Lost in Education
“You're waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don't know for sure.” This quote comes from the hit movie Inception; however, I think that this quote is an accurate description of most people’s thoughts on public education. We all want to get on this train; the train feels like it’s going, but no one knows if the train is getting where it needs to go. An error that I see in education comes from the perception of Sir Ken Robinson, which is education tends to only feature three avenues of thought: One, schools focus narrowly on certain academic ability that being critical analysis and reasoning. Second, education creates a hierarchy of subject, which forces academic conformity of a narrow view of intelligence. Third, the schools are relying too much on standard assessments. (Robinson 13) As Sir Ken Robinson states, “These approaches to education are also stifling some of the most important capacities [in our children].”
I have, to my own frustration, observed this type of ‘stifling’ in my own classroom. That I, myself, have been beaten down into a narrow view of education. Students are too busy trying to rush through things just to find the “right answer”, or too busy decoding to understand, or worrying what test they have to pass next. Creative thought is not allowed to flourish because the environment that they are asked to perform in is only concerned with ‘not what they think’ but what “right” answer they know. My students needed a little spark or creative universe juice to get things flowing again. To do this, I endeavored on a journey. I decided I would use the T.V. phenomena known as Lost. In short, showing Lost allows the students to forget on focusing on finding the right answer, because there are no answers in Lost; hence the title. Instead, it embarks the students on a fantastical journey of myth and theme. “The allusions [made in the story] invite the viewers to initiate a discussion [or thought process] on a higher level (Stuart 1).” Even one of the writers of the show, Damon Lindelof, states, “one of the things we’ve always enjoyed as storytellers is the intentional ambiguity…you’re asking the audience: What do you think? We want people to turn to the person next to them and engage them in a conversation. As William Yeats summarized, “Books are but waste paper unless we spend in action the wisdom we get from [them.]” Lost allows thematic ideas to germinate in the mind of the student. For example, Lost deals with themes such as free will, faith, redemption, community, and the individuals desire for an external savior, and trying to understand life. Sounds like high school survival needs 101
And, this is where this blog will begin. The story of frustrated students leaving behind what they know or rather what they hate to forge a new way of thinking about the skills they need to acquire. Lost simply acts like a little miracle grow to stimulate the mind so that it can receive the knowledge they need to be successful.
Robinson, Ken Ph.D. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. New York: Penguin Group, 2009.
Stuart, Sarah Ph.D. Literary Lost: Viewing Television Through the Lens of Literature. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011.