“At a time when school systems have completely lost focus on what really matters, John Hunter reminds us what we should be teaching our children. His ideas will help anyone who has the courage to understand that a real education must go beyond filling in circles on a standardized test form.” — Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire
Can playing a game lead to world peace? If it’s John Hunter’s World Peace Game, it just might. In Hunter’s classroom, students take on the roles of presidents, tribal leaders, diplomats, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve a sequence of many-layered, interconnected scenarios, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare.
Now, Hunter shares inspiring stories from over thirty years of teaching the World Peace Game, revealing the principles of successful collaboration that people of any age can apply. He offers not only a forward-thinking report from the frontlines of American education, but also a generous blueprint for a world that bends toward cooperation rather than conflict. In this deeply hopeful book, a visionary educator shows us what the future of education can be.
“Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading.” — Kirkus Reviews
“With numerous reflections on the game’s impact on certain students and a resounding final chapter highlighting his class’s 2012 visit to the Pentagon, Hunter proves the value of ‘slow teaching’ in this important, fascinating, highly readable resource for educators and parents alike.” — Booklist
The World Peace Game devised by fourth-grade teacher Hunter has spread from a classroom in 1978 to a documentary, a TEDTalk, the Pentagon, and now finally a book, in which he describes the ways his students have solved political and ecological crises that still loom large in the world of adults. The World Peace Game presents a microcosm of the larger world: four nations, each with its own wealth, ethnic, and natural resource profile; a religious island tribe and a nomadic desert clan ; a United Nations and World Bank; and a weather god or goddess who oversees matters of chance. To these, Hunter adds a web of interconnected crises, all of which must be solved and all nations increased in net worth to declare the game won. Those hoping to observe an entire game play-by-play will be disappointed; instead, Hunter provides anecdotes from a variety of sessions to illustrate his larger points, most importantly the empty space he wants to create for student reflections. Though Hunter has a tendency to repeat himself, some stories are moving: a boy whose slow speech and shyness finally blooms into epiphany; five students sacrifice themselves to take down a tyrant. Ultimately, Hunter s optimism is infectious.