The Global, History Educator

Teaching, Historical Thinking, Professional Development, and Online Education ~ Hosted by Craig J. Perrier

Oliver Stone’s Untold History Project: Developing Historical Thinking and Argumentation in Students

April 19, 2015 by · No Comments · Conferences, Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices

Greetings from San Diego!  I recently had the pleasure of co-teaching an AP US History class on 20th Century US Foreign Policy.  The teacher, Mr. John Struck – 2014 Winner of the Gilder-Lehrman VA teacher of the year, and I created an “Opposing Viewpoints” lesson around the claim of “US Interwar Isolationism.”  The lesson targeted the course’s newly established  Historical Thinking Skills .  Specifically, we focused on these two: Historical argumentation and Appropriate use of relevant historical evidence and challenged students to formulate a short essay response based on the following sources:

    1. Our two 15 min presentations
    2. Prior knowledge (class textbook etc.)
    3. A general Q and A session where students could ask the presenters to clarify, elaborate etc.
    4. Structured small group discussions among students on how they would form their reply

Historical Thinking Skills – Historical Argumentation from The Gilder Lehrman Institute on Vimeo.

This approach to teaching and learning about the past, that is presenting students with a provocative question followed my multiple, opposing historical narratives (or constructed claims about the past) is an effective approach grounded in constuctivist theory. In this class the guiding question was “To what extent can US interwar foreign policy be considered isolationist?” In addition, students were exposed to content relevant concepts including “Soft Power”, “Hard Power”, “Agency”, and “Multi-lateral.”

In the 1987 Metahistory, historian Hayden White sketches this pluralistic standpoint as such: “we are free to conceive ‘history’ as we please, just as we are free to make of it what we will” (p. 433). In such a climate, the plurality of narratives, readings, and interests foregrounds polyphony, or in Ihab Hassan’s term “multivocation,” a postmodern feature that maintains that there exist multiple versions of reality or truths as read, seen, and interpreted from different perspectives.

Or, as French Philosopher Paul Ricoeur encapsulated and reminded us: “If it is true that there is always more than one way of construing a text, it is not true that all interpretations are equal.”

Simply beautiful!

 

Fast forward  to a 2015 article by Stephane Levesque, Probing the Historical Consciousness of Canadians and you can see this congealing of history education, narrative, and identity.  Levesque, professor of education at the University of Ottawa asks important and complex questions related to these themes:

  1. Is identity a key factor to relating to history?
  2. What historical sources do people consider trustworthy?
  3. How do they construct a sense of the collective past?
  4. How should classroom teachers engage students…in learning national history?
  5. What role should this kind of survey play in evaluating students’ prior historical knowledge and thinking?

Ultimately, Levesque notes the disconnect between High School History teachers and historical research and the subsequent difficulty to enact change at the secondary level. “Scholarly knowledge by itself is not enough to change practice. Simply telling teachers… about new evidence and urging them to change their practice is rather ineffective.”

teaching history logoI disagree with Levesque’s point somewhat. I have had multiple opportunities to work with scholars that brought about an expansion of my knowledge base and powerful reflection about my practice. I urge high school teachers to seek out these opportunities and in fact attempt to create such connections in m y current position.

Enter Dr. Eric Singer and Oliver Stone’s Untold History project.   I had a chance to talk with Singer, Historian, Principal Researcher and Educational Outreach Coordinator for Untold History of the United States.  The discussion  added to the topics mentioned above and highlighted what the project offers teachers, including free resources and a summer institute.  

Hi Eric. Thank you for taking some time to discuss history education. Who is involved in the Untold History of the United States project and what has been   your outreach to educators?

Involvement expands by the day.  Since late 2012, we have brought together a veritable army of people who crave an singeralternative to traditional historical narratives that have persisted for way too long.  Teachers, administrators, curriculum writers, activists, public intellectuals, journalists and academics have helped us organize screenings, develop curriculum, establish a vibrant website, organize speaking engagements and facilitate cross-disciplinary communication.

