The current educational system in the United States was developed a century ago during the rise of the industrial age and was once the envy of the world. However, the world economy has since transformed profoundly, but the US education system has not. Schools are attempting to teach and test skills, when mastered, that still leave graduates woefully unprepared for the 21st Century. After presenting this problem, the documentary focuses on the story of a school in San Diego that is completely rethinking what the experience of going to school looks like. As we follow students, parents and teachers through a truly unorthodox school experience, the audience is forced to consider what sort of educational environment is most likely to succeed in the 21st century?
'We need to break away from narrow notions of learning into something more tender, more creative, more complex that explores the strangeness of the human heart, that explores the real world and real objects and the mystery of them. Mina's character shows that there are so many ways to be educated beyond SATS tests…'
'If you dream hard enough, if you read hard enough. You are going to do great things. I sometimes look at politicians and think come and see and listen to these children. Sit there, shut up and don't interrupt and stop talking about targets and driving standards up.'
'A lot of learning comes from the exploring the subconscious mind and creativity. Education policy doesn't encourage us to explore that. I wrote Skellig as in a dream, I became the story, rhythm and beat of the words. I think we need to return to some of the more philosophical questions about teaching and learning…'
'I love writing for young people because what they know is that they don't know everything.'
"So, you create a space that is full of things that can be anything. It is like that old saying about children getting expensive toys for Christmas and then playing with the box! There is good reason for that. A toy is a toy, but a box has a million possibilities (at least)!"
Thinking Routines. Great to use as part of 'Reading as a Reader' stage of the Talk for Writing teaching sequence. These thinking routines can be simple structures, such as reading from a text and answering the questions at the end of the chapter, or they may be designed to promote students' thinking, such as asking students what they know, what they want to know, and what they have learned as part of a unit of study.
The following Literacy units provide teachers with ideas and resources to inspire young readers and writers. The Literacy units often begin with an exciting, interesting or unusual experience – giving the children a ‘real-life’ experience, something to write about.