Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Recently I was passed this inspiring short film by Rick Mereki. Mr. Mereki has done a series of three films and all can be found here, but the one I want to talk about today is titled LEARN.
Take a quick look at the film and you will see Mr. Mereki EXPLORING in his learning process. In fact learning is specifically portrayed as a process in which one travels, explores and learns about things foreign and mundane, but all stem from the individual's interests.
Is this what school looks like these days? Maybe there is the rare classroom that reflects this idea and inspires students to chase down their inspiration for life, but those experiences are far and few between.
In our cluttered world of testing and observing and modifying our students we have almost no room left for Mr. Mereki's kind of learning, but isn't it this kind of freedom to learn we spend most of our lives trying to attain?
It makes me ponder, what is learning? Is what our students do now learning? How do we inspire our children to find their innate interests, the questions they desire to find the deepest most satisfying answers to? How we do serve up  a healthy dose of inspiration for our children?
That is the tragic missing piece in classrooms across the country. Teachers and students operate daily without the spicy, edge of the seat sort of inspiration that is seen in the LEARN video. In fact in most schools there is little or no access to art, music, film, photography or education about cooking, food or culture. These are tossed out because the influence they have on us cannot be measured. However, can we imagine a world without them?
The ideas we need in order for our society to grow and prosper, won't come from a test score.  It will come from inspiration and real, life tactile learning.  Do we have the fortitude to defend every child's chance to innovate and imagine and learn?
If we allow ourselves to  be swept away by the tsunami of standardization that now threatens the core of inspiration that drives us as humans, we won't last. It is our ability to adapt that has allowed humans to live so long yet be so physically weak.  We have what the rest of the animal kingdom does not. We have creation in our hands. We have innovation in our fingers. We have imagination on our side.
How will we imagine today? How will we foster change where just moments before it seemed impossible? That is the amazing thing about inspiration, imagination and learning. It changes the world in an instant! Where there was no answer before, there is one now.
What will we do today to inspire and grow the imaginations of our students?
Thank you Mr. Mereki for sharing with the world your beautiful inspiration to learn.


  1. Meg, this is awesome! My only issue is - how to we pay for and execute this with 30 kids to a classroom. The approach that you (and I) advocate for will take TONS of money to actually execute, especially in light of the need for lots of remedial programming in certain areas just to get kids to the point where they WILL explore. Further, we must include programs for parents as well, beginning prenatallyl. Look at Harlem Kids Zone for the continuum approach.

  2. Kwame, I feel that we used to spend time on these subjects and there was plenty of money and time for them "back then." If states can come up with money for millions of dollars of testing, I think we can find money for art, music and cultural education? Perhaps its a matter of shifting how our money is being spent and realigning our priorities? What do you think? :)
    I agree we need to share this vision and get input from parents, communities, etc. This is an entire cultural shift away from preconsructed, prepackaged childhood and education.

  3. Meg, as always, I you fill me with inspiration! Hands-on exploration, experimentation, and invention is the most powerful learning tool we have! Perhaps it's time to call on the entire community to pitch in... and not just with tax dollars but with tangible, hands-on learning experiences. If schools can no longer afford "field trips" what about local artisans, craftsman, businesses, etc., bringing their experiences right into the classroom?

  4. Well said Jill! Completely agree! It a costs nothing to bring the world to the students. Great idea!