Why Must They Be Different?

A couple of days ago, I saw tweets from both Kristi Keery-Bishop and Valerie Bennett, sharing Ed Sheeran’s Sesame Street video.

I love Sesame Street. I grew up with the show, and it’s still one that I often recommend viewing because of its literacy and math connections. Despite its catchy tune and amusing characters, this video has bothered me since I first saw it.

Just last week, I wrote a couple of blog posts questioning some of the rules that we often have at school (post 1 and post 2). Since writing the second post, our class has been working really hard at our “regular talk.” Are we perfect? No. But students are developing self-regulation skills as they learn how to take turns, negotiate talking time, and save ideas that didn’t get shared, for another time. They’re proud of their accomplishments, and I’m proud of them.

Hear Students Talking About Regular Talk

Based on my reflections and experiences over the last couple of weeks, here are the questions that come to mind when I see this Sesame Street video.

  • Why must we live in “two different worlds?”
  • Why must students raise their hands to talk at school?
  • How can students demonstrate self-control at home?
  • What is this video’s underlying message about home and school? Do you agree with this message? Why?
  • Why must we have assigned seating at school?
  • If “learning takes focus,” and that’s why we have more rules at school, then what does that imply about learning at home? How do you feel about this message?
  • If our classroom doesn’t have the same rules as the one in this video, then how is it that my students are still learning? 
  • How do your students feel about these rules? What rules do they think schools need and why?

I teach my students to be critical thinkers. I try to also always think critically. My answers to many of these questions make me wonder if this Sesame Street video needs a new message. Maybe these rules aren’t necessary for everyone. Maybe they aren’t needed all the time. Maybe a different message about school would also help change some students’ perceptions of it. What do you think? We don’t all have to think the same way about these rules, but no matter what we think, I think there’s value in talking about them. To all stakeholders in education: let’s talk!


2 thoughts on “Why Must They Be Different?

  1. My parody response!
    “I live in the same world.
    Like lots of other kids my age
    transgender or straight, doesn’t matter anyway
    I have a world with my family
    that’s shared at school where I learn all I can be
    Why does the media still think?
    That the education system promotes
    that traditional way of learning.
    because at home I can speak whenever I please
    I can talk real loud and shoot the breeze
    In school I can be whoever I want.
    I respect my classmates and learn in many ways
    Raising my hand is appropriate but sometimes
    I shout when I don’t even know the answer.
    I learn in similar ways. But everyone is a bit

    At ho-o-o-o-ome we go
    At scho-o-o-o-ol we go
    At ho-o-o-o-ome we go
    At scho-o-o-o-ol we go
    I live in two similar worlds
    I live in two similar worlds”

    I make parodies in my head all the time!

    • Thanks for your comment! I like your use of a parody here, and I’d love to see one written and performed to reflect the school environment that we know is (or can be) a reality. I know you’re in Writer’s Craft right now. I wonder if this could be one of your assignments. There’s certainly a lot of word choice and voice that needs to go into a parody.

      While you and others on Twitter are shaking their head saying that the media representation of school is wrong, I have to ask: is it? Many elementary classes that I’ve seen have students raise hands, sit in assigned spots, and always use quiet voices to communicate. I know this too because I’ve taught classes like this — right into this year. I’d be curious to know what different teachers think after watching this video. Maybe there’s another side to this video that we’re missing. I’m just wondering if the “media has it wrong,” or if schools are just starting to change. Maybe play-based learning in Kindergarten and inquiry in other grades will lead to a new version of this song, and a new reality of school. Thoughts?

      Miss Dunsiger

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