RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms INDEED!


Clever but seriously flawed

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile,
hoping it will eat him last.”

~ Winston Churchill

So what’s my beef with
Sir Ken Robinson???

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Royal Society of Art’s figurehead, “world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award,” as it says in the description under at least one of his cleverly animated lectures on education, posted on YouTube.

His content is out of integrity
with what he says he stands for.

Black and white, perhaps, but misinformation in my area of expertise makes me question the sincerity of his quest as well as the validity of the rest of the items in his presentation.

NOT funny, Ken

To be truthful, it’s his derision that really gets me, even more than his ignorance.  I have always found it offensive when people attempt to sway others by poking fun rather than proffering truth. It’s not funny, really.  It shuts down thinking.  And isn’t his point that we need to do the exact opposite?

Any “education expert” who doesn’t do his homework before formulating his opinion, quickly sliding his ill-researched conclusions into a presentation positioned as transformational knowledge as if they were established  “fact”
needs SOMEBODY to call him on it.

Dag-nabit! The guy does so many things right. I applaud his vision and agree with so much of what he says — and the “real-time” drawings that illustrate his points are just too darned adorably effective. I’m really sorry I can’t be unconflicted in my support of his work.

I wish I could, but I can’t.  

What I really wish is that I’d never been made aware of him, because I can’t unknow what I’ve recently observed, and I’d be out of integrity myself if I let it slide.

I just HATE being hoist on the petard of an ethical dilemma!

Horses and Drinking

From one of my posts on ADDerWorld in response to Bryan Hutchinson’s article about “The First Rule of ADHD – NOT to talk about ADHD and why we should change it”  — in reference to the thousands of people who live by this rule out of necessity, out of fear of judgment and derision, and out of fear of reprisal (click the title of the post to read it: free membership to site required )

I made the choice to be “out” about ADD – WAY out – over 20 years ago, but for most of that time I have “pulled my punches.”  As vulnerable to black and white thinking as the next ADDer, I inadvertently supported the nay-sayers through my failure to say, simply and directly,

‘That is an unfortunately cruel point of view, and my request is
that you do some research before you offer your opinion on ADD again.’

We can’t force horses led to streams to drink,
but I don’t think it will be to anyone’s benefit should we take that
as a sign to give up leading horses to streams.

So . . . do I walk my talk, or not?  

I walk . . .

My Objection to Sir Ken and his Approach

In a recent listen/look I was stopped dead, mouth-wide-open-amazed by this apparently widely-respected educational guru’s poorly informed let-me-slide-this-in-too-quickly-for-most-of-you-to-think-about-it-consciously dismissal of ADD (AD/HD).

It’s not cute, Sir Ken, to distract us with quicksilver patter and nifty drawings with captions while you substitute personal opinion for professional expertise.

  • If you are NOT aware of your use of the below-the-conscious-mind redirect,
    why not? And if you are,
  • I TRULY don’t understand why you are obfuscating with manipulation techniques
    in this venue, in this manner, and about this particular disorder.

It is not only NOT educational, it’s pretty nasty stuff, if you’ll take a minute to think about it.  It’s cruel – plain and simple.  Why, Ken?  WHY?

Targeting ADD for an “easy laugh” talking-point cheapens the heartbreakingly real struggle of many thousands of thousands of ADDers and their families in a manner that would never be allowed to pass without public censure if you were ridiculing a physical disability.

Cheapen: To lower in public estimation; debase or degrade  – definition from Answers.com

But don’t take MY word for it

ClICK HERE for a blog copy as well as a link to a pdf download of the International Consensus Statement on ADHD, web-published January 2000, and in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, June 2002.

The International Consensus Statement was signed originally by 75 of the world’s leading ADD experts, and is archived on the website of one of the more visible of the signatories, Dr. Russell Barkley.  In addition to fifteen and a half 2-column PAGES of supporting references, EACH expert has included credentials and contact information.

I’m sure any one of them would be thrilled for the chance to enlighten you
about what’s REALLY going on with Attention Deficit Disorder.

So, now you don’t even have to troll the web in search of clinical studies and statistical reports. You DO, however, need to read them before you offer your opinion on ADD again.  

You can thank me by being as vocal a supporter of truth
as you have been a purveyor of misinformation.

(And, you’re welcome.)