In 2012 I took on the role of Educational Outreach Coordinator for a new Untold History Education Project.  Since then, we have keynoted several social studies and education conferences including NCSS 2013 and ALA 2013.  We have also anchored scores of other events including a discussion with students at Stuyvesant High School in New York, the commemoration of the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, AR and the keynote of the 2015 Northern Nevada Council of Social Studies conference.  Along the way, we established an advisory group for the project that includes award-winning master teachers, curriculum specialists, leaders in the social studies field, academics and activists.

  Describe your resources and opportunities for educators and students.

We developed a curriculum guide to go along with the Untold History documentary and books.  The guide, which is aligned to the California State Social Studies Standards, is designed with Common Core in mind.  It is available for untold historyfree on our website.  The lesson plans contained within are all primary source-based, inductive and mindful of multiple teaching and learning styles.  They provide suggestions for teachers, but are flexibly crafted so that teachers can exercise their own creativity and employ their own expertise.

In December, we released Volume 1 of the Untold History Young Readers’ Edition, which boils down the content of the series and original adult book for middle and early high school students.  Volume 1 covers Reconstruction, war profiteering during World War I, the causes of the Great Depression, World War II and the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The original Untold History book is currently being used in AP and other upper-level high school classrooms across the country and around the world.  Volumes 2, 3 and 4 are now in production and will be released in 2016 and 2017.

Any new plans or events coming up in the future?

In July, we will host the first annual Untold History summer teaching institute, Teaching “Untold” History.  The institute, which will run from Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12 is open to all middle and high school teachers.

 

Topics of concentration will include “Moving Beyond the Textbook,” “Globalizing US History” and “Deconstructing Engrained Narratives.”  This experience will be valuable to teachers of AP and IB instructional programs, as well as teachers of non-affiliated curriculum.  The ultimate goal is to establish methods that empower students to think critically about history and the world around them, so that they may become better informed participants in the democratic process.

 

The institute will also attempt to critique historiographical approaches to instruction.  Ultimately, we will publish our curricular products on the Untold History website, making them available to teachers across the country and around the world.  We will also seek out other potential venues for publication and outreach.

 

Thank you Eric.  I am looking forward to the July Conference! 

Information on the Conference is Provided Below. Hope to see you there.

Teaching “Untold” History Summer Institute July 10-12, 2015

East Side Middle School 331 E. 91st St.

New York, NY

Please join us for an exciting and invigorating weekend as we explore ways to engage multiple historical perspectives in the classroom. Historians, master teachers and curriculum specialists will lead intimate, interactive weekend-long workshops⎯out of which will come tangible curriculum designed for teaching some of the most controversial topics in recent history.

Director Oliver Stone and Historian Peter Kuznick, co-writers of the Showtime documentary series Untold History of the United States and companion book, are scheduled to participate.

This experience will be valuable for

  • Middle and High School US History Teachers working with Common Core requirements
  • Middle and High School US History Teachers working in non-Common Core environments
  • AP teachers
  • IB teachers
  • Any teacher interested in developing ways to teach multiple perspectives to diverse groups of students.

There is a $200 fee to attend, which covers the cost of speakers and 2 meals/day. Attendees will also receive:

  • Continuing education certificates
  • Copies of Untold History DVD, book and Young Readers’ Edition
  • Resources produced from the workshop
  • Networking opportunities with public historians, academics and curriculum specialists
  • Copies of the Untold History of the United States curriculum guide, designed to accompany each episode of the documentary series.

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Courtyard New York Marriott Upper East Side. Rooms with 1 king bed are $195/nt, 2 queen beds $215/nt.

It will be possible to share rooms in order to minimize costs.

For more information on institute content, lodging options or to register, please contact:

  • Eric Singer, MEd, PhD Principal Researcher and Educational Outreach Coordinator Untold History Education Project
  • (410) 830-9789
  • es1355a@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read This and Write That: 6 Tools that Engage and Build Your Students’ Literacy

February 17, 2015 by · 2 Comments · Instructional Practices, Online Education, Web 2.0

What are you currently reading? I am in the middle of Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His GunGary Marx’s 21 Trends for the 21st Century and whatever I find interesting on Flipboard.  It was on that wonderful app where I came across an article sharing these quotes about the wonder and power of books and reading in general:

“Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.”     -J.K. Rowling

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.”                         -John Green

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”                                                                -Frederick Douglass

Our students’ literacy levels, that is the ability  to be read, write, and communicate both verbally and with a range of media, directly impacts their capacity  to think critically.  Let’s define that ubiquitous 21st century educational objective, critical thinking, using this visual.

That is a great list that leads to central questions about education. What are your favorite skills on the list?  Are your students developing them? Do you explicitly let students know that they are developing those skills?

I argue that being explicit is a key step in teaching and learning. For one thing, it helps students answer the question “why?”  But the type of experiences we provide students with to both develop and and demonstrate their literacy skills is significant.

For some c0ntext, take a look at this history of reading…hmmm over 2 million views. Well done.

Consider adding these electronic literacy  tools  to your repertoire. Try them out, or at least one, this year. They can add an additional way to engage your students, and ultimately develop their critical thinking skills.

  1. Newsela provides articles to students at 5 varying levels of difficulty but with the same content.  Super easy to use and has collaborative and annotation features.  As their website says: Newsela is an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that’s always relevant: daily news. It’s easy and amazing.
  2. Wordle is a fun tool that visually displays words of a selected text in varying sizes by their frequency.  You can ask students to predict what the piece is about, or ask them to define/use the most common words in the piece, or have them create a wordle to analyze their own writing.  See the example below.  What text do you think it is?Uncharter
  3. Genius is an online tool that breaks down line by line annotations edited by anyone in the world. Luckily, Genius has a specific education feature that can be explored here in a controlled area/class: If you are an educator interested in using Genius in your classroom, check out our Teacher’s Guide. To learn more about Education Genius and to activate your Genius “Educator” account contact education@genius.com. I have used this with students to collaborate on a document.  For example, here is the link to Frederick Douglass’s speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”  http://genius.com/Frederick-douglass-what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july-annotated
  4. Sentence Starters are powerful tools that demystify writing and helps students get over writers block and frustration.  The website I suggested is from Auckland, NZ. But there are an abundance of these online to select from.  If you are a Pinterest fan you can find multiple boards there too.
  5. Thinklink allows you and students to create interactive visuals.  In a recent blog, the website Ed technology has expanded on the tool’s educational potential:  “The images you create can come alive by adding to them text, video, music, and links. ThingLink has also recently rolled out a new feature, which is still in beta, that allows you to add interactive pinmarks to YouTube videos. These pin marks can be links to other videos or websites. The ability to enrich images with different media content makes ThingLink an ideal tool to incorporate in your instruction. There are a variety of ways you can use ThingLink with your students and the visual below provides 27 examples of activities that students can do using this platform.”
  6. Word Walls are an effective tool to enhance literacy. They should be part of every… that’s right I said it… EVERY classroom.  If time is an issue, have students make them. If space is an issue, consider restructuring your room space.  Teachers can also call these “Concept Walls”  and use them for larger ideas for a unit or course.  But these must be referenced and used by students in order to make them effective.  If you aren’t using a word/concept wall, why aren’t you?

Finally, I love this list by Kathy Schrock which qualifies/categorizes literacy according to content and skill areas that each possess their own nuances, jargon, and skills.  The one to add, possibly, is cultural literacy… but that may be folded under the global literacy domain.

Oh ,by the way, the wordle I used was from the preamble to the UN Charter. Spread the news and enjoy!

Fiat Lux! The European Enlightenment in 2015 – Teaching Beyond the Anglo-French Narrative

January 26, 2015 by · 2 Comments · Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices

Happy 2015!

The European Enlightenment is a fun topic to teach.  Teachers that tap into their creative energies design classes that have students  wrestle with big ideas,  nurture their curