When I was an elementary school principal in Virginia we would have a wonderful lunch every months. Each school nominated a girl and boy Citizen of the Month and the School Board would host a sit down lunch at a local hotel. Each child would have an opportunity to stand up, give their name and describe their aspirations. Many, but not all, of these schools served high poverty communities.
What disturbed me most was the that the vast majority of boys would say their goal in life was to be a football or basket ball player. It seemed these were the only role models they knew, the only adult men they looked up to, the ones they most wanted to emulate.
I was, therefore, deeply impressed when I heard a TED talk by the educational scientist Sugata Mitra.
Sit back and be amazed for seventeen minutes as you watch it here:
One of the many things that struck me most deeply was his comment towards the end. He described the ten year old boy who wanted to be a footballer. After watching ten TED videos – he wanted to be Leonardo da Vinci.
This video as well as the one about Caine’s Arcade in my earlier blog both make me question everything we are doing in schools.
I have asked the question before about standardized testing.
Are we stopping our children from learning?
Perhaps the question has even broader application.