Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, an ancient Chinese text on military strategy, has been popularized in recent years as a playbook for Wall Street traders and NFL coaches.
The teacher John Hunter, on the other hand, uses Sun Tzu’s treatise to help students understand the connectedness of the global community and develop habits of mind that include collaboration and peaceful conflict resolution. Hunter has developed a geopolitical simulation he calls The World Peace Game, and which he describes in his new book, World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements.
The title is obviously completely counter-intuitive. Are fourth-graders really capable of complex problem solving? In the video below, Hunter tells Big Think that “they seem to be able to do so much more than we give them credit for or even imagine they can.”
Some of the key skills that students need to master include the capacity to identify ambiguity and bias in the information they receive. This core skill we might call negative capability, or the capacity to be comfortable, and even thrive, in uncertainty. This habit of mind is the antithesis of reactive thinking and behavior, which tends to promote, rather than discourage violence.