George Lucas: Teaching "Communication"

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Jesus Rodriguez (not verified)

Movie making

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There could be a time when technology allows an individual student to drive the course based on what will engage him/her at that precise point in time. Need to teach Nepolian? Start with the student's interest in horses for example. Or possible a boy's interest in weapons and map this to the curriculum content.

To Lucas' point, I was unable to learn Spanish in the traditional classroom setting util I had a Junior High School class with a teacher that forced us to speak and hear Spanish 3/4 of the class time. We were all engaged. No workbooks, multiple choice quizez - we SPOKE the language every day - there are different ways to learn different things. The classroom is not ideal for everything.

Speaking. Public speaking classes and verbal communication are not stressed enough. Even the format of this video is verbal and speech-like. We don't have time to make a movie for each and every communication or learning moment. Verbal communication represents the vast majority of a person's daily communication. Listening, comprehension, and communicating thoughts by verbal (and nonverbal) means, if improved could have a profound impact on our society and civilization as a whole.

Thanks for putting this org. together Mr. Lucas.

Martha McManus (not verified)


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Lucas describes movement toward a broad based communications program in school which uses multiple communication methods in learning. One real life challenge for kids (where kids say they are never bored!) is dealing with real life problems. As a peacemaker i work in coaching kids on ways to deal with bullying. The director's chair is there for the person to describe the problem- setting- characters, etc... then the director has actors (fellow class mates or themselves) take the roles and act out at least 10 different ways to deal with the situation.

Thinking of ten different responses and playing them out gives kids the chance to look at the situation from multiple perspectives and do many 'takes' the idea that there is no 'one way' to do things has the students using the scene clap board (I do not know if that is the name of the thing) to do many takes both as bully and as the person being bullied and the net result is a new confidnece in many choices and perspectives.

The science behind this is important as it builds skills, moves the upsetting nd traumatic situation of bulling into the frontal lobs of problem solving, and it also teaches sequencing. ADD, ADHD and feotal alcohol kids often struggle with- 'what would happen next' sequence and here it is acted out.
Try it:

a child is standing at the microwave, waiting to heat up his pizza for school lunch. A kid behind him/her pokes them in the back with a fork.

Think of ten choices:
here are some this grade 5 child came up with...

tell the lunchroom supervisor
turn around and break their fork
step out of line
punch them
ask why they are doing that
grab the fork and stab them with in
ask them to scratch higher where the itch is
say thank you
say STOP THAT loudly to embarrass them

acting this out produces lots of laughter, teaches skills sequencing and problem solving and helps kids make a safe choice in debriefing what worked best.

Martha McManus MA MA MPhil

James D. Weston II (not verified)

Visual Communication-Red Tails

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I train adults and also volunteer to teach kids to get them interested in education. I talk to kids visually to keep them engaged and interested in learning. I work with the Navy's Blue Angels in supporting them when they come to the Bay Area for Fleet Week and the kids love it, when I talk aircraft and show them video and posters. I remember how bored most kids were and are when going to school. I also train adults (mechanics & support personnel) civilian and military in "Human Factors in Aviation". Most times this is on the graveyard shift, so the class better be interesting to keep them engaged. I use alot of pictures and video (some humorous) and have gotten great feedback.
As a past member of the Bay Area Tuskegee Airmen, and graduate of Aviation High School of New York, I hope to use this approach in educating the youngsters today about the Tuskegee Airmen, an important part of Aviation history. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild using cinema as one of my training tools is right up my alley. Mr. Lucas good luck with the "Red Tails" project. Wish I could participate. Thanks again
James D. Weston II (

Donna Bashaw-Benvie (not verified)


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I was inspired by the idea of evolving the Language Arts class to include and integrate graphics and music as a means of communicating literary concepts and to support grammar instruction. What an interesting way of teaching the intonation of an exclamation as compared to a question, by challenging students to use music and a colored line on a sheet of elongated paper! These ideas challenge me to learn more about art and music AND to consider whole new aspects of my student's potential learning experiences. I would enjoy having access to resources as examples of video and music clips as well as graphic images that support such instruction. I currently teach grammar using a program called Framing Your Thoughts. In that text there are graphic examples of the "path" the voice follows when reading a the four basic sentence types. I have had students run the sentence path, following a straight line that swings up on the end to denote a question. I never thought to ask for a painting of a question, or music that followed the question or a video clip of a question. Thanks for chance to improve my instruction.

