Monday, February 10, 2014

A few lessons to be taken from The Lego Movie

This weekend my girlfriend and I went to go see The Lego Movie. The movie was filled with lots of 80's jokes and sound effects and really made me feel at home as a person who was born in the 1980s. There was one dialog that really got  me thinking about education. The conversation was between Emmet and Lord Business about how he was creating all these problems because he didn't feel special. This got me thinking about some of the current issues in education and how both teachers and students often don't feel special inside schools today. These are some of the lessons that I believe education could benefit from by watching The Lego Movie.

1. Creativity doesn't look the same for everyone
            This I believe is a key lesson that can be learned from watching this film. Lord Business didn't feel he was as creative as the master builders because he favored order and continuity. This I see everyday. Often the students we pay the most attention to and praise the most are the ones that show off the brightest colors or the most interesting design and we overlook the less "flashy" students. We need to look at the students who produce work in the most simplistic way but have the strongest messages. As educators we need to look at the child who takes the project and does it in a completely different way. We should evaluate what students say and do with their bodies instead of just focusing on the "product" they produce.

2. Pay attention to the kids and educators that aren't following the system
            Wow, where do I start with this one? I feel every major reform in education has been started by the people who are doing what the system asks of them. The public demands accountability so we start begin standardized testing our kids. The public demands teachers be under a rigid evaluation system so a system is created. The issue I have with these is that these "reforms" all focus on people who tend to follow the system and not the ones who are critical of it. The best teachers are the ones who say I am not going to let the system get me down and are creative in the classroom. We need to look at students who aren't "performing" on standardized testing and see if its the system and not the student(which it rarely is). We need to look at schools that aren't considered the norm and see what they are doing. We need a multiple matrix on evaluating the student and what they need to learn to be successful. These are things we can learn from kids who are not doing well in the classroom. We need to look internally at our systems and beliefs and see if what we are doing is interfering with education. It's hard to be critical of one's self but kids often tells us clearly what we are doing is not working and we don't listen. This needs to change.

3. Embrace Diversity
           This one is another important lesson I feel education is lacking and continuing to go away from. This next statement I will make is very controversial but I need to say it. I feel the Common Core is wrong in how it's being implemented but not in spirit. Let me explain this a little better. The Common Core is a great resource for helping kids chose their own path by telling them what skills are needed to pursue a career. The problem I have with the Common Core is it's stating kids need all the same skills and I feel this is just not true. Lord Business felt like an outcast because he wasn't as creative as the master builders and therefore rebelled against society (who embraced the master builders as the end all be all). This I can see the Common Core doing as well. The common core has a huge push for math and science with a clear message (or how its portrayed) that you better have this background or you won't be successful. This concerns me because as a culture we need diversity and to say that all members of a culture need to have these skills to be successful seems kind of sad. I think the Common core needs to act as a guide based on what a person's innate talent is. An example of this is if a person wants to be an artist the Common core can provide a route to become the most successful artist . I am afraid the Common Core is being used as a forced recruiting tool for a one industry instead of creating a diverse economy with many industries. I am hoping that these issues with the Common Core will be worked about because I truly believe if that if implemented correctly it can be used to help solve some of our education issues.

So, there were some of the lessons I learned from watching The Lego Movie. I hope that I can continue to push not only the limits of my own thinking but to have people evaluate their own. I love how a movie can sometimes spark the most interesting thoughts about a variety of topics. So, next time you go to the movies or watch one don't just see as entertainment but as a way to start thinking about other issues. I hope your enjoyed this entry and please comment below!!

The Lego Movie Trailer