I am in awe of teacher John Hunter. I just watched him give a talk on TED about his class room game that takes a new twist on RISK, the famous board game of world conquest. In John Hunter’s classroom, fourth graders play “The World Peace Game” in which four imaginary nations struggle with war, poverty, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. Students only win by working together to find solutions to issues that many adults think have no solution. The good news is that these kids don’t yet know that the problems “cannot be solved”.
Hunter has recently written a book about his experiences with his World Peace Game and you can click on the image on the right to read more about it at Amazon.com. Compassion, Hunter writes in the book, “is the ultimate point of education and everything else. The game emphasizes compassion.” he says.
He says that the solutions his students devise are always complex and include negotiations, treaties, compromising, and a willingness to not to have the perfect answer. He claims that several classes have found workable solutions to global warming.
“Children don’t bring a lot of baggage to things,” he said in an article on Yahoo News. “They come with a much more openheartedness and open-mindedness to solving problems, and they do it in unusual and amazing ways. It thrills me every time I see it.”
The best news I’ve heard in awhile on the world peace front is that he and his fourth grade class have been invited to come play the game at the Pentagon later this year.
You can check out Hunter’s enjoyable TED talk here.