MLTS: Reflection


Strini Reddy speaks to educators about the Newcomer Youth Education Support Services — the organization supported by the screening of Most Likely to Succeed

On Wednesday, February 3rd, over 200 educators came together at the University of Winnipeg to view the provocative film Most Likely to Succeed. The film challenged whether or not the current educational paradigm meets the needs and challenges of the 21st century.

The film addressed several major themes in terms of learning, teaching, and the purpose of education. From the brief discussion that followed the screening, it is clear that everyone in the room reacted differently to this experience.

Please feel free to reflect on what you thought about the film below. As we do with our more formal learning communities, please ensure that our comments are precise, respectful and not anonymous.

On behalf of St. John’s-Ravenscourt School and the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg, thank you for sharing time and space with us.


5 thoughts on “MLTS: Reflection

  1. I found your film interesting and informative. However, there are some important areas that are key to your discussion that have not been mentioned which could strengthen your film. I recommend that you deal with (1) key educational theorists like Vygotsky and Dewey; (2) key educational movements that have been almost entirely left out like alternative education that are central to your ideas; and (3) key art educational concepts and theorists that inform your argument other than Sir Kenneth Robinson. I would add that you (4) need to situate your film as emerging from the United States which is a different culture than other educational ones in other countries.

    Good effort and the ideas you express are important ones, but the film needs further development to strengthen your central ideas. Thank you for producing an interesting film that will provoke important debate and thought counteracting the American era of accountability.

    • Thanks, Joanna! Just to be clear, this was not a UofW or SJR production, but your comments provide great insight. I agree that there is very little theory on experience within the doc, but I think its intent is to provoke a conversation. It is not a dissertation, if you will. For me, I think it asks educators (And its Sundance audience) critical questions like: what is learning? How do we know when learners learn? How should we teach given the complexity of our societies in 2016 and the impending ecological crisis.

      Great to see some UofM faculty out!

  2. Hello Matt,
    Full disclosure:I am wading in prematurely because I haven’t been able to see the screening yet here in Victoria.

    Having admitted that, I was taken aback that 100% of the speakers (experts, teachers, and the student) are male. This sort of lack of awareness to gender equity is archaic. Film creators and producers who are oblivious to this are not moving us forward, especially when the topic is about education. Come on people – you couldn’t find one solid female teacher to comment on this?!
    Rewatch the trailer with an eye to the lack of female voice or even female student representation. Not acceptable.

    • Hi Becky!

      Great to hear your voice and I am interested in your thoughts now and when you have watched the film. Have you read the book as well?

      To your point, I think you are bang on. The trailer does not represent the diversity we see in our students and learning communities. The whole film does do a better job, but most of the “experts” are white males.

      I am ashamed to admit that when I watched the trailer, I did not pick up on this. Having said this, since watching the film five times, I began to deconstruct many of the “film” elements of the narrative and wondered what was purposeful and what was not. The diversity of HTH is astounding, and yet all the leaders of American capitalism who offer insight are all male. (And for the most part white.) I also have an issue with education being conceptualized as a means to produce workers for the economy. This still seemed to be the purpose of HTH, to an extent.

      I am interested in the fact that my spidey-senses perked up with issues of class and resource distribution, and did not in terms of sex and/or gender. I think you have spurred some self-reflection on my part. For this, I am grateful. I wonder how my white male hegemony manifests itself in my learning communities. Lots to think about.

      I would be interested in the response from the producers after you probe them. Let’s chat soon!

  3. Hey Matt — Thanks for initiating and hosting this discussion. I enjoy the opportunity to be involved in a community of reflective, thoughtful and responsive educators.

    I think that might be the definition of the work we see in the film Most Likely To Succeed (MLTS). A community rallied around the idea that good education in reflective, thoughtful and responsive. To contrast – what may be considered the industrial model is rallied around system thinking, predictability, and standardized output.

    I fear the use of terms like new, progressive or what have you – when considering the model shown in MLTS. I am certain that all through history there have been educators providing similar reflective, thoughtful and responsive learning environments. I don’t think it is necessarily dependent on the project based learning model featured in this film.

    Tony Wagner’s book Change Leadership: A practical guide to transforming our schools, described a school organization that follows a central idea of learning. It operates all meetings from superintendents to teachers following a model that supports learning.

    I think I could distill this idea:
    A community of management begets a system of management.
    A community of learning begets a system of learning.

    MLTS does not really provide a critical look at education policy or practice. It does ask us to be reflective enough to ask “do we get to make what learning looks like?” I commend the producers for offering an idea to engage that reflective conversation.

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