, she may be engaged in the task of teachingbut not actually fulfilling it. the role of a teacheris to facilitate learning. that's it. and part of the problem is, i think, that the dominant cultureof education has come to focus
on not teaching and learning, but testing. now, testing is important. standardized tests have a place. but they should not bethe dominant culture of education. they should be diagnostic.they should help. if i go for a medical examination,i want some standardized tests. i do. i want to knowwhat my cholesterol level is compared to everybody else'son a standard scale.
i don't want to be told on some scalemy doctor invented in the car. "your cholesterolis what i call level orange." "really?" "is that good?" "we don't know." but all that should support learning. it shouldn't obstruct it,which of course it often does. so in place of curiosity,what we have is a culture of compliance. our children and teachers are encouragedto follow routine algorithms rather than to excite that powerof imagination and curiosity.
and the third principle is this:that human life is inherently creative. it's why we all have different rã©sumã©s. we create our lives, and we can recreate themas we go through them. it's the common currencyof being a human being. it's why human cultureis so interesting and diverse and dynamic. i mean, other animals may well haveimaginations and creativity, but it's not so muchin evidence, is it, as ours? i mean, you may have a dog.
and your dog may get depressed. you know, but it doesn't listento radiohead, does it? and sit staring out the windowwith a bottle of jack daniels. "would you like to come for a walk?" "no, i'm fine." "you go. i'll wait. but take pictures." we all create our own livesthrough this restless process of imagining alternativesand possibilities, and one of the roles of education
is to awaken and developthese powers of creativity. instead, what we haveis a culture of standardization. now, it doesn't have to be that way. it really doesn't. finland regularly comes out on topin math, science and reading. now, we only knowthat's what they do well at, because that's all that's being tested. that's one of the problems of the test. they don't look for other thingsthat matter just as much.
the thing about work in finland is this: they don't obsess about those disciplines. they have a very broadapproach to education, which includes humanities,physical education, the arts. second, there is no standardizedtesting in finland. i mean, there's a bit, but it's not what getspeople up in the morning, what keeps them at their desks. the third thing --and i was at a meeting recently
with some people from finland,actual finnish people, and somebody from the american systemwas saying to the people in finland, "what do you doabout the drop-out rate in finland?" and they all looked a bitbemused, and said, "well, we don't have one. why would you drop out? if people are in trouble,we get to them quite quickly and we help and support them." now people always say,
"well, you know, you can't comparefinland to america." no. i think there's a populationof around five million in finland. but you can compare itto a state in america. many states in americahave fewer people in them than that. i mean, i've beento some states in america and i was the only person there. really. really. i was asked to lock up when i left. but what all the high-performingsystems in the world do
is currently what is not evident, sadly, across the systems in america -- i mean, as a whole. one is this: they individualize teaching and learning. they recognize that it's studentswho are learning and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, their individuality,and their creativity. that's how you get them to learn.
the second is that they attributea very high status to the teaching profession. they recognizethat you can't improve education if you don't pick great people to teachand keep giving them constant supportand professional development. investing in professionaldevelopment is not a cost. it's an investment, and every other countrythat's succeeding well knows that, whether it's australia, canada,
south korea, singapore,hong kong or shanghai. they know that to be the case. and the third is, they devolve responsibilityto the school level for getting the job done. you see, there's a big difference here between going into a mode of commandand control in education -- that's what happens in some systems. central or state governments decide,
they know best and they're goingto tell you what to do. the trouble is that educationdoesn't go on in the committee roomsof our legislative buildings. it happens in classrooms and schools, and the people who do itare the teachers and the students, and if you remove their discretion,it stops working. you have to put it back to the people. there is wonderful workhappening in this country. but i have to say it's happening
in spite of the dominantculture of education, not because of it. it's like people are sailinginto a headwind all the time. and the reason i think is this: that many of the current policies are based on mechanisticconceptions of education. it's like educationis an industrial process that can be improvedjust by having better data, and somewhere in the back of the mindof some policy makers
is this idea that if we fine-tune itwell enough, if we just get it right, it will all hum along perfectlyinto the future. it won't, and it never did. the point is that educationis not a mechanical system. it's a human system. it's about people, people who either do wantto learn or don't want to learn. every student who dropsout of school has a reason for it which is rooted in their own biography.
they may find it boring. they may find it irrelevant. they may find that it's at odds withthe life they're living outside of school. there are trends,but the stories are always unique. i was at a meeting recentlyin los angeles of -- they're called alternativeeducation programs. these are programs designedto get kids back into education. they have certain common features. they're very personalized.
they have strong support for the teachers, close links with the communityand a broad and diverse curriculum, and often programs which involve studentsoutside school as well as inside school. and they work. what's interesting to me is,these are called "alternative education." you know? and all the evidencefrom around the world is, if we all did that, there'd beno need for the alternative. (applause ends)
so i think we have to embracea different metaphor. we have to recognizethat it's a human system, and there are conditionsunder which people thrive, and conditions under which they don't. we are after all organic creatures, and the culture of the schoolis absolutely essential. culture is an organic term, isn't it? not far from where i liveis a place called death valley. death valley is the hottest,driest place in america,
and nothing grows there. nothing grows therebecause it doesn't rain. hence, death valley. in the winter of 2004,it rained in death valley. seven inches of rain fellover a very short period. and in the spring of 2005,there was a phenomenon. the whole floor of death valleywas carpeted in flowers for a while. what it proved is this: that death valley isn't dead.
it's dormant. right beneath the surfaceare these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditionsto come about, and with organic systems,if the conditions are right, life is inevitable. it happens all the time. you take an area, a school, a district, you change the conditions, give peoplea different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations,a broader range of opportunities,
you cherish and value the relationshipsbetween teachers and learners, you offer peoplethe discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were oncebereft spring to life. great leaders know that. the real role of leadershipin education -- and i think it's trueat the national level, the state level, at the school level -- is not and should not becommand and control.
the real role of leadershipis climate control, creating a climate of possibility. and if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve thingsthat you completely did not anticipate and couldn't have expected. there's a wonderful quotefrom benjamin franklin. "there are three sortsof people in the world: those who are immovable, people who don't get it,
or don't want to do anything about it; there are people who are movable, people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it; and there are people who move, people who make things happen." and if we can encourage more people,that will be a movement. and if the movement is strong enough, that's, in the best senseof the word, a revolution.
and that's what we need.