At the OUP training days as part of the Team-building sessions I described in an earlier post I told teachers about one of my passions: playing the piano. The idea to build such a task into your lessons or the whole school activity came from George Couros, from his presentation on Identity Day through Elluminate (see the upcoming free webinars here), which I also told you about earlier. So basically, at the end of my mini-presentation using some simple photos I said the following: "If I could choose my music teacher, it would be Booby McFerrin.", and I played some of his music then to the teachers, giving them youtube links they could watch to try and find out why I'd love him to teach me.
Well, now I must admit, I have found another teacher, Benjamin Zander, who I would choose, and although, I guess, I must be quite picky about such things, as music teachers :-), I believe there would be many others like him, whom I would love to learn from.
Anyway, the point I'd like to make now is very much relevant in Hungary, and it is about bringing back the grading system (1 to 5) in primary schools, and the whole attitude and trend in the education system that is built on competition, causing anxiety and stress to all kids.
What has been given up is a type of education where kids have been allowed to learn through experience, to make mistakes and learn from them, helping them evaluate their own performance, and have been taught to find their own voices in life so that they can be heard. Oh, God. Big words, but true.
The main reason I dare write about this so vehemently, although it has been bothering me for long years, is that during the OUP training days I found about one hundred teachers from all over Hungary opposing the grading system - also as part of the Team-building sessions -, the amount of homework children are given, instead of letting them play freely, .... all in all, the type of competitive teaching schools represent nowadays. Unfortunately, these teachers also felt that there was nothing they could do about it, to which I disagreed and this post is meant to show one thing I can do about it. So I write about it :-).
Now by this point, I'm sure a lot of you are asking yourselves "What the heck does playing the piano, Bobby McFerrin, now Benjamin Zander and the grading system, plus all the rest of it have to do with each other?" Well, the answer is in the video below, which made me a bit emotional. when I watched it. I'm glad I have found Zander (through Twitter), and I'm glad I have the opportunity to share it with you. Maybe it won't make you tearful, but I hope it will help you spread the idea.
So watch it and let everybody know. That's what we can do :-)
Enjoy! And just in case you cannot play the embeded video, here's the link to it: http://vimeo.com/18625943
Benjamin Zander - PopTech 2008 from PopTech on Vimeo.