The first one lasted 4 days, the latter only 4 hours. I presented at the AP Conference, but was an active audience member at the State Department. One had very tight security. The other, well, somewhat tight. You can guess which was which.
What was the most compelling was the focus of each event. The AP conference was largely about how to prepare students to do better for the AP exams. The Global Teaching dialogue was more about preparing students for the realities of today and the future. This was summed up in two statements by teachers at their respective events.
The first, a HS math teacher at the Global Teaching Dialogue, while sharing his students experiences with collaborating with a class in another nation stated (to all of our surprise) that providing his students with the global exchange was more important than the math concept he was teaching. Whaaaattt!?!?
The second was at the AP conference. When I shared the free, international video conferencing tool Generation Global to the AP US History teachers, no one had heard of it. But the comment that came after is more of a contrast, “I will try this with my non-AP students.”
1. Bill, tell us about how you got interested and involved in global education.
My interest in global education is lifelong. My father was a college professor and my mother taught grade school before becoming an editor in language-arts publishing. During many summers when I was growing up in Massachusetts, my family enjoyed hosting exchange students from all over the world. Those experiences motivated me to study and work abroad. After graduating college, I spent two years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, assigned to a Japanese high school as an assistant language teacher of English. It was wonderful to teach those kids and and an opportunity that led me to graduate school, a career in journalism as a Tokyo-based foreign correspondent for over a decade, and now back in the United States leading the World Affairs Councils of America.
2. Why is it important for students to learn about globalization these days?
There are so many reasons why it is important for students to be well-versed in international studies, world cultures, and civics. We are living in an era where the movement of people, goods and services, and ideas within and across borders is faster and more consequential than ever. Political and social change is rapid and disruptive, hastened also by technological developments. While standards of living have improved for much of the world’s growing population, there are still hundreds of millions who live in poverty. Climate change, conflict, and other challenges facing democracies could deepen emerging economic divides and worsen living conditions for many. And every young citizen should be aware of the competition for jobs in the global marketplace and what the future of work looks like.
3.What should educators know about the World Affairs Councils?
The World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) is an umbrella organization made up of more than 90 nonprofit, nonpartisan affiliates, from Maine to Hawaii and from Alaska to Florida. The broad mission of World Affairs Councils at the local level is to convene inclusive public forums and provide access to leaders and experts with whom members of the community can engage in discussions about U.S. foreign policy and critical global issues. Teachers and students are welcome to attend Council events.
Some Councils also offer specialized programs for teachers and students, and program staff should be contacted directly. WACA and some 50 of our World Affairs Councils also pride ourselves on our Academic WorldQuest program for high school students. Academic WorldQuest is an exciting team-based knowledge competition that involves about 5,000 students annually. I encourage teachers, parents, and students to learn more about AWQ on our website. For those who are interested but are not able to locate a Council in their area, please contact the WACA national office.
4. Can you tell us about some success stories of teachers and schools benefiting from WAC programs.
In addition to Academic WorldQuest, whose popularity has soared since its launch 16 years ago, the Great Decisions program of the Foreign Policy Association (New York) has engaged high school and university students for several decades. WACA enjoys a partnership with the United States Institute of Peace that includes USIP’s sponsorship support of Academic WorldQuest and WACA’s promotion of USIP’s Peace Day Challenge and outreach to Councils for International Peace Day activities. WACA for several years offered “Spotlight on Turkey,” a program for teachers that was funded by the Turkish Cultural Foundation. This program included a study tour component during the summer, but unfortunately the domestic situation in Turkey caused the program to be suspended.
San Francisco-based World Affairs offers a half dozen education programs – summer study abroad, policy simulation, meet-the-speaker, international career night, and summer institutes – that are designed to develop young people into “global citizens.” Last but not least, the WACA National Board provides scholarships to promising undergraduates for attending WACA’s annual three-day National Conference in Washington, DC.
5. What is on the horizon for WACA?
I like that word. WACA has just launched the New Horizons fundraising campaign, which includes an endowment fund for Academic WorldQuest. This campaign aims to raise more than $3 million so that WACA will have the resources to sustain and grow our flagship programs as well as increase the national office’s capacity to serve and strengthen local Councils.
The popularity of this program has led us to launch an additional conference call series this year called “Know Now,” featuring local, national, and international thought leaders. Our conference calls are recorded and converted to podcasts. Later this month, WACA will unveil a redesigned website, and we are amplifying our presence online by stepping up our social media activities.
6. How can someone get involved with World Affairs Councils?
There are many ways to get involved: Attend the events of local Councils and participate in WACA’s national programs; explore internships and job opportunity listings; financially support the Council network by sponsoring programs or making a donation; volunteer your time to assist with Council projects or office work; and be sure to subscribe to local Council and WACA national newsletters to read the latest news about our efforts to bring the world to you.
7. Any final thoughts you want to share?
We live in the Information Age, but many people struggle to understand what’s going on – in their local communities or in the global community. Several factors explain this – the sheer volume of information that comes at people across many platforms, the polarization of the news media, propaganda from governments, and a variety of challenges in our schools at every level. World Affairs Councils can’t solve all those problems, but we can play our part: We can encourage people to become active citizens who care about conducting civil conversations, who care about learning throughout their lives, and who care to take the time to participate in high-quality programs that will help them make new connections and better decisions with globally-minded people.
Thank you Bill. I look forward to another school year working and learning together.
Anyway, with all the summer fun going on, it is easy to get distracted from devoting time to developing our craft and repertoire. I always told students to use the summer to renew, relax, and discover something new. The same goes for educators.
To support your summer professional learning endeavors I have listed 14 resources to explore. Like a sonnet, which is 14 lines, exploring these items will connect your eyes and heart. Hmmmm. Shakespeare wrote it better in sonnet 47.
Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took, And each doth good turns now unto the other: When that mine eye is famish’d for a look, Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother, With my love’s picture then my eye doth feast, And to the painted banquet bids my heart; Another time mine eye is my heart’s guest, And in his thoughts of love doth share a part: So, either by thy picture or my love, Thy self away, art present still with me; For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move, And I am still with them, and they with thee; Or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight Awakes my heart, to heart’s and eyes’ delight.
So, get a pitcher of sangria, or a milk shake, or whatever you fancy and have a wonderful time exploring.
Until next time – enjoy!
Things to Explore
Participate – Twitter Chat IndexThank you Participate! I have hosted and participated in Twitter Chats. But I never knew there were so many options. This index is incredible (see sample of topics in the image). Please explore and share this with your colleagues. And if you don’t have an account, get one. By the way, there is a “Global” category!
Virtual Field Trips PART 1 -Discovery Education:Take your students beyond the classroom walls and into some of the world’s most iconic locations for rich and immersive learning experiences — no permission slips required. Tour the National Archives, see how an egg farm works, explore NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, or hear from the President of the United States. Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips are fun, educational, and free!
ED Camp : I have been to one Edcamp and loved it. The website has the listings of events in the US and beyond. They say it best “Energy, enthusiasm, and collaboration! Everyone at Edcamp is there to ask questions, share passions, and learn from each other. No one is required to be there; they make a decision that they want to learn and grow, and so they come!”
Virtual Field Trips PART 2- Google Earth VR:Explore the world from totally new perspectives. Stroll the streets of Tokyo, soar over Yosemite, or teleport across the globe. Google Earth VR puts the whole world within your reach.
Free Images –Pixabay is a recent find for me. It is awesome. In sum, there is over 1 million images of all types for you to use… free of copyright. Images are worth … well you know.
Podcast – The 10 Minute Teacher: Vicki Davis covers a lot of ground across disciplines in her outstanding podcast series. With over 100 episodes, and much more on her website, you are bound to find something that will improve your craft and want to share with your colleagues.
Open Culture: This is an amazing resource. “Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it.”
Things to Read
Digital Promise – I will always remember a professor if mine saying that education is more of a D and R field not an R and D profession. In short, educators don’t wait for research before they implement the next best thing. The result include the continuation of Edu-Myths. Enter Digital Promise and their new feature called “Ask a Researcher.”WOW! “Ask a Researcher makes it easy for educators to get trusted, research-based answers to questions about real education challenges…(and) can provide the first steps for using research to improve student learning.”
Book – No More Telling as Teaching:Cris Tovani has been working with Fairfax schools this past year. Her consulting work has pushed the discussion and action around literacy in a positive direction. I am already into her new book linked above. The crux of this book challenges the power of lecturing as an instructional strategy … “when we rely on lecture in an effort to cover content, we’re doing students a disservice. Although lecture can be engaging and even useful, lecture alone cannot give kids real opportunities to learn, retain, and transfer the disciplinary ideas, skills, and practices we’re trying to teach.” If you work with schools or teach, this is a must read.
Mapping the UN SDG: The International Cartographic Association have mapped each of the goals from their particular perspective. The available poster collection gives an overview of the strength of cartography. It is telling the story of cartographic diversity, of mapping options and of multiple map perspectives. The link above has free posters you can download.
Blog – Choice Schools:I met Ally Henderson and Kelly Cummings at a recent conference in Washington D.C. Their education blog has a focus on the Charter School world but the topics of their blog – teacher leadership, technology, relationships – are relevant to all K-12 schools.
Article -How Education Reduces “Othering”– I have been waiting for this one! The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change shares some remarkable research on the impact of Videoconferencing with students. “Designed to expose them to other cultures, break down stereotypes and build tolerance and cohesion, it puts children from different cultures directly in touch, allowing them to communicate through videoconferencing and online dialogue. The children discover what they have in common, learn to successfully navigate difference, and realize that stereotypes about different cultures are not true.The study found it made young people less susceptible to extremist views, and opened their minds to other cultures and ways of life.”
Blog – Language and Linguistics: This is a new blog on the scene created by a former professor of mine Dr. Jilani Warsi. I look forward to what comes from this resource. The blog’s vision is to link ” L2 acquisition theory to pedagogical practice can discuss intervention techniques that can potentially increase the chances for adult students to acquire native-like proficiency in their target language, and offer guidance for second language teachers to incorporate such techniques into their own teaching.”
“The perversity of racism is not inherent in the nature of human beings. We are not racist; we become racist just as we may stop being that way.” – Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Heart, 1997
This past year I found myself thinking differently about my identity. The change would occur whenever I was completing the “race” category/prompt you find on official forms. You know what I am referring to (check out the image to the right). Additionally, my school system began to provide cultural competence training that framed diversity largely in racial terms but without addressing what race is. This seemed to be a significant disconnect. How can you talk about something without defining or explaining it?
Combined, these two factors started a distinct change in my behavior from what had been the norm for over 3 decades. Instead of checking “White” on these forms, I began selecting “I do not wish to provide this information” or an option with similar wording. I must admit, however, that this action is contingent on an important variable – whether or not the document had defined their categories of race (see below). Defining terms/concepts is indeed an important if we want to engage with them effectively and with depth. In this case it is especially significant as race is a “hot button” topic and not an objective category across this planet.
Rather, how we conceive of race is informed in part by history, societal factors, and context. For example, look at samples from these early 21st century census surveys.
What is going on in each of these and why can’t they all have the same items?
Also, our own understanding about race is informed by our personal learning network and how race is taught in schools. To explore the topic of teaching about race I propose this key question, “Is there genetic/biological evidence for the argument that there are multiple races of humans?” With that let’s take a look at some ideas, resources, and suggested follow up questions you can use with your community.
