The Wisdom of Johnny Ball

As a child, I grew up inspired and intrigued by Johnny Ball‘s enthusiasm for maths and science, but now, as a parent, I understand his passion.

I spotted an interview with the man himself in a local magazine. He was asked, “How do you feel about how science and maths are taught in schools?” His strong response demonstrates that the passion is still there, but is enfused with some great advice and wisdom:

The people who construct the curriculum are bereft of any sensibility. They don’t realise the damage they’re doing, and all the testing, testing, testing doesn’t help. The maths curriculum is all numeracy now. A century ago everybody was taught Euclid and understood how maths worked. Maths is almost like a detective story, not a boring topic! We’ve lost that completely. Geometry, for example, is a way of visualising the world. If you teach geometry along with art then you’ll get artists who are much more accomplished. We need kids who are inspired to become scientists and technologists – improving our lives.

Art and science should not and must not be separated. They both help to boost learning by bringing a different perspective and adaptability.

Go Johnny!


The Vital Importance of Imagination

JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter, gave a graduation speech to Harvard graduates a few years ago. She talked about two important themes, failure and imagination.

 I love the whole speech, but the following quote stood out:

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

Imagination is the foundation of creativity; to see and have success, dreaming must be allowed and encouraged!

NB: Thanks to Dr S Boardman for sharing JK Rowling’s original speech.