One of my early careers was a high school English teacher. Back in 1984, some of the things I was doing really rattled the older teachers. I wanted my students to enjoy and live the importance of the subject, not just tolerate it. So I created English projects, and encouraged students to engage more than just their heads.
The most memorable project came from a group of three grade 12 English boys who were not great students in the traditional sense. They were in the “vocational” stream. They struggled with the traditional school format and were learners who needed to engage in a different way. We were studying Death of a Salesman, and they wrote and performed a song about Willy Loman. I was blown away. They provided a more insightful analysis of Loman than any of my “academic” students. I was so proud of them and even back then questioned the impact of splitting students into the academic and vocational streams.
So it was with fascination that I listened to the TEDx Victoria talk by Jeff Hopkins on Education in the New Century because he is calling for the same thing, some 30 years later. I loved his talk and his passion. We need educators like him to transform our educational systems. He suggested we need to shift to knowing from knowing about. I would suggest we need to shift to living from knowing about. Engaging our youth holistically in things that matter to them seems infinitely more exciting and meaningful than “teaching” English or Math.