Race is not a Myth
People who claim that race is a myth must explain themselves a bit further. Social constructs are real in that they impact people’s actions and beliefs as well as government’s policies and practices. For example, the fluidity of race as a construct and political/economic/social category has existed in the US since the late 18th century. “Every U.S. census since the first one in 1790 has included questions about racial identity, reflecting the central role of race in American history from the era of slavery to current headlines about racial profiling and inequality. But the ways in which race is asked about and classified have changed from census to census, as the politics and science of race have fluctuated. And efforts to measure the multiracial population are still evolving.” Indeed, the 2020 census may offer “more examples of the origins that fall under each racial/ethnic category… That census will also drop the word “Negro” from what had been the “Black, African American, or Negro” response option.”
Like culture, and gender, and ethnicity, how we conceive of race can yield an all too real set of pre-conceived notions and beliefs that are seen as “natural” or scientific. These packaged sets of qualities become static, essentialized, and expected traits about a group. This process of “othering” reduces a group’s range of variety to an oversimplified point on a spectrum. Checkout how the recent film Get Out conveyed this psycho-anthropological phenomenon.
John Willinsky’s fantastic work Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire’s Endnarrates the impact empires had on the racial social constructs that persist. The imperial experiments produced a classification designed to order humans in a hierarchy of development. The European Enlightenment’s drive to categorize the world manifested a science of race that “offered the most monstrous of imperialism’s lessons… the scientific constitution of races in the West brought greater force and significance of difference to the naming of the other. It further ordered European interests in dividing the world to its advantage.”
Human zoos brought this continuum to life in the 19th, and 20th centuries at the Worlds Fair and similar regional exhibitions in London, Paris, Milan, and New York and beyond. In their most “instructive” role, human zoos would present various groups on a trajectory ranging from primitive/savage to advanced/civilized.
Dissenting voices about the taxonomy of race were rare. However, in 1791 Johann Gottfeid von Herder wrote “There are neither four or five races. All mankind are only one.” (emphasis is Herder’s). Over 150 years later after the killing of World War II, UNESCO’s 1951 statement on race is explicit: “Scientists have reached the general agreement in recognizing that mankind is one: that all men belong to the same species, Homo Sapiens.”
But I wonder how many people would currently agree with or know about this statement? What is informing their concept of race? Shouldn’t race be taught using the consensus of contemporary scientific communities?
The opportunity to inform and provide people with a useful base and conceptual framework is a necessary and powerful tool. As Freire notes (in the opening quote) humans can change. Education can facilitate that change.
The student will apply social science skills to understand how the nation grew and changed from the end of Reconstruction through the early twentieth century by d) analyzing the impact of prejudice and discrimination, including “Jim Crow” laws, the responses of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, and the practice of eugenics in Virginia
(We believe similar gaps of intentional usage for race exist in IB and AP equivalent classes. But a more exhaustive effort will be needed to confirm this lack of intentionality).
So, where is one to find tools, information, and resources that can be used with students and colleagues to teach about race? As a start, I have included some influential documentaries and journal articles below. I do hope these items spark further inquiry and inspiration. Please, keep me posted of what you find.
13th – Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. (2016).
The Chinese Exclusion Act – A new film by Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu and scheduled to appear on PBS American Experience in 2017.
LA 92 – A look at the events that led up to the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles following the Rodney King beating by the police. (2017)
Shoah – Claude Lanzmann’s epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses – perpetrators as well as survivors. (1985)
The UN SDGs
The UN goals provide so much educational value. They are, in essence, a 21st century curriculum. Unbridled by disciplines, the UN SDGs are accessible by all fields of study and celebrates relevance where some educators, parents, and students offer limited expressions for the “Why?” of education.
Over century ago in 1900 in London at the Pan-African Convention, W.E.B. Du Bois gave a closing statement titled “To the Nations of the World” . Du Bois states that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, the question of how far differences of race-which show themselves chiefly in the color of skin and the texture of the hair-will hereafter be made the basis of denying to over half the world the right of sharing to their utmost ability the opportunities and privileges of modern civilization.” The problem clearly continues in the 21st century in varying forms – structures of power, ignorance, hate, identity politics etc. Thankfully race has not gone unnoticed on the global stage.
Goal 10 of the UN SDGs addresses race as a list of categories that as Du Bois noted, deny “the opportunities and privileges of modern civilization.” Taken on its own, or in conjunction with other SDG, Goal 10 demands that race be part of the learning experiences we provide for students and part of the discussions we have in order to take action.
Goal 10 calls for reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status within a country. The Goal also addresses inequalities among countries, including those related to representation, migration and development assistance.
For the UN SDG to be a relevant part of students’ learning, connections to the topic must be explicit and intentional. Moreover, the UN SDGs lend themselves to grade level through the project based learning, inquiry, blended learning, and problem based learning models. Checkout the video below for a summary of goal 10.
Your Action Items – Ask these Questions
I feel that this blog post is, sadly, timely. These past few days I came across two stories that involved racially motivated attacks and killings. Maybe a better way to put it is that the assaults were motivated by ignorance. One significant aspect of each story is how “race” is framed.
Please know that I am not stating that education is the solution to all problems. But, I do believe that how we teach something is significant. Currently, we seem to discredit race as concept necessary for students to understand both scientifically and socially.
By not explicitly teaching about race as a flawed and limited social construct that has no scientific backing, then we are not even trying to address the limited understanding and world views that exist. This can, at worst, lead to violent behavior and dismiss the topic to another generation to content with – see Du Bois above.
To close, I offer these questions for you to consider as a way to start talking and teaching about race in the 21st century in your community. Doing so may lead to some of the most significant conclusions and “a-ha” moments your students and colleagues will have both now and in the future.
