Ken Robinson (1950 – 2020), teacher who gave the most-viewed TED Talk

Sir Ken Robinson was an educator whose 2006 TED Talk on encouraging creativity in students was viewed more times than any other TED Talk in history.

The importance of teaching the arts

An educator in his native England and later in the U.S., Robinson believed in the importance of including the arts in schools. He was director of the U.K.’s Arts in Schools Project, advocating for arts education, and later led a U.K. commission on creativity in schools. In 2006, Robinson distilled his thoughts on the topic into a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talk that he delivered at that year’s TED conference in Long Beach, California. His talk, “Do schools kill creativity?”, engaged listeners with funny asides even as it convinced them that schools should give arts education equal time with math and science. By the time of his death, Robinson’s TED Talk had become the most viewed of all TED Talks, with more than 66 million views on the TED website and nearly 20 million more on YouTube.

Notable quote

“There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance every day to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think math is very important, but so is dance. Children dance all the time, if they’re allowed to.” —from Robinson’s TED Talk

Tributes to Ken Robinson

Full obituary: The New York Times

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