Banning Legos

by Reihan

Two teachers reflect on Legos, power, and hierarchy:

In Legotown, the children had constructed a social system of power where a few people made the important decisions and the rest of the participants did the grunt work much like the system in the trading game. We wanted children to critique the system at work in Legotown, not to critique the children at the top of the Legotown hierarchy. At the same time, we wanted them to see that the Legotown system was created by people, and, as such, could be challenged and reformulated. The children's reaction to the winners of the trading game was a big warning flag for us: We clearly had some repair work to do around relationships.

But that, of course, is the trouble with radical egalitarianism. It is ultimately driven by intense hostility towards "the children at the top of the Legotown hierarchy" rather than a dispassionate critique of "the system at work in Legotown." Challenging and reformulating Legotown means changing which kids are at the top of the Legotown hierarchy. Instead of kids who are good at building things with Legos, it will instead be the kids who please the teachers with their dedication to radical egalitarianism. And so it goes.