Rap is a free-flowing, sometimes improvisational music style that riffs off of cultural beats and nods to history, timeless themes like death, love, war, and wealth. It’s also incredibly viral. This kid from Shanghai got a standing ovation to one of his answers, which he responded to in rap form (it may be hard for non-Chinese speakers to pick up that he’s talking in rap, not just in Chinese). What does this have to do with learning?

Learning these days is viral, but the systems that teach our children are not viral. They are rooted in bureaucratic nonsense, something that I am sure –based on conversations I have had with teachers — is more frustrating than helpful. What if your education lived on the web, and you still had a chance to interact with excellent teachers?

In many ways, you see this young rapper, and maybe, like me, you are reminded that really bright people sometimes don’t turn to formal systems to educate themselves. They turn to their communities. One of the judges asks the kid, “Do you talk to other rappers?” He says, “Yes, we talk to each other all over the world, on the Internet.”

You know Abraham Lincoln never finished school? He had bigger things to do, I think. Yes, I know that will ruffle some educator feathers. But I think some educators would like to leave school, too.


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