The Element - Ken Robinson

Review :

I loved this book. I was particularly touched by the various stories that are told in which people have struggled with academics in school, and yet found their passion and became wildly successful. Gillian Lynne was a bundle of energy in second grade, and couldn't sit still or pay attention in class. Her teachers were sure there was something wrong with her (this occurred in the pre-ADD days) and urged her parents to take her to a psychologist. After interviewing her, the psychologist became convinced that there was nothing "wrong" with her, she was just a dancer, and needed to be in dance school. Her mother signed her up, and soon Gillian was taking ten dance classes a week. Guess what She grew up to be a very famous and accomplished professional dancer and choreographer, dancing professionally all over the world with the Royal Ballet Company (based out of London). Later in life, she also collaborated with a fellow named Andrew Lloyd Webber and helped to create a couple of very successful musicals you might have heard of: Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. All of this happened because someone recognized that she had a talent for dancing. I'm wondering that if in today's day and age, where sadly the arts are not valued in our schools, if she'd would have just been medicated in order to "calm her down", and her gift for dancing and choreography would have gone unnoticed. Sadly, creativity and innovation are traits that our school systems seemingly don't value at all.

There are many, many other examples given in this fabulous book that point out the magic of "finding your element", which means finding the thing that you are meant to do. Sir Kenneth Robinson says that "the Element is the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together." I urge you to read this book and see if you can find your element. If you are an educator, you might want to read this book twice. I think I will.


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