Dr. Temple Grandin wasted no time in getting to the point on Thursday, speaking at the University of Idaho in Moscow.
Following her introduction, Grandin walked to the stage, pulled the microphone from its stand– “So I can move around a little bit”– and said, “A lot of things to talk about.”
There was indeed, all centered around a general topic of “Educating Different Kinds of Minds.”
Grandin is acknowledged as pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals, and writes and speaks on both autism and animal behavior. Grandin has received numerous awards recognizing her work, and her early life with autism was the focus of a well-received 2010 HBO film starring Claire Danes.
She spoke to an overflow crowd at the U of I on November 15, 2018.
“One of the things that we really need to get to thinking about is what would happen to a lot of famous innovators today, in today’s educational system?’ she asked the crowd.
“I worry about them getting screened out,” she said. “I was not a good student until I got a science teacher who got me turned around and got me interested in studying. When school became a pathway to a career, I was motivated to study.
“A lot of great innovators,” Grandin said, “had an unconventional career path. How about Jane Goodall? She did her famous work with a two year secretarial degree, basically a community college degree. Would you be able to do that today? Probably not.
“I’m really concerned that a lot of really smart people out there are getting shunted aside.,” she said.
Grandin said “We’re going to need people who can fix things,” and she urged students to “Develop good writing skills.” She returned again and again to the theme that “What we need are visual thinkers.”
Grandin’s presentation included slides that said “When I learned how my visual thinking was different from verbal thinking, it gave me insight into how different people’s brains approach problem solving” and “Educators must not screen out students with unique skills.”
“The world,” Temple Grandin said, “needs all kinds of minds.”
Grandin warned that overspecialization may hinder creative problem solving; she said a top researcher reports that highly specialized graduate students lack creativity.
She told the audience: “Learning how to work” is important.
“I want to see a lot of kids that are different, kind of like me, be successful,” she said. “There’s a tendency to overcoddle these kids. We’ve got to get them out doing things.”
Grandin speaks often on the lecture circuit; she was in Clarkston earlier this year and at will speak at the Schuler Performing Arts Center at North Idaho College on November 16. She speaks all over the world on topics including education, autism, and cattle handling
Dr. Grandin works as a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.
Posted November 16, 2018.