When I first read about John Hunter, I learned a bit about a simulation game that he did with his fourth graders, but it was not until I heard him speak last at the NAIS conference that I truly realized his full impact on the lives of children. He is a veteran teacher and a humble man who set out create a scenario that would bring tremendous challenge to his students. The basic premise of the game is that students are separated into four or five teams called countries. They each get a role to play. Some are Presidents, some are defense ministers, some are even arms dealers. He then thrusts them into a scenario where they have to simultaneously deal with 50 crises. He wants them to have fun, but he wants them to be completely overwhelmed with challenge. I found him to be engaging, humble, intelligent, and absolutely inspiring. At the end of his talk, he received a rousing standing ovation from the thousands of educators in the room.
Here is John Hunter’s TED Talk where he discusses the World Peace Game:
Recently filmmaker, Chris Marina, made a documentary about the game which will air on PBS in May. Here is a short trailer that will give you a sense of the high level of challenge and engagement in his classroom. Take a look. It is worth your time. I’d love to hear what you think about it.