This article is from EF’s Global Student Leaders Summit intern, Katie Curran. The EF Global Student Leaders Summit Internship Program gives high school students a chance to deepen their experience at EF Summits by gaining valuable real-life skills through public speaking, journalism, social media and photography.
On stage at the Davos Congress Center, home of the annual World Economic Forum, Sir Ken Robinson professed, “To discover who you are is the journey all of us have to take.”
While the fast-paced world of education may sometimes seem uncertain, students hold the key to its future. In fact, students are ultimately the driving force behind fostering a creative environment; we as youth should make a conscious effort to apply creative thinking to our everyday lives and transcend conventional academic boundaries.
Sir Ken Robinson, an international leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation, delivered EF’s 2015 Europe Summit keynote. During his speech and student press conference, I was fortunate enough to ask Sir Ken Robinson questions about the future of education and his advice for students.
When I asked Sir Ken Robinson what he would tell his high school self, he gave an inspiring response. He underscored the idea that students must channel their individual passions and talents, noting, “I think people often feel that they failed the system and in my experience, it’s more accurate to say that the system failed them… people learn at different paces, they have different strengths and interests.” He continued to say that, “I would reassure my 15 year old self that it’s not me, this is a phase and it gets better… have confidence in yourself.”
Students can apply creativity to their lives and learning experiences by first pinpointing their own skills and interests. New technologies and innovations are empowering students to do this. Embracing and exploring their own individual strengths will help change academic landscapes and lead to a more creative community. Sir Ken Robinson declared that in order to effectively learn, “You have to look inside yourself. The answers are inside you.”
When I asked Sir Ken Robinson how to energize and revitalize education so that more students make a difference in the world, he encouraged inclusion and inspiration. He mentioned that “most people do want to get engaged, but often fear holds them back”. It’s important to “work with the people who are engaged and want to do something” and “talk to people who are withdrawn” to inspire as many people as possible. Ultimately, Sir Ken Robinson believes every person has their own story where individuality and creativity come to a crossroad.
This mindset would undoubtedly impact what students learn inside and outside of school. By channeling creativity, students can innovate within the education realm and through that explore endless academic opportunities.
It was a true honor to hear from Sir Ken Robinson at the EF Global Student Leaders Summit. After gaining an insight into the world where creativity and education meet, I am inspired to transform the educational landscape across the United States. We are the next generation of student leaders that will change the world. The opportunities to revitalize education are endless.
Katie Curran is a 17-year-old rising senior from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Katie has participated in student exchanges in Denmark, the Czech Republic and Spain. She believes that it is imperative to promote global citizenship, volunteerism and travel in young people. She founded Project Next Generation, a civics and educational leadership organization for youth that inspires them to become actively involved in their communities.