It was SEAL day at school on Tuesday. Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning. In year 6 the theme was dreams, goals and aspirations and to get the children to think about short term, medium term and long term goals to achieve on the way to their ultimate goal. Not sure of the wisdom of asking 11 year olds to think about their future job - seems a bit premature to me.
Anyway, the intro to the whole thing was to read Martin Luther King Jnr's "I have a dream" speech. It went something like this:
Me: Who started a very well known speech with the words "I have a dream."?
Child: Bob Marley?
Child: Isaac Newton?
Child: The Queen?
Child: Tony Blair?
Child: Nelson Mandela?
Me: [starting to lose all hope] Good idea but.....no.
Child: That girl off Mamma Mia?
I eventually told them. They had never heard of Martin Luther King Jnr nor what he stood for and campaigned for. They listened in total silence as I told them about slavery, segregation, the campaign for racial equality and why the election of Barak Obama was such a landmark for the USA. They were so interested and it made me realise that in our school culture of levels and results and curriculum to be adhered to, there is little opportunity to talk to children about the world and historical (or indeed current) affairs. I'm sure we'll end up with a whole society of people who don't have any 'general' knowledge.
Perhaps I'm being pessimistic. I am nearly 40 after all.