I have a story to share today (An excerpt from Ken Robinson’s TED Talk).
One day, the parent of a eight-year-old girl, received a letter from the school, which read: “We think Gillian has a learning disorder”. Apparently, Gillian couldn’t concentrate; she was fidgeting. Today, psychologists might term it as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). But this was 1930s, and ADHD hadn’t been invented at that point. It wasn’t an available condition.
Anyway, Gillian’s mother took her to a specialist doctor. Gillian sat quietly for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about the problems Gillian was having at school. Because she was disturbing people; her homework was always late; and so on. In the end, the doctor went and sat next to Gillian, and said, “I’ve listened to all these things your mother’s told me, I need to speak to her privately. Wait here. We’ll be back; we won’t be very long,” and they went and left her.
But as they went out of the room, doctor turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when they got out, he said to her mother, “Just stand and watch her.” And the minute they left the room, Gillian was on her feet, moving to the music. They watched for a few minutes and doctor turned to her mother and said, “Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn’t sick; she’s a dancer. Take her to a dance school.”
What happened then?
The world knows that. As soon as, Gillian entered the dance school, she realized that the room was full of people like her. People who couldn’t sit still. People who had to move to think; Who had to move to think. They did ballet, they did tap, jazz; they did modern; they did contemporary.
Gillian was eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School; she became a soloist; she had a wonderful career at the Royal Ballet. She eventually graduated from the Royal Ballet School, founded the Gillian Lynne Dance Company. She’s been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history, she’s given pleasure to millions, and she’s a multi-millionaire.
But all that is not important.
The important point is, in present times, if a kid is found having issues with learning or a kid who doesn’t fit into the conventional school; who doesn’t follow the school norms; who can’t just sit quietly in one place and do math or science; a kid who’s not getting high scores; who is not “normal” like other kids — A kid like that, if meets a doctor today, then the doctor would put the kid on medication and ask him/her to calm down or rather STFU.
Someone rightly said:
We spend the first three years of a child’s life teaching him/her to speak fluently, and expressively; but for the next twelve years at school, kids are always told to sit down and shut up.