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World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements Hardcover – April 2, 2013
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Hunter (teacher, education consultant, TED speaker) has been introducing global issues to students from his fourth-grade class and beyond for more than 20 years via his self-designed World Peace Game. Over a period of weeks, through a complex set of scenarios, children and teens learn to negotiate, battle, obtain resources, cooperate in the wake of natural disasters, and resolve all manner of conflicts with each other and in response to the demands of their ever-changing world. The game’s success proves that long, thought-out thinking assignments provoke an unprecedented positive response in students, a conclusion that flies in the face of current standardized-testing requirements. “Where once there seemed to be room to wonder, to speculate, to not know,” he writes, “there now seems to be increasing pressure for instant answers, immediate solutions, and narrowly defined results.” With numerous reflections on the game’s impact on certain students and a resounding final chapter highlighting his class’s 2012 visit to the Pentagon, Hunter proves the value of “slow teaching” in this important, fascinating, highly readable resource for educators and parents alike. --Colleen Mondor
"John Hunter's World Peace Game is more than a brilliant example of educational game design. It shows us exactly how to inspire and manage creative collaboration around the most complex problems imaginable. And given that virtually all young people today are growing up gamers, this book is a must-read for twenty-first century educators and leaders." — Jane McGonigal, author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
"Hunter's optimism is infectious" — Publishers Weekly
"With numerous reflections on the game’s impact on certain students and a resounding final chapter highlighting his class’s 2012 visit to the Pentagon, Hunter proves the value of “slow teaching” in this important, fascinating, highly readable resource for educators and parents alike." — Booklist
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I had problems understanding the mechanics and process of the game. He states there are only 8 or so game days of play but the students solve 50 contrived crises during play. That averages out to over 6 per game day.
The book would have much more credibility were it to include the failures of the game experienced of 30 years. Totally excluded were comments and incidents involving any helicopter parents. It doesn't add up that this game becomes such a major learning experience for the children yet there are no hyper-reactive parents on the scene. The grand scheme and concept of the game is indeed phenomenal. It is a target rich learning environment: powerful, embracing, engaging for the students. In the hands of the master Teacher I cannot think of a more productive tool. In the hands of the other 95 percent of today's American Teachers, this is a highly DESTRUCTIVE tool. (I am in the education field.)
This book is certainly worth the read because it will bring value to different readers based on the reader's point of origin. The author is very articulate and has a smooth writing voice. That he sees all and only the positive in his students is a special attribute, but a disingenuous one at times. Like many Teachers, he values the process more than the results (80/10 balance). This book is absolutely worth the investment of time and money.
In the book, he talks about "click" moments that lead to "flow" when new ideas about peace building fall into place.
This book did that for me.
It gave me confirmation of things I've long believed but never been able to put into words.
How do I help people (in this case fourth graders) see alternatives to the status quo?
How do I help them solive complex, "widked" problems?
How do I empower people around me and then empower myself in the process?
How do I that whle being consistent with my own beliefs as close to 100% of the time as possible?
Oh and get to World Peace at the same time.
In the 48 hourse since I got the book, my life and our work at the Alliance for Peacebuilding here in Washington have both changed.
Thanks for the gift.