They Are All Relatively Ignorant

, , , , , | Learning | September 12, 2018

(I am teaching a 12th-grade journalism class.)

Me: “For today’s assignment, I want you think of someone famous that you admire. They can be living or dead, as long as they are a real person. Imagine that you have the entire day to interview that person, write at least five questions, and try to think about how he or she would answer. Be creative! Here is a list of famous people to help give you an idea, in case you don’t have someone in mind.”

(The list contains a variety of people from history and the present day that most students should be familiar with, especially by the time they are in high school.)

Student #1: “Ms. [My Name], I don’t know who this person is.”

(I walk over to the student’s desk. To my astonishment, he is pointing to Albert Einstein’s name on the list.)

Me: *thinking the student is pulling my leg* “Come on, you know him! He was the scientist that came up with the formula E=MC2.”

Student #1: “Never heard of him.”

(I was shocked that even though I picked common people that are usually discussed in social studies and other subjects in school, these kids had no idea who I was talking about! The only names they did recognize were Dr. Seuss and Martin Luther King, Jr. But, they only knew MLK, Jr. because they don’t have to go to school on his birthday! They had no idea why he was important!)

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