To what extent and in what ways do your local, state, or programmatic curriculum/standards address race?
If your school provides professional learning on inter-cultural competency or diversity training, how do they present race?
How does your community (students, colleagues, parents, administration, school board) think and act regarding topics related to race?
When and how do students have the opportunity to learn about and engage with race?
What perspectives and resources inform you and your community about race?
To what extent is race a taboo topic in your school?
In interviews, can the people you hire explain their understanding of concepts like – gender, ethnicity, class, and race?
Last month I attended and presented with my colleague Deanne Moore at the 2017 Teacher for Global Classroom Symposium hosted by IREX and the US State Department. The TGC program is an outstanding professional growth opportunity for educators. The program overview and application for the next cohort (deadline in March 20th) can be found here.
This years TGC cohort created videos that address the Why, How, and What of global education. Simply put, they are outstanding. I encourage you to review them here and utilize some as you develop and evolve your global education program at your schools. As a teaser, I have included two below…
Ok, I hope you are inspired, enlightened, and curious about the resources below. The symposium is an opportunity to explore resources, showcase projects, plan global citizenship projects, and build your network. I am happy to share those below and hope you pass them along to your network and share this post on twitter etc. All the titles are hyperlinked!
Mapping the Nation: Mapping the Nation is an interactive map that pulls together demographic, economic, and education indicators—nearly one million data points—to show that the United States is a truly global nation.
World Savvy: World Savvy partners with educators, schools, and districts to integrate global competence teaching and learning into classrooms for all K-12 students. We do this by providing a range of high-quality, specifically targeted programs and services.
Peace Corps – World Wise Schools: Established in 1989, the Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools program is dedicated to promoting global learning through lesson plans, activities, and events—all based on Peace Corps Volunteer experiences.
Taking it Global: TakingITGlobal empowers youth to understand and act on the world’s greatest challenges.
One World Education: One World Education’s mission is to build the knowledge and skills students need to confront the cultural and global issues of today and prepare for the college and career opportunities of tomorrow.
Primary Source: 28-year-old nonprofit organization that works to advance global education in schools. We believe in the power of understanding the world from diverse perspectives and a future in which all individuals are informed and contributing global citizens.
iEARN: iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide.
Level Up Village: Our mission is to globalize the classroom and facilitate seamless collaboration between students from around the world via pioneering Global STEAM (STEM + Arts) enrichment courses.
Pulitzer Center Global Gateway: The program provides digital educational resources and tools such as our free Lesson Builder, and also brings journalists to classrooms across the country to introduce critical under-reported global issues to students.
Generation Global: With Generation Global, teachers can transport their classes across the world in a single afternoon. Online and through video conferences, students interact directly with their peers around the world, engaging in dialogue around issues of culture, identity, beliefs, values, and attitudes.
Global Concerns Classroom: an innovative global education program that seeks to raise awareness of current international humanitarian issues in U.S. youth and to empower them to take meaningful action. Through dynamic resources, student engagement programs, and professional development for educators, GCC prepares youth to gain the knowledge and skills needed to be globally competent for the 21st century.
Library of Congress – World Digital Library: A project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world.The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.
Facing History and Ourselves: Our mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.
Transatlantic Outreach Program: Promotes education about Germany, fosters intercultural dialogue, and provides the opportunity for North American social studies educators, STEM educators, and decision makers to experience Germany.
US Institute of Peace – Global Peacebuilding Center: Works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. USIP does this by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace.
Reach the World: Reach the World transforms the energy of travelers into a learning resource for K-12 classrooms. Our programs use the web, messaging and video conferencing to connect youth with travelers in one-on-one global, digital exchanges.
The NEA Foundation: A public charity supported by contributions from educators’ dues, corporate sponsors, foundations, and others who support public education initiatives.
NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative: Building pathways between NASA’s Earth-related STEM assets to large, diverse audiences in order to enhance STEM teaching, learning and opportunities for learners throughout their lifetimes. These STEM assets include subject matter experts (scientists, engineers, and education specialists), science and engineering content, and authentic participatory and experiential opportunities.
U.S. History in a Global Context: The resources we have assembled are designed to inspire your creativity and develop your thought leadership as an advocate for this approach to teaching U.S.History.
And a bonus treat. Congratulations to this years winner of the Global Teacher Prize, Maggie MacDonnell . This prestigious prize is offered by the Varkey Foundation and the winner receives $1 million. Full article is here and watch the video on Ms. MacDonnell below.
History is the construction of our understanding of the past. Taking part in that process is an existential exercise which, in turn, influences our contemporary world view. These three quotes remind me about the importance and power of narrative creation and its subsequent relationship to collective and individual identity.
“It seems evident, then, that skill in narrative construction and narrative understanding is crucial to constructing our lives and a “place” for ourselves in the possible world we will encounter.” – Jerome Bruner
”Over time and cultures, the most robust and most effective form of communication is the creation of a powerful narrative.” – Howard Gardner
Moreover, the recognition, creation, and analysis of historical narratives are essential activities for students in history classes in high school and higher education. What resources teachers use with students, as well as the explicit connection to broad concepts and contemporary realities all make for relevant and valuable teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of meeting professor Trevor Getz at a recent AHA planning meeting for the 2018 Conference being held in Washington D.C. Our interview highlights his work with students and the use of graphic novels to develop their historical thinking. Trevor can be reached at either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
1- Tell us about your journey to becoming a historian and your interest in studying Africa. I learned to love history sitting on my grandpa’s knee while he told stories of “the war.” I was the only grand kid who
Professor of History Trevor Getz, poses in front of scenes from his scholarly graphic novel “Abina and the Important Men.” Getz recently created a company called Ebuukuu.com to apply this graphic model to other areas of study. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
wanted to listen. I loved touching his medals, and watching as he drew pictures of fortifications, and looking through his black-and-white photo albums. I thought I wanted to be a military historian, but then as an undergraduate at Berkeley I learned to love political history, and doing my MA in Cape Town came to appreciate social history, and finally began my transition to cultural history during my PhD research at the School of Oriental and African Studies. In the process, I became immersed in the history of Africa. My first real mentor was Chris Saunders, at the University of Cape Town, who tamed my rambunctious American-ness with his precise and calm Anglo ways. Then with the larger-than-life and wonderfully inspiring professor, Richard Rathbone – truly a spectacular mentor and a fixture in the study of Ghana’s past.