Related Articles on this site

This breaks my heart.  Here’s a recent SUPPORTER of his nonsense (2/6/12), Dr. Diane Hamilton – go leave a comment asking her to think again. (to her credit, she responded to mine rapidly and positively)

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with Executive Functioning struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

4 Responses to RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms INDEED!

  1. @Dr Andrew Kinsella: How nicely said! I appreciate your comment and the fact that you took the time to check out my point of view. And I agree – as I said – that KR does a lot of things right.

    I have to argue with your first statement, though.

    ==>I think if [many, maybe most of] KR’s ideas were implemented, education would be SO much more effective for everyone, which means that the ADDers would be better served as well.
    ==>I believe the rate of MISdiagnoses would go down substantially, and we’d see fewer teacher referrals for potential ADD diagnoses due to “misbehavior” or “disinterest.”
    ==>I also agree that more of what you call “subclinical ADHD” would get the kind of education they need to be able to manage with systems rather than medication.

    But I don’t think we’re going to see a decrease in the rate of diagnostic ADD, because I don’t think we’ve found all those ADDers who would be served by a qualified differential diagnosis yet – substantially, for those outside the US.

    AND, unless all ADDers stop having kids (which would be a crying SHAME!), or society limited them to a single child (lets’ not go there!), I think we are going to see the ADD stats continue to rise due to the role played by heredity (see linked Expert article in blog post). And I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, by the way.

    There’s a LOT about ADD that our world desperately needs. My beef with Sir Ken is that, until we DO change educational paradigms, making fun of ADD means that more ADDers who need help to be able to use the [admittedly poor quality] educations provided will be shamed into limping along without it, so will never get what they need to be successful with life. Discounting ADD means that parents will be shamed into hiding the fact that they have kids that no amount of “good parenting” can help, and we’ll see further increases in divorces (and a long list of other costs of undiagnosed ADD).

    Changing educational paradigms is a worthy goal – but NO “end justifies the means” of “throwing ADDers under the bus” to get the word out.

    SO HEAR THIS EVERYBODY:
    IF YOU DO IT, I’M GOING TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT YOUR NEED TO UNDO IT! (and then I’ll help get the word out that you are, in fact, one of the good guys who didn’t intend harm and is willing to repair it whether you intended it or not.)

  2. As a coach for adults with ADD, I was offended by the video and the incorrect information offered by this elementary/secondary school educational expert. Even if he did state that he’s not an expert in ADD, the way in which he did it and how he put forth ‘information’ implied he was correct. Yet, ADD is a neurobiological condition. There are documented differences in the brains of people with ADD compared with ‘neurotypicals’. Would you tell someone with diabetes to not take insulin? Why is it acceptable to make fun of people with ADD who can perhaps attain a neurotransmitter balance when taking stimulants (such as the drugs laughed about in this video)?

    While this video is supposed to be a ‘funny’ way of getting across a message about how educational practices need to change, it does a great disservice to millions of people in North America and around the world. ADD is found globally; it is not an artifact of North America. Many people with ADD are divergent thinkers; many are highly intelligent. But their untreated ADD can prevent them from accessing all their strengths and talents.

    Not everyone with ADD wants or needs medication; treatment for ADD is most effective when multimodal. Many more diagnoses of ADD are being made and perhaps our frantic society does play a role, though it wouldn’t explain the incidence of ADD in so many places around the world. Perhaps too there are some cases where ADD is inappropriately diagnosed and/or not treated well, but to twist statistics to enliven a talk is simply not acceptable. Correlations do not imply causality. There is no evidence that ADD rates have risen because of standardized testing. There is a lot of scientific evidence that ADD does exist and that it can have significant impacts. I hope the next time Sir Ken speaks in public he will be more careful in the information he shares.

  3. I think that if Ken Robinson’s ideas in education were implemented the rate of incidence of ADHD would collapse.

    He is quite right in pointing to the destructive effects of overly left brain heavy education paradigms. These methods almost certainly escalate the amount of subclinical ADHD that evolves into the full syndrome- and this is why we currently have an epidemic of this problem.

    However- when it comes to clinical management of ADHD that has become a significant clinical problem- he is just out of his depth, and should have the humility to recognise it.

  4. Way to go Rose. I totally agree with your take on the ADHD part of this video clip SSj

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