martinThe Martin Institute is pleased to announce that teacher John Hunter, a 4th grade teacher with Albemarle County Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been named as the first Martin Institute Teaching Excellence Fellow. Much attention has been brought to John Hunter’s teaching because of his 2011 TEDtalk, which was named by TED and theHuffington Post as the most influential TEDtalk of 2011.

John Hunter believes that his fourth grade students can solve world peace, as well as develop strategies for solving nuclear disasters, oil spills, global warming, endangered species issues, mineral rights, water rightsa total of about 30 interlocking, real world problems. John sets The World Peace Game in motion and then guides his students through the critical and strategic thinking, collaboration, and negotiation processes needed to understand and develop solutions for these global issues. Hunter explains, “The World Peace Game is about learning to live and work comfortably in the unknown.”

Over the course of the last 25 years, John has developed The World Peace Game, a multi-dimensional strategic board game that requires his fourth graders to solve world dilemmas that are environmental, geopolitical, financial, military, and every other layer he can think of combined. He uses his large scale game grounded in real world problems to teach his students critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, coordination, communication, research, negotiation skills, and the skill of synthesis, among other vital 21st century skills. His approach is to create a stimulating learning environment that excites, inspires, challenges, and supports students in their learning. Students learn to observe, connect, think, and construct meaning through inquiry, collaboration, and experimentation.

John’s teaching approach is completely student-centered and aligned with an emphasis on 21st century thinking skills. The learning environment that he structures is dynamic, fast-paced, and intense which results in highly motivated and engaged students who take real ownership and interest in their learning. For these reasons, the Martin Institute is delighted to welcome John Hunter as our first Teaching Excellence Fellow.

Martin Institute to Develop Educational Resources with John Hunter

John Hunter, in conjunction with the Martin Institute, will be developing educational resources and Master Classes for teachers interested in developing student-centered learning approaches that promote high levels of critical thinking and engagement.

As he explains in his TEDtalk, John’s work has been documented in the film World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements. Filmmaker Chris Farina chronicles John Hunter and his class through a whole cycle of the World Peace Game. This excellent film captures the energy and intensity of students who are capable, with guidance, of handling large amounts of often ambiguous and conflicting information that surround real world issues and working through it to develop solutions. We see a classroom of students negotiating their learning, collaborating both with peers and the teacher who is at once teacher and co-learner.

Martin Institute to Develop Curriculum Based on
World Peace Film

The Martin Institute has also formalized an agreement with the filmmaker Chris Farina to develop a viewer’s guide and a facilitator’s guide for schools that want to use the film as the basis for transformative conversations about teaching and learning. The Martin Institute will also be developing a half day professional learning session around the film to take to schools across the country.

Jamie Feild Baker to Serve as Martin Institute Director of Strategic Partnerships

To work with John Hunter and Chris Farina to develop these resources and learning experiences, Jamie Feild Baker is joining the institute as its Director of Strategic Partnerships. Jamie is a nationally recognized education innovator and writer. Over the last few years, she has worked with numerous schools across the country, including PDS, to help them create a shared vision of how education must change to order to meet the needs students have because of an unpredictable, interconnected, fast-paced world.

Read more about Jamie Baker here.

Hunter to Keynote 2012 Summer Conference

John Hunter will be speaking at the 2012 Martin Institute Summer Conference on June 13 and 14. The film World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements will also be screened.