Sir Kenneth Robinson in one of his speeches raised doubts about educating children according to their age group.

A summation of the claim, that starts at 06:34 of the video, is that our current system of education is modelled on the interests and image of industrialization. Schools resemble a factory production line, where children are educated in batches, put through the system by age group.

Sir Kenneth argues that the assumption that the most common thing kids have is their age, their "date of manufacture", is incorrect and hurtful to creativity and the learning process and the model of education should shift away from standardization and towards divergent thinking, starting by organizing students into classes based on their skills and interests.

Seeing how most education systems divide students by age, it appears that there is a common belief that, even if it's not the best way to learn, it's an acceptable and not counter-productive model.

Is there any research or any other evidence to dispute or confirm that claim?

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    Welcome to Skeptics.SE! You are asking every person reading this to listen to an 11 minute speech, to work out what the relevant claims are. Could you please extract the key claim you are interested in, and quote it here?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 2:38
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    Note: The "best way to learn" is a pretty loose definition. We make compromises all the time for economic, political, ethical, legal, and practical reasons. We also have to trade off between what would be best for individual students. What does "best" mean in such an environment?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 2:41
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    @Oddthinking You are of course right but nevertheless I do urge you to listen to the talk, some of the most valuable 11 minutes you could ever spend. Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 11:35
  • tl;dl... This question is asking for an opinion and basically falls into the category of “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”. Questions on specific claims in the speech could be on topic assuming they were verifiable. I am voting to close though I hope the OP modifies the question to make it on topic.
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 17:19
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    Well i found this little research (edinformatics.com/news/teenage_brains.htm) and a PDF about it(loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/DEVEL/PNASDevel04.pdf). Might come in handy. Shows the aging human brain. I guess it can help us about if the older kids are more intelligent than the younger ones. Commented May 3, 2012 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/1846141214 This book has a section on why age is a bad way to divide students in education. Basically the author argues that those who are the older ones in their age group at a young age have a maturity advantage to those who are younger. Thus, society labels them as talented or gifted and hence they receive better education or training than their peers from then on. Due to this fact, their minuscule maturity advantage becomes a significant advantage by the time they finish high school. Therefore, statistically they are more likely to become top athletes or successful professionals.

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    If the book says something has statistically been proven there have to be studies, could you at least make a reference to them? Everybody can make wild claims in his book, paper doesn't blush.
    – Baarn
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 8:46

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