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About Learning for Real

As a teacher with 28 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the... Read more

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The Island of Judgment and Criticism (VIDEO)

In education today, play and improvisation are often regarded as frivolous, fluff, a waste of time. In reality, they hold the key to learning and understanding the world around us.

By creating an environment and simulating a situation to explore our opera theme of judgment, students bring to life an imaginary world by improvising a scenario. They are completely uninhibited because they are merely playing. What this “play” yields astounds me every time I witness it. From what appears to be total chaos, comes profound revelation.

. . .

The Island of Judgment and Criticism has a river that runs through it. One side of the river is inhabited by compassionate, empathetic beings. On the other side of the river live those who are judgmental and critical.
No one has ever crossed the river . . . until now.

Mary Ruth McGinn

About Mary Ruth McGinn

As a teacher with 28 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the learning experiences and opportunities of students and their families. Fifteen years ago she had an experience that changed her life and altered her professional path in a profound way. She attended training sessions at The Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City, spent nine intense days living the process of creating an original opera and learned how to replicate the experience with her students. She then began creating opera with her students and using the process of creating the opera as a vehicle through which to teach curriculum and life skills. The authentic purpose for learning coupled with the arts provided the perfect stage on which to construct a love for life-long learning. She currently teaches at Stedwick Elementary School in Montgomery Village, Maryland where she is creating another original opera with her third grade students. Read more of Mary Ruth's blog Learning for Real.

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