Take a look at this video of Barack Obama speaking before and audience in Virginia that includes teachers from the Virginia Writing Project. At this event, Senator Obama is asked what role writing has played in his life. He responds by talking the process he went through in writing ( by himself! ) his two memoirs, Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope. He talks about how the writing was a process of self discovery and assessment of his life. He talks about how the writing not only gave him a perspective on his past, but helped redefine him for his future. He explains the value of journal writing and the connection between writing and thinking. Later in the video, he also responds to a question about NCLB, accountability and standardized tests and addresses their negative impact on students who are subjected to mind numbing skill and drill pedagogy in a misguided attempt to improve their skills and close the achievement gap. He ends with a discussion of what it will take to keep teachers in the classroom over time and a plan for meaningful professional development.
I had to watch this several times and pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. This is the first and only time I heard an elected official speak with such intelligence and nuanced understanding about the importance of writing in young people’s lives and the role of teachers as professionals!
I haven’t read his books, but after seeing this video I am downloading both of them to my new Kindle ( a retirement gift from my children!)
What do you think about this video? Have you read his books? I look forward to reading them and sharing my thoughts about them in the coming weeks. Watch below and comment!!!!