John Hunter is one of those inspired individuals whose genius is less about his creation than about his disposition. Unlike so many people, even in a profession like teaching, children’s capacity is approached with expectations about what they cannot or are unready to do. John’s efforts with the World Peace Game are a testament to just how much even the very young are capable of when they are given the space and tools to test their mettle. It was for this reason that I asked John to speak to my own students, a mix of preservice and inservice teachers. It is my opinion that his example helps them to look past they myopia of the present toward a vision of what is possible for our students and our practice when we employ powerful methods of teaching – which so often means getting out of our students’ way. I am so grateful that John was able to make time to join us, to answer our questions, and to spread the impact of his hard won wisdom to our next generation of teachers. Many thanks from the University of Connecticut.
- Cory Wright-Maley, Doctoral Candidate, Instructor
Speaking with John Hunter about his World Peace Game was inspirational. It prompted me to look at learning as a risky but rewarding process of teachers ceding classroom authority and students taking control of the learning experience as a whole. One of the best aspects of the World Peace Game is that the students are asked to work together as a team in order to dig through complex issues that affect the world outside the four walls of the classroom environment. There is a degree of cooperation and realism found in this game that can’t be seen elsewhere. In traditional board games the goal is to dominate all the competitors, to make others bend to your own perspective and worldview. In the World Peace Game, every player’s voice must be heard and negotiated with in order for “victory” to be assured. I will definitely pick this game up for use in my own classroom when it is available, and urge my colleagues to do so as well.
In talking with John Hunter, I learned how sometimes it is best to let go of control of the classroom and trust your students. As teachers, we instinctively want to have a hand in the outcomes of each lesson and activity. But for the students to get the most out of the World Peace Game, the teacher must surrender their interference. I also learned that students will rise to a high level of expectations. If you show your students that you are confident in their potential to succeed, they will prove you right and try hard to achieve the goal of world peace.
After seeing numerous videos about him and studying his incredible World Peace Game, our pre-education class of prospective teachers had the honor of talking with John Hunter about his philosophy on education and the goals of his game. There is no practicing teacher that I have met that has the confidence in their students to truly change the world that John Hunter does. He talks with an unwavering ambition to empower students to truly learn themselves. He is the ideal educator that 21st century educators should strive to be.
Mr. Hunter’s visit with our UConn social studies methods seminar via Skype was an exercise in thoughtfulness and grace. His responses to our questions were thorough and frank, and he was always open to discussion on his ideas about the World Peace Game. We asked some difficult questions: What would happen if the Game were to fail? What contingencies did he have in place if certain students did not fulfill their obligations? How were scenarios chosen? Not only did Mr. Hunter answer our questions, but also showed us a train of thought that demonstrated he is constantly thinking about ways to improve the game, whether adding components or adjusting to fit the needs of individual students. What became most clear in our time with him is that his first responsibility is the kids. Considering the differences between each class for which he facilitates the World Peace Game, Mr. Hunter always takes time to learn about his students as people. What kinds of things make them feel proud? What do they fear in engaging their peers? What sorts of creativity do they exhibit? Using self-questioning, he strives to understand his charges as humans so they can make better sense of the Game. This is perhaps Mr. Hunter’s most endearing trait, and a noble goal toward which to strive as a prospective teacher.
Having the opportunity to speak with John Hunter was both an honor and extremely inspirational. After our discussion, I felt motivated and confident to develop innovative lessons that will encourage my students to push themselves out of their comfort zones and to help develop their critical thinking skills. Thank you Mr. Hunter!
It is due to the mentorship and inspiration brought forth from teachers like John Hunter that will change public education forever. His insight into individual students and the function of human beings is both comprehensive and compassionate. The World Peace Game is an ideal vision of the future of school; creative, compelling, and engaging. I aspire to be so thoughtful and serious about my classroom and hope to see more teachers take the reigns as John does everyday.
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