The Lego Movie: Education is Awesome

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Recently I saw The Lego Movie, and let me say just one thing, everything was awesome. In fact, if you have yet to watch the movie, I recommend you go watch it immediately. Seriously. Drop whatever you’re doing and catch the next showing at your nearest theater. Please and thank you. Anyways, on with the post.

The Lego Movie tells the tale of Emmet, a standard, happy guy living in Bricksburg who is average in every single way possible. He lives a dull life as a construction worker and everything he does is taken from “the instructions”, a book of guidelines in which every citizen of Bricksburg follows to the letter. In fact, Emmet’s whole existence can be summed up in the movie’s theme song “Everything is Awesome”, because everything is awesome in Bricksburg, as long as you get along with others, be a team player, and most importantly, follow the instructions.

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However, regardless of his plain-old life, Emmet may be the chosen master builder as foretold by the prophecies of old. Emmet, along with every other Lego character, is unsure if he is able to build something without pre-determined instructions, seeing since he’s barely had an original idea in his life. This situation can be seen in this scene:

Here we see that Emmet’s fellow master builders find his idea disappointing due to its lame and out of the box appearance. Since he has always followed instructions, his creativity appears to be lacking and when he finally does have an idea, it sucks. However, near the end of the film, Emmet is able to save the day because he does follow the instructions, unlike the other master builders.

In the end, you can gleam one important lesson from the movie, there is no wrong way to do anything. Whether you follow the instructions or you don’t, its alright. You can’t save the day without both order and originality. Whatever way you do it, just be awesome.

legomovie (2)Now this lesson fits perfectly with what is going on in education today. Should students be taught by the book or should they be allowed to break the rules and find new ways to stimulate creativity and learning? For years standardized testing has provided the instructions for education, if the student does well, then they succeed. If they don’t? The student is coupled up with the other imperfects and is seen as less “intelligent” as other students. However, it is unwise to glance over the insight that the results of standardized testing presents.

It is best to leave standardized testing as the main say of understanding student achievement but still understand that the results aren’t necessarily a perfect measurement of intelligence. This concept can also be seen in the plight of the teachers. Should they be forced to teach by means of “accepted methods” or should they be allowed to teach the way they know best? Should they teach through traditional practices and procedures, or should they be granted permission to adapt their curriculum in a way that accommodates the needs of their students and their own personal opinion.

In the end, I believe a little bit of both methods is the best cure for the illness of our education system. We should, like Emmet, find the balance between the two in order to create a more appropriate way of teaching. Then finally, after creating policies that adapt to both students and the teachers, will we be able to say that everything is awesome.

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