Do you want to capture all of the skills for a successful lifetime of learning in one place? Can we teach collaboration, communication, questioning, synthesis, and all the rest, all at once and even to very young students? Sure. Just be John Hunter.
John was on CBS this morning talking about his book “World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements”. If you don’t know John and his World Peace Game, I sure am not going to try to do him or it justice here. In my view, John is THE iconic teacher of our time.
John and I share a reverence for the simple wisdom of The Art of War. He has used it as a learning tool in his Peace Game for decades; I used it as a focal point of my book, The Falconer, when I first started writing it 20 years ago. Simple is better, and Sun Tzu is just that simple. Not shallow. Simple. Big difference.
John actually believes in his kids; he gives them the tools, not the answers. I have argued for years that we should talk to kids about how they learn and how to approach problems and let them try these out for themselves, not lay a pathway for them to follow. That is what John does, every day, with 4th graders. I wrote parts of The Falconer for 3rd graders; they understand the depth of Sun Tzu if we just make it accessible in the right way. If I had life to live over again, the only reason I wish I could have lived in Virginia, frankly, is to have watched and learned from John about the nature of great teaching for the last 27 years or so. Some of my work has been sponsored by The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence; John is as well and so I have had a chance to hang out with him from time to time. Yes, you should be jealous!
Thanks, John, for sharing your story with the rest of the world. Now it is time for the rest of us to go out and create our own games. As we learn from the Art of War: those who arrive late on the battlefield rarely win.