Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Star Wars Matters In Edu #EdChat #T2T

I wonder how many people dismissed this post because of the fact that it had Star Wars in the title. If they did, they are missing the entire point of the article. I could have called this Doctor Who, Captain America, Superman, One Direction,  or other pop culture icons. The idea is that there are things out there that our students love and it should be our responsibility to know about the world around us so we can make connections to our students.

I was sitting at my desk and the trailer for the The Force Awakens showed up on the side panel of YouTube. I hit play because I had not seen it in a couple weeks. My son, who was playing with his toys, came rushing over and asked if this was Star Wars. He knew just on the opening notes. He asked if this was the second one. He has only seen Episode 4 and it will be a bit before he is old enough for Episode 5. He was excited when he saw Darth Vader's helmet and knew who Chewbacca was. His growing love for Star Wars will always be something that we can connect over and I would hate to see his excitement dismissed by a teacher.

Now, I'm not suggesting that every teacher become a superman of whatever kids are into at the moment, I'm just saying that we, as educators, need to be more accepting of what students are into and try to bring that into the class to engage them. 

When we talk about heroes and villains in stories, I will bring up Harry Potter or Star Wars or Disney films. The idea is make ideas easier for students to connect with in class. I happen to love all of the nerdy things that some kids do. These kids tend to be marginalized in school and are the ones that need an advocate more than others. I want them to know that it is ok to love those things. Making these connections and letting students know that I care about the things they care about makes a difference. 

The next time you roll your eyes when a teen talks about their love of One Direction, understand you are invalidating something important to them. They will not be engaged if you are dismissive of the things they love. Keep an open mind and ask students about those things they care about and show interest. It's the least you can do to create an accepting environment in the classroom.

*Updated October 20

I showed the new trailer to all of my classes today and we talked about plot, climax, protagonist, antagonist, and other literary terms based on the Star Wars movies. The students were excited for the new trailer and some normally reluctant learners were very much engaged in the analysis of these movies from a literary standpoint. You do not need the Force to engage students, but a little John Williams music backed trailer can go a long way. Let the countdown to Episode 7 begin!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please post your thoughts here. Thanks!