I posted the RSAnimation of Ken Robinson's speech because I thought it was cool. I've watched it several times now and shown it to a few other teachers. Everyone seems intrigued by it. In talking with one Grade 4 teacher about it, we realized that he was already working on something similar with his students. He likes to doodle, so he was making some drawings to help communicate to his class of ESL students complex ideas about human rights, fairness, discrimination, prejudice, etc.
I've been speaking with his class about what they've been learning in their Sharing the Planet unit on Positive Change. They are a truly interesting group of students, but I don't think they are unusual. I mean, they are able to discuss these ideas and have opinions, and I am not surprised by that. Some are goofy, of course, since they may not be used to the idea of adults valuing their opinions or speaking seriously to them about such "grown-up" issues. They have a strong sense of fairness, but they also see the hypocrisy around them.
So, that's for the students who have developed enough English skills to communicate their feelings to the class. What about the rest of the students? If they are unable to speak in English about their ideas, do we just leave them in silence? Of course not, but how do we open things up to allow them to speak? Well, we are going to try illustrations. I am going to speak with the students while their homeroom teacher draws the conversation. Crazy? Maybe, but I'll let you know how it goes.