2- When did graphic novels come into the mix and how have they impacted your teaching?
My dissertation (and subsequent first book) was very much a social history – putting together many different sources in an attempt to converge them on an explanation for social change in the wake of the criminalization of slavery in nineteenth century Ghana and Senegal. But in the years that followed, I learned to dig deep into single sources, figuring out how to pull apart one document or picture or diary account and explain what it meant. Most of the sources I was working with, it turned out, featured young people – enslaved or otherwise suffering, but frequently strong and inspiring nevertheless. I wanted to bring their stories, their accounts, and their worldviews to the public. I was searching, for much of the 2000s, for a medium that would allow me to do that. I had to dig back into my own past to find one. Of course, not everyone could have a Grampa like mine to inspire them to study the past, and these stories in any case didn’t lend themselves to grandparently memory. But the other “history” inspiration of my youth was the comic book – including Franco-Belgian works like Tintinbut also Art Spiegelman’s incredible Maus. So, I thought I’d experiment with comics (or the “graphic novel”) as a medium for telling the story of a young, enslaved woman who forced the government of a Crown Colony to listen to her. Thanks in part to an incredible editor (Charles Cavaliere at Oxford UP) and wonderful artist-collaborator (Liz Clarke in South Africa) it somehow worked out, and Abina and the Important Men came into being. Now we’ve developed a multi-platform app as well, for the high school classroom. Any teacher interested in trying out the app should email me.
This is a book about NOW, because it’s a book about power. It’s about the power that important men use to subjugate others, like Abina Mansah, who was twice enslaved and then censored and silenced. It’s about the power that even seemingly defenseless people have to make their voice heard, as Abina did in that colonial courtroom. It’s about the power that historians have (and sometimes abuse) to tell people’s stories in a way that appeals to them, and the power that we all have to challenge and correct historians’ interpretations. Power is part of any society, but we don’t have to accept the way it operates, just as Abina refused to accept attempts to silence her.
4- I argue that one of the best skills people develop from studying history is that they learn how to analyze and evaluate narratives. What do you think are some practical skills students develop by studying the past?
Historians, I firmly believe, are interpreters. The past is a foreign country, and we try to help people in the present to understand what is said and done there, and what it means. Learning to analyze and evaluate not only primary sources but also the work of scholars is a key step in developing a critical mind and media literacy. I talk about this quite a bit in a brief video put together at SF State. I love working with teachers who develop critical tools for this kind of work as well. I especially appreciate the incredible mock trial and role playing exercises that David Sherrin from Harvest Collegiate put together to help students analyze and interpret Abina’s testimony.
5- Great. And what about the relating the study of the past to understand globalization? Any major connections?
Everything is global, right? Just like everything is local. We are much richer today for understanding the ways in which even the deep past was shaped by interaction between people, products, species, and ideas moving between societies often separated by vast distances. What we’ve learned is that in analyzing any situation in the present, we have to develop a scope that includes factors both near and far as well as from the recent and distant past. But how can we move from knowing that this need exists to actually effectively conducting analysis of global as well as local factors? That’s a difficult question, and one on which many historians are working. Obviously, we can’t answer it here. But I do have one thought that has become clear to me over the past several years: there’s no point in teaching content without teaching the underlying skills to work with and interpret it. Telling students that the global past matters doesn’t do anything unless they know how to read or view sources and pull from them the evidence of global interaction.
6- What’s on the horizon for you and any final comments?
I’m working on so many projects! I have a book on teaching African history about to come out with Duke University Press, a volume I’m co-editing with Rebecca Shumway on slavery and its legacy in Ghana and the Diaspora, and a pet long-term project using comics, other forms of art, oral tradition, and pop-up museums to understand how Ghanaians study their own past. But I’m also teaching, and being an administrator. Most of all, though, I continue to try to think of interesting strategies to engage students with the past in ways that help them to build critical and creative skills they will need for their lives moving forward.
Thank you Trevor. I look forward to future scholarship and collaboration, and wish you a great 2017!
Happy New Year! What kind of private Idaho will you construct for yourself in 2017?
How about for your students? How global will your instruction and their experiences be? Will their world views be challenged and expanded? Will your class be recognized as relevant and prepare them for the future?
Also, I just came across this landmark report about Global Education from UNESCO in 1990, Learning: The Treasure Within. Wow. Be sure to digest and internalize this 20th century vision as it still needs to be realized!
Education should be about students constructing knowledge to build their own personal view of the world, yet we rarely let them know that.. Constructing knowledge is about exploring new thoughts and opinions. So next time students ask the simple question, “What do I need to know?” teachers should frame the experience of education as an exercise in constructivism. Doing so empowers students to be active learners and dynamic thinkers, not just consumers of information.
2. Global Education Conference 2016
Let’s start with this quote from Kofi Anan “I am often asked what can people do to become a good global citizen? I reply that it begins in your own community.”
We are multiple weeks removed from another fantastic Global Education Conference – huge amounts of gratitude to Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon. With the start of the new year it is easy for your interest in global education to take a back seat. One way to keep your interest alive and well and inspired is to review the global education resources and tools of the conference. Moreover, attempt to make at least one change with students, colleagues, and for your own growth. Enjoy!
