World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements

World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements

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by John Hunter
     
 

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In John Hunter’s classroom, students fearlessly tackle global problems and discover surprising solutions by playing his groundbreaking World Peace Game. These kids—from high school all the way down to fourth grade, in schools both well funded and underresourced—take on the roles of politicians, tribal leaders, diplomats, bankers, and military

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Overview

In John Hunter’s classroom, students fearlessly tackle global problems and discover surprising solutions by playing his groundbreaking World Peace Game. These kids—from high school all the way down to fourth grade, in schools both well funded and underresourced—take on the roles of politicians, tribal leaders, diplomats, bankers, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve dozens of complex, seemingly intractable real-world challenges, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare, financial collapse to climate change.

In World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements, Hunter shares the wisdom he’s gleaned from over thirty years teaching the World Peace Game. Here he reveals the principles of successful collaboration that people of any age can apply anywhere. His students show us how to break through confusion, bounce back from failure, put our knowledge to use, and fulfill our potential. Hunter offers not only a forward-thinking report from the front lines of American education, but also a generous blueprint for a world that bends toward cooperation rather than conflict. In this deeply hopeful book, a visionary educator shows us what the future can be.

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Editorial Reviews

For more than thirty years, teacher John Hunter has been teaching the World Peace Game to his fourth-grade students. The real-world lessons that he has learned from their participation in global problem-solving are not about the naiveté of youth, but about the possibilities and pitfalls of collaborative solutions. No doubt, some readers will focus on the students' approaches to issues like nuclear proliferation or climate change; others instead will zero in on the psychological dynamics of conflict resolution. Either way, they will feel uplifted by Hunter's far-reaching experiment in making students (and us) widen our horizons.

Publishers Weekly
The World Peace Game devised by fourth-grade teacher Hunter has spread from a classroom in 1978 to a documentary, a TEDTalk, the Pentagon, and now finally a book, in which he describes the ways his students have solved political and ecological crises that still loom large in the world of adults. The World Peace Game presents a microcosm of the larger world: four nations, each with its own wealth, ethnic, and natural resource profile; a “religious island tribe” and a “nomadic desert clan”; a United Nations and World Bank; and a “weather god or goddess” who oversees matters of chance. To these, Hunter adds a web of interconnected crises, all of which must be solved—and all nations increased in net worth—to declare the game won. Those hoping to observe an entire game play-by-play will be disappointed; instead, Hunter provides anecdotes from a variety of sessions to illustrate his larger points, most importantly the “empty space” he wants to create for student reflections. Though Hunter has a tendency to repeat himself, some stories are moving: a boy whose slow speech and shyness finally blooms into epiphany; five students sacrifice themselves to take down a tyrant. Ultimately, Hunter’s optimism is infectious. Agent: Cynthia Cannell, Cynthia Cannell Literary. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A veteran educator's uplifting account of how he introduced schoolchildren to global problems through a visionary game that charged them with saving the world . . . Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading." — Kirkus Reviews
 
 
 
"At a time when school systems have completely lost focus on what really matters, John Hunter reminds us what we should be teaching our children. His ideas will help anyone who has the courage to understand that a real education must go beyond filling in circles on a standardized test form." — Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire
 
 

"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

Library Journal
Fourth-grade teacher and educational consultant Hunter developed the World Peace Game, a program that teaches students new ways to find solutions to the world’s greatest political and ecological challenges. Hunter, who achieved global recognition and snowballing popularity after a documentary about his work led to a TEDTalk, engages both kids and adults in finding solutions to global problems, starting in the classroom. Although Hunter’s work is innovative and often inspiring, his ideas about education presented in this book are not particularly novel.

Verdict Readers will not find here practical assistance for implementing Hunter’s program themselves or defending its quiet outcomes in a results-oriented education system. Nor will they find new stories about the World Peace Game, as Hunter’s writing here is another record of the results he has previously shared elsewhere. The project itself is worthy of looking into but recommended in other formats.—Anna Berger, Piper City, IL

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A veteran educator's uplifting account of how he introduced schoolchildren to global problems through a visionary game that charged them with saving the world. In 1978, Hunter decided that he wanted to teach his inner-city students about global issues in such a way that "they could experience the feeling of learning through their bodies." So he developed the "World Peace Game" and used a three-dimensional structure to represent the entire planet "in four layers: undersea, ground and sea, airspace, and outer space." Hunter plunged children into a complex matrix of problems and forced them to face such crises as nuclear proliferation; ethnic, religious and political tensions; and climate change and environmental disasters. His goals were twofold: He wanted to get his students to learn how to think in meaningful ways about difficult issues, and he hoped they could overcome petty hostilities and ego and organize themselves into a larger collective. Every class discovered a unique way to save the world, and no game ever ended without at least a few students walking away more aware of their own hidden strengths and weaknesses. Hunter also examines what the World Peace Game taught him. Creative entities, such as the collectives his students forged, moved through identifiable stages, some of which he admits have caused him profound anxiety. But as a teacher, he learned that his duty was to work in harmony with the group rather than seek to control either the participants or their responses, knowing that, "like adults in the real world, they might fail." Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading, especially for those who have ever questioned what the public school system can do for American children.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547905594
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

A native Virginian and graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, JOHN HUNTER is an award-winning teacher and educational consultant. Hunter led his first sessions of the World Peace Game at Richmond Community High School in 1978. Since then, he has taught the game successfully in a variety of settings, from public schools in Virginia and Maryland to a session with Norwegian students sponsored by the European Youth Initiative. He has spoken at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Google’s Palo Alto campus, the Pentagon, the United Nations, and elsewhere. His March 2011 TED talk was greeted with a standing ovation, and Arianna Huffington and Chris Anderson named it the No. 1 talk of TED 2011.

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World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fiddles while world fights various plagues
Anonymous More than 1 year ago