DUH??? Why teaching is 'not like making motorcars' (Sir Ken Robinson)

To be honest, I've seen the 2006 TED talk, and this just seems like more empty rhetoric about how schools fail.

Sure, Sir Ken, it's easy to say that schools are evil and zap students' will to live, but what is your answer besides "school sucks"???

Around 2:40, Sir Ken states, "Great teachers know... their job is to create the conditions under which people will grow. Those conditions include understanding students' talent and motivation, the need to feed people's spirits and their energies..."

This begs so many questions: How do teachers do this? Do they learn to do it or is it an innate ability? How do they create these conditions (even though the things that Sir Ken cites are not really "conditions")? What is the relationship between these "conditions" and student achievement? How do we know if a student has found their passion?

I'm afraid that a lot of this talk will just lead to more, "we just need to inspire kids" approach to teaching and education research that is anti-scientific. I agree that motivation and ability go hand in hand, but that doesn't mean we should ignore one for the other. Inevitably, this kind of talk will be used as ammunition by anti-testing groups, progressive education groups, and the like.

I hope that Sir Ken can find students' passions, but I'm afraid that it won't help them read and do math(s) without a proper understanding of how ability mitigates learning of content and skills.

In any case, chalk this up as another "inspiring, but empty" education speech.