If you like what you see, tweet it out to #globaled and keep me posted @CraigPerrier
3. EdChange Global Classrooms 2017
The Global Ed Conference is behind us, but on deck is an amazing event – EdChange Glo
bal Classrooms 2017! Running from Feb 28th – March 1st The registration page for #ECGC17 can be found here.
The classroom event will take place in Qiqo Chat and login information will be sent out during the month of February to all those registered. All sessions will be located in one place and each will include collaborative notes and a video chat with up to 200 participants.
Is your class doing amazing things? Share and collaborate with classrooms all over the world at #ECGC17 and sign up to facilitate! We would also love to have more student led sessions.
Context matters. Information matters. Sources matter. Interpretation matters. Comparative approaches to learning expand the US frame beyond the arbitrary boundaries of nation-hood. In other words, framing US events, people, ideas etc. in relation to a non-US equivalent provides students with a relational and relevant experience. Dive in and analyze.
Global Terrorism Index: This is the fourth edition of the Global Terrorism Index which provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 16 years, covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015
2016 Index of Economic Freedom For over twenty years the Index has delivered thoughtful analysis in a clear, friendly, and straight-forward format. With new resources for users and a website tailored for research and education, the Index of Economic Freedom is poised to help readers track over two decades of the advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity and promote these ideas in their homes, schools, and communities
2015 Corruption Index From villages in rural India to the corridors of power in Brussels, Transparency International gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption. We work together with governments, businesses and citizens to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. As a global movement with one vision, we want a world free of corruption. Through chapters in more than 100 countries and an international secretariat in Berlin, we are leading the fight against corruption to turn this vision into reality.
Reporters Without Borders: 2016 World Press Freedom Index Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the world’s biggest NGO specializing in the defence of media freedom, which we regard as the basic human right to be informed and to inform others. At the turn of the 21st century, nearly half of the world population still lacks access to free information
Freedom in the 50 States We score all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. We weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims.
World Values Survey is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life, led by an international team of scholars, with the WVS association and secretariat headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. The survey, which started in 1981, seeks to use the most rigorous, high-quality research designs in each country. The WVS consists of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries which contain almost 90 percent of the world’s population, using a common questionnaire.
5. Teaching Resources
What blog post would not be complete without a good resource potpourri? I hope you add these to your repertoire and share them with you network. Have fun!
100 Leaders in World History Fantastic collection of resources that provide a way for teachers, students, parents, and community members to engage in thoughtful discussions. By studying the leaders of the past, we learn about people whose strength and determination teach us about leadership and commitment.
MACAT Videos on You Tube provide concise overview of the most important books and papers in 14 humanities and social sciences subjects. A powerful resource for students, teachers and lifelong learners everywhere, our analyses do much more than just summarize seminal texts.
Newsela is really incredible! Newsela is the best way for students to master nonfiction in any subject.By combining real-time assessments with leveled content from premier daily news sources and eminent nonfiction publishers, Newsela makes reading to learn relevant, interesting, and effective regardless of interest or ability about a range of topics from around the world.
LizardPoint Simple, fairly clean, and pretty fun. Create an account and try your skills at the quizzes on Geography and World Leaders. Go get ’em.
US History in a Global Context: a dynamic resource that addresses the scarcity of professional development programs dedicated this approach. Additionally, the resources we have assembled are designed to inspire your creativity and develop your thought leadership as an advocate for this approach to teaching U.S.History.
Across the United States the new school year has commenced. To kick off SY 16-17 I want to share some thoughts & resources that impacted, or reinforced, my views on education this summer. Specifically, this post emphasizes the need for building student understanding of and ability to succeed in a globalized world. How teachers design learning experiences for students (the combination of resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes) is indicative of a teacher’s vision and understanding of the purpose of education.
As you explore the post and resources below, keep in mind 3 common aspects of the type of education I am highlighting:
Content/Course work is always framed or connected to contemporary issues or present circumstances.
The teacher is a facilitator of learning and supports student inquiry and development of skills and
Students are expected to take action or produce information for public interaction and/or for the development of their own world view. In short, assessments go beyond just the teacher’s eyes.
Ok, my point of entry for this topic is a very simple yet powerful reflective prompt. In the last few months, this
question has repeatedly popped up in various media and manifested in conversations I had with people from a range of professional backgrounds. Drum roll…
That question is: Are you teaching for tomorrow?
Despite being simple, this question generates complex and stimulating responses. Moreover, it can very well be the cornerstone of your personal educational philosophy, a guiding principle for a team/department, or, starting point to develop an instructional/assessment model. In other words, if an adult walked into a classroom, would they feel like they time traveled to their high school experience of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s etc? This would imply t hat students are being taught for 20th century goals with 20th century methods and beliefs. If so, that is an an eyebrow raiser indeed.
The most compelling way to teach for tomorrow is to utilize practices that address global citizenship – a combination of knowledge, skills, and dispositions whose goal focuses on students’ futures – not to replicate the educational experiences their teacher had. (On a side note it is imperative to prepare teachers to be globally competent in pre-service programs and to continue that training with continuing development opportunities. However, this is for a future post but a teaser is provided below with the collaborative tool, Padlet).
Ok, watch this inspiring Ted Talk about Global Citizenship/Education which includes the practice being done in urban centers and with elementary students.
What a great video… multiple main themes are expressed with applications. Moreover, the sentiment about teaching for tomorrow is framed in practical contexts. Mary Hayden puts it this way:
Even for those school-age students today who will never in adulthood leave their native shores, the future is certain to be so heavily influenced by international developments and their lives within national boundaries so affected by factors emanating from outside those boundaries that they will be hugely disadvantaged by an education that has not raised their awareness of, sensitivity to and facility with issues arising from beyond a national “home” context.
