“Tebowmania’ and “Linsanity” in the Classroom

15 Feb

Ontario Teachers foster six key learning skills, Responsibility, Organization, Independence, Initiative, Self-Regulation and Collaboration. Students need all these skills to be successful, but none are more important for the 21st century citizen than collaboration. We are increasingly understanding that, effective immediately, we need to work together.

That’s why the Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin stories resonate so deeply. There’s been a lot in the media lately about the paralells between the popular rise of “Tebowmania‘ and “Linsanity“.  As Jason Whitlock points out, these are two very different situations and popular comparisons are misleading. Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, is a white, first round pick from a powerful football program, while Jeremy Lin is an undrafted, Asian-American from Harvard. Lin is an underdog while Tebow only appears to be.

But the two stories feel the same, and that’s because they are, in one key way. Both Tebow and Lin owe their rise to prominence to their ability to collaborate.

Tebow is quite flawed as an NFL quarterback. He isn’t Aaron Rogers or Tom Brady, who can win the game on their own brilliance. He has outstanding physical gifts but can only be successful in the right situation, with the right supporting cast.

Jeremy Lin is an even better example of the power of collaboration. Lin got to play when Carmelo Anthony, one of  the best individual talents in the NBA, got hurt. Lin succeeds because of his ability to work well with his team mates. He can’t win a game on his own, but he puts others in the best situation to win and makes his team-mates better.

This resonates deeply with us, and this signals a growing awareness of the importance of collaboration. In more and more ways, our culture is again celebrating the value of teamwork. In sports, this looks like ‘Linsanity’ over a one-vs-one offence or ‘Tebowmania’ rather than the ego driven Terrel Owens or Chad Ochocinco.

Pointing these examples out to students helps to rebalance the all too pervasive messages of popular culture that’s “it’s all about me”. Jeremy Lin shows the power of collaboration, and is celebrated for it.

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