Kahoot is many educators’ fan favorite. The flashy graphics and fluid design make learning “fun.” It’s way better than putting a Powerpoint up and asking multiple choice questions. I’ve used Kahoot and similar programs in the classroom, often believing they were engaging review tools. Many students are excited to play Kahoot — after all, it’s breaking the monotony of the standard school day. But as I’ve reflected and analyzed Kahoot, I’ve seen what it really is: a trivia machine.
This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education by José Luis Vilson heralds a personal, provocative story of doing what’s best for children. Vilson presents a narrative of his school experience and how that has impacted his teaching, allowing a deep viewpoint into his perspective and helping us reflect on our practice.
“Best practice” is defined as keeping politics separate from teaching: avoiding personal viewpoints, remaining neutral, and listening to all sides. It is ironic that the place most adverse to political influence is a cornerstone to literal constant discourse and indoctrination. The majority of educators — especially those who teach Humanities where these discussions tend to take hold — firmly believe they shouldn’t showcase their beliefs nor let students have any inkling to what they are.
Teaching to Transgress summarizes hooks’ viewpoints through a series of essays which manifest a strong structure for understanding, analyzing, and changing systemic issues. hooks takes complicated concepts and writes acutely, allowing educators to adopt a changed mindset without feeling overwhelmed, targeted, or attacked.
Despite the possible best intentions of those involved, their methodology is framed incorrectly and view of coursework is simply wrong. Although I recognize this work is written by a high school student, this highlights the misconceptions many feel about their own educational experience — how do you know what you’ve never been exposed to?
Why would I ever take Algebra 2 when I could take Video Games 101!? Of course, this assumes a lot about what teenagers want to learn to do. It’s true, the majority of students don’t enjoy their Algebra 2 class. Probably because it’s a rote demonstration of outdated and unrealistic practice for the majority of them.