Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thinking outside the box

This weekend, my wife and I watched Born into Brothels - a powerful documentary showing a literal snapshot into the lives of children born to the women of Calcutta's Red Light District. Through the movie, the filmmaker, Zana Briski commented that "she was not a teacher". True, in the normal sense she was not - certainly not in India where the traditional "room, rows and rote" still prevails. But I would argue that she did teach them something incredible. That they were not trapped and that they were not silent observers to their condition. Photography allowed the children in the movie a means of expression that (though it was not expressedly mentioned) helped them in other parts of their lives. They took the impowerment that they gained through a learning process that they felt that they had control in and tried to do more with it. Unfortunately, only two of them were able to stay in the schools Zana had helped them get into. I don't want to take anything away from Zana, an amazing woman doing amazing things. But I certainly think that many people can take what she did as inspiration to see what can happen when kids are empowered in their own learning. We should try to find as many means for our students to communicate their ideas if we want them to get "hooked" on learning. Just some thoughts. Technorati Tags: , ,