By the way, if this statement doesn’t impact, reinforce, change, or inspire the way you teach or develop your own practice please let me know. We need to talk.
So, What Can Teaching For the Future Look Like?
I mentioned above 4 inroads for teachers to make a global turn for teaching and learning- resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes. The suggestions below address each of these inroads (they are not mutually exclusive). Utilizing any of them with your classes explicitly and intentionally teaches for tomorrow. Content knowledge, skills, and students’ world views are developed from a stance that is forward looking and applicable beyond classroom walls. Additionally, globalization (and all its systems, issues, possibilities etc.) – not nationalism, not a test, not industrialization -moves to the center of your students’ classroom experiences.
Here are some tools and suggestions to consider and follow up on. The bold orange headings are the topics/practices that embraces global education and citizenship. Below them are links to online tools and resources related to the headings in orange. These are only a start…
The UN Sustainable Development Goals – These 17 goals really need to be on your radar. The new SDG are perfect for Project Based Learning, Inquiry, Performance Based Assessments, and Taking Informed Action. The SDG are a newer space so you will be creating and adding to the landscape of global education using the SDGs.
Consumerism/Globalization– To what extent do national economies exist in a globalized world? These tools highlight the web of global capitalism. Big time world view developer… reminds me of Hannah Arendt and the banality of (consumer) evil.
So, to finish this post, but not this topic, I want share one more video that addresses the importance of global citizenship and effectively discredits the claim that global citizenship is impossible because of its reliance on nationhood. To those individuals I refer them to the realities of stateless refugees and to the team of refugees who competed in the Rio Olympics.
Enjoy exploring the suggested readings and the Padlet comments below. Lastly, Teach for Tomorrow! Your students and the world will be grateful.
I am a big fan of recognizing the great things teachers do. During my first year as an instructional specialist this sentiment spontaneously formed in my mind one day into this saying, “It is easy to support what you love and what you believe in.” Wow! It felt… right. Perfect. That idea quickly morphed into action. I sought out ways I could celebrate teachers who are doing new, innovative, and great things in their classroom. Moreover, I felt/knew it was
important that teachers were aware people were grateful for their ideas and actions.
I call this “celebratitude” (yes, a simple combination of celebrate and gratitude). In fact, although not formerly defined in my job description, this implied duty it is one of my favorite parts of my position – because I choose it to be. I am convinced that spreading the word about what students are learning, producing and achieving is necessary for a healthy educational culture and community. These narratives guide public perception about educators and the next generation of adult citizens towards the positive, heart lifting, and amazing realities that come from an effective and inspiring teacher.
Don’t Be Humble – Your Students Deserve to be Known
Still, a teacher once commented to me that she doesn’t need to promote or advertise what she does in her class. Her students were proof of her effective work. I, as you can imagine, respectfully disagree. Here is why.
A teacher is still the single most important factor in a child’s education. The learning experiences a teacher structures impacts the cognitive and affective development of young people. Indeed, teacher appreciation day/week is nice, but with any formalization, our attention to what is important can wander once that season has passed.
The messaging around teaching, and education in general, matters. Like any other profession, the public constructs opinions and world views about the practices, values, and outcomes of educational systems. Promoting the successes we experience in education challenges negative narratives about students, teachers, and education in general. To put it simply, schools do great things every day of the year, (yes in the summer too!). People deserve to know that. Students deserve that recognition. Teachers deserve that praise.
Now that I am out of the classroom I have shifted my focus more onto the celebration of teachers and their expertise. Here are a few approaches to teacher Celebratitude:
Showcase a teacher’s instructional practices with your school board and superintendent.
Share accomplishments on social and traditional, media.
Buy a gift card for teachers who lead extra curricular activities without a stipend (especially important when their own building principals have overlooked their accomplishments/effort).
But, the best way, I believe, is to nominate teachers for local, state, regional, national, and international awards. Below is a list of awards I have nominated teacher for in the last three years. Just the practice is fulfilling, rewarding, humbling, important.
Additionally, if you belong to an organization that values education, why not sponsor an annual teacher prize? It is very easy and I would be happy, along with a range of other like-minded professionals, to promote your initiative.
I want to conclude by reinforcing that this is one of my favorite parts of my job. It has informed me about the work teachers do, built positive relationships, improves teaching and learning, and prepares me to speak intelligently about the social studies program in our county. So, if you are a specialist, chair, or administrator I advise making the practice of nominating teachers for award part of your professional practice.
(Lucky) 13 Teacher Awards
This list is just a start. And as you will notice, these awards are all social studies/history focused. But, that is my job! Check them out, share them with your colleagues, and let me know additional ones. I know they are out there.
George Bernard Shaw said “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’ Last week I had the pleasure of engaging with this, in essence, leadership style/belief with a group of educators at the Global Education Think Tank at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Participating in this symposium fulfilled a professional and personal goal I had made for myself in 2010 when the event first came on my radar. For making this a reality, I am forever grateful to both Dr. Reimers and Dr. Fletcher for inviting me to be part of a panel discussion. It was a transformative experience.
Over the course of three days about 90 participants engaged “in the active and critical examination of global competency and the practice of global education.” Below, I have captured highlights of the program – my main takeaways and some resources that were shared. Additionally, the twitter feed for the event can be found here.
I hope you find the items below enlightening, inspiring, and catalysts for reflection about your school’s and personal educational philosophy. As Marcel Proust noted “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”Enjoy!
