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Teaching Creative Skills Is Just As Important As Reading, Math

frankieleon (Flickr)

Over the months and years, we've spoken with lots of different people who have lots of different opinions on education.

Suffice it to say, it seems there is no one way to reach a classroom full of children.

But, no matter what school of thought to which you subscribe, there are skills most educators would agree are crucial for student success.

British writer Sir Ken Robinson is internationally recognized as a leading expert and speaker on creativity and innovation in education. The video of his 2006 TED Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity?, has been viewed more than 35 million times, making it the most-watched in TED’s history.

In his new book Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education, Robinson explores reform efforts in schools around the country.

He says the most successful changes focus less on academic work, and more on developing students’ soft skills, like creativity and teamwork.

"These other skills, and creative work in other disciplines, is every bit as important as conventional academic study," Robinson says. "These aren't instead of or opposed to also developing a sense of academic rigor or discipline, but academic work itself is just part of what schools should be doing. It's not the only part that we should be focused on."

And, he adds, new technology can be useful to help teachers develop those creative skills -- but tech tools aren't the only answer. 

"I do think [technology] is important, but they're not going to replace every form of teaching," Robinson explains. "They still need to be used to complement the other skills teachers have -- the personal and pedagogical skills."