Muhammad Ali passed away this week. I fear that this may go totally unnoticed in schools.
What is the reason for this?
Are we afraid that acknowledging and honouring him might, in some obscure way, be controversial? Someone is always offended by something in these places, right?
Are we becoming so unfamiliar with the idea of genuine heroes that we no longer appreciate who he was or what he did?
Is the notion of a famous person putting everything on the line so that he/she may take a real stance on something so alien to us these days that Ali no longer seems real?
Are we simply ignorant and have little or no understanding of the man’s importance in the civil rights and anti-war movements?
Or… perhaps most worryingly… did we forget it mattered?
I lay down the challenge that you set aside what ever other stuff you believe is so important it must be taught, and introduce your students to Muhammad Ali – for it may well be the first time they have heard of him – and seek inspiration from the way he lived his life.
I asked the participants at this workshop to look at well-known people, icons, heroes, anti-heroes, villains, idols etc… though the lenses of the Learner Profile. Which attributes does each person truly demonstrate? Which attributes do they not demonstrate? How much of that is based on opinion, perspective and context? It’s interesting isn’t it?
And, what about us… the models, the people our students are “looking up to”. Which attributes do we consistently demonstrate… or not demonstrate?
This fascinating video about Mirror Neurons really makes a valid point about where the Learner Profile starts, with us.