Main Takeaways There is power in clearly articulating the purposes of education. In our connected and diverse world, global education provides the most relevant framework for educators to express the change in values that come with globalization. Therefore. what we choose to say and do in the spirit of global education, both as an avenue for reflection on teaching and learning as well as a driver for change in those areas, matters. Three ways to implement global education in schools include a) Designing new instructional practices b) Develop new curriculum c) Change the culture of teachers and students. Additionally, it is important to recognize student development and success happens cognitively and in their interpersonal and intrapersonal capabilities. The UN Sustainable Development Goals offer set of authentic, global issues that schools can use to develop learning experiences for students. Developing a curriculum, instructional practices, authentic assessments, and teacher development programs wouldn’t simply change education – it would transform it.
Main Takeaways What will the world (and school) be like in 2028? The current landscape provides insights to that question. a) Globalization is not a fad b) The world is becoming more diverse c) More significant than what you know is what you do with that knowledge. So, how can schools embrace global education? It is important to remember that frameworks (and vision statements) are only as good as their application. So, it is necessary to support your assets and recognize your access points in curriculum, instruction, assessments, and staff.
Main Takeaways What are some of the answers to the question “Why should we emphasize global education in our school?” In other words, what are the benefits of fostering skills and dispositions like Intercultural Competence and International Mindedness? Some of the popular answers include a) Employability b) Integration of immigrants and “the Other” and c) Develop principles of democracy. Furthermore, the session reminded us that the PISA tests will begin to assess “Global Competency” in 2018
Main Takeaways The guiding question to this session “What influences our understanding about the world, people, belief systems, and culture?” centers our work in global education. Focusing on religious literacy, Dr. Asani challenged the claims of Samuel Huntington’s“clash of civilization” theory which groups people of the world into monolithic, static, packaged units of existence. The result is a limited understanding about and a simplistic “othering” of people not like you. Aptly, Dr. Asani references this as a “Clash of Ignorance” Returning to the core question, reflect on where your body of knowledge regarding Islam and Muslims comes from. Specifically, how often is Islam approached from an aesthetic epistemology? Maybe a better question is, why is it not?
5) How to Study Abroad with Limited Resources (Joey Lee)
Main Takeaways Is international travel essential for a successful global education program? No. But schools may avoid even exploring the possibility because of a fear that it may be accessible to only a specific segment of the student body. Enter Education First (EF). In addition to the range of services related to global education. EF has intentionally moved from a tour(ist) model for students to one that immerses students in the country they visit. The result is a broader perspective (not the food. festival, clothing approach to global ed) and a maturing experience for students that develops global citizenship skills.
Main Takeaways Buckingham, Brown, and Nichols has intentionally created a globally focused curriculum for their students. Using Design Thinking to map out challenges and possibilities, the school seeks input from a range of stake holders. The result is a “future oriented and forward thinking” curriculum. BB and N offers “Russian, Chinese, and Arabic as well as more commonly taught languages. Students also have access to a number of school exchange or international travel opportunities to locales that include Paris, Moscow, and Morocco. You can also study for a semester on the coast of Maine, in the city of Rome, or in the mountains of Colorado (or the Swiss Alps!).”
Main Takeaways Teacher preparation in global education, both for pre-service teachers and veterans, must be clear and intentional. But what should the training/development focus on and look like? One approach is to focus on the concept of signature pedagogies. Lee Shulman defines this as “the types of teaching that organize the fundamental ways in which future practitioners are educated for their new professions.” In turn, this begs the question “what instructional practices are central to global education?” This is an exciting area to explore. Currently, Dr. Boix-Mansilla has identified these: a) Integrating Global Topics and Perspectives Into and Across the Standard Curriculum b) Authentic Engagement with Global Issues c) Connecting Teachers’ Global Experiences, Students’ Global Experiences, and the Curriculum. Additionally, comparative approaches are part of the signature pedagogies. In my experience, teachers who utilize video conferencing so their students can engage in dialogue with students around the globe is a signature pedagogy that easily used with projects like the Tony Blair Foundation.
Bella and I offered perspectives from two very different educational scenarios. Bella is the Superintendent and Principal of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School with an enrollment of about 2,000 students. I am the high school social studies curriculum/instruction specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools. FCPS is 10th largest school district in the US with nearly 190,000 students and about 550 High School Social Studies teachers. Driving our strategic changes are commitments to global citizenship. Lincoln-Sudbury has a unique Global-Scholar Program for students to opt in. It develops students who are “active participants in our global community, while also demonstrating an appreciation for the importance of cultural diversity and global responsibility.” FCPS’ vision statement includes the development of Ethical and Global Citizenship as part of students’ K-12 experiences. Despite the size differences and out different positions, we agreed that it is imperative for global education leaders to do the following: a) Consistent and Clear Communication b) Collaboration Among Departments c) Nurture and Celebrate Teacher Leaders d) FInd Entry Points in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.
As you introduce or continue to develop your global education program, I encourage you to revisit, utilize and share these resources. Remember, hubris can prevent change in educators. But this can’t be allowed to hamper the evolution of teaching and learning from which our students will benefit.
Globalization has changed the purpose of education. In response to the demands of an increasingly complex, nuanced, and connected world, schools in the United States offer a variety of global experiences for students. These approaches seek to develop students’ global competencies. One way these competencies can be met is to globalize the teaching and learning of U.S. History.
Additionally, we hope that the project develops your advocacy for this approach to teaching U.S. History. Ultimately, by using this “global turn” you will better prepare your students to succeed in the future.
For an overview of the resource, watch this screencast:
“A more global framework creates new perspectives, and some fresh challenges, making American history a livelier experience and, of course, linking it to other history courses in a less fragmented way. Ultimately, I would suggest, a global approach to American history lets us deal with three key, and difficult, questions – important ones, but tough ones as well.”
I hope you enjoy and utilize this resource. It will go through monthly updates throughout 2016. If you would like to contribute to the resource, please reach out through the U.S, in Global Context feedback area.