Patty Wise (not verified)

There's something here...

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I am so glad to hear that someone of George Lucas' stature has decided that this is an important enough banner to take up!
I have an extremely creative ADHD 4th grader who has a "failure to thrive" in what I am continually told is "one of the best school systems in the country". However, when I sit in those dreadful IEP meetings and say, "There's got to be another way of teaching are children!" I am met with blank stares. Because, I guess it's working for the majority of the kids who, apparently, require less of the educational system. But even those kids - what could be opened up for them if their minds were allowed to soar rather than forced to conform? What do we want to create in our children? Mindless following of rules? Or innovation?

marnie (not verified)


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I came across this interview tid-bit by accident and I was thrilled by the core idea. I spend a great deal of time working to integrate various curricula with art/craft programs and projects. I am convinced this heightens the learning experience in general, but, as Mr. Lucas says, I also believe it helps the learners become more precise and skilled communicators. More confident communicators, as well. Being able to think and communicate in a precise and, even, creative way also seems to yield more success for all parties concerned. This has convinced me that we need to take our national leaders and put them back in school with some lessons in history or social studies or civics or all of the above, COMBINED with some music and film and visual arts and theatre. Heck, maybe a visit to the craft closet would be enough to get them to re-think the muck and mire of their typical process. And, oh, I suspect a math class couldn't hurt.
At any rate, bravo, George, for focusing attention (and resources)in some productive arenas.
marnie in san anselmo, ca

S Barrows (not verified)

Visual Learning

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More people in positions of educational leadership and direction need to hear Mr. Lucas, as he is right on target. Although many of us believe visual learning and interactive learning are some of the best ways to teach and learn, it is not all that new. Reading the words of Leonardo daVinci, he advised teachers of anatomy to use pictures, drawings, and dissections over the written word. This is from 1492, and while most of current medical education incorporates as much of the visual and interactive teaching as time permits, the web offers even greater opportunities. Even more so for K-12 populations.

So with epidemic obesity, failing national science achievement, and yet, a growing internet of resources, why isn't this incorporated more into our classrooms and at home? Learning health can be fun, and can also inspire and perhaps change outcomes, but the message is not getting out there fast enough.

Just as Star Wars excited generations about the outer worlds, so can the same attention to visual learning when applied to the inner world. Thanks, George Lucas, for putting this together! I am "on board."

Christine Passarella (not verified)

Communication and Project Learning

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Mr. Lucas your words here are right on...I recently finished a two year project with a looped class. We went from first to second grade communicating through music. Over time we worked with the music of the brilliant John Coltrane. Reporter Corey Kilgannon from the New York Times asked me how I had the courage to teach through Coltrane. I told him that children welcome what is complicated and then take it apart. They heard Coltrane and all the other musicians communicating their thoughts and feelings through the different genres of music. We worked on a similar project using the visual arts in what is called Artful Thinking. There will be an article in the Wall Street Journal about my work by Nat Hentoff using jazz to educate children. It is all about communication, and creating the connections needed to help human beings follow their bliss. Joseph Campbell would be very proud of your work here. Congratulations!
Christine Passarella
New York

Amy Ziegert (not verified)

New visual language of learning and teaching

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Thank you! Being a middle school English teacher who strives to keep the interest of my 8th grade students, I have long been incorporating art, music and other forms of self expression into my teaching. The use of the multiple intelligences is a fantastic way to reach the variety of students in class who have a wider variety of needs. I will often surprise my students with "another strange approach" and all levels of my classes engage a lot more than they did with the "traditional" lesson plans. Finding and planning these more captivating plans is a bit more difficult than the old open your books to page 34 and do exercise a, b and c. It is so worth it to try new things. It is extemely time consuming and requires a lot of energy, but it is so worth it.

As we only have a few weeks of school left, I found myself this weekend a bit worn out. My husband and I went to your new Indiana Jones movie on Saturday, and it energized me again with your wonderful message about teachers and the importance of education. Today, I happened upon your edutopia site, and I became an even bigger fan of yours. Thank you, George Lucas, for such wonderful support of teachers and the importance you put on the arts. I am now energized to go back to school tomorrow humming the Indiana Jones theme song all the way!

Zsuzsa (not verified)


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Fully agree with you Mr. Lucas, especially since I just finished my PhD and have learned that it seems that we engage all our senses even when we complete individual tasks, like listening comprehension. Would love to contribute to your wonderful endevours. Education makes the world a better place, Zsuzsa Londe

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