Why “Caine’s Arcade” is a parable about learning and teaching

There is a cool little video that is currently “going viral” at the moment, you’ve probably already seen it, but here it is again:

Many of the messages about learning are far too explicit for me to explain here… pretty much everybody will see that it is a parable on the theme of creativity. However, there are also other, more implicit, messages for those of us “in the business of learning”.

  • Caine would not have been able to create his arcade if his Dad had not been willing to let him “make a mess”. In how many classrooms could Caine’s talent have bubbled to the surface. How many teachers are willing to let students “create a mess”?
  • It appears as though there was little input by Caine’s Dad and so, the arcade was – as far as we know – entirely of Caine’s creation. How many teachers willing just to let  students produce what they produce, and then work from there?
  • The only interaction that resembles the typical actions of a teacher is the one between the film-maker and Caine. The film-maker, Nirvan, sees that what Caine has done is special and then takes him to the next level. How many teachers are adept “kidwatchers” who see and nurture their student’s genuine talents and skills?
  • Nirvan is able to see value in what many people may seem as a frivolity. He honours Caine’s real interests without judgment. How many teachers really value and honour each student for who they are and accepts their starting points as valid.
  • Nirvan (and his Dad) can see the trans-disciplinary connections that Caine is making (use of mathematics, language, science) through his arcade. How many teachers know their students well enough, and know their curriculum well enough to see the curricular value in everything the students do?
  • Nirvan is able to connect Caine with the wider community through the use of video and through the use of social media, giving him an increasingly growing audience. How many teachers can capture learning in this way? How many teachers are able to harness the potential power of social media?

There’s probably more, but it’s late and I need to go to bed. What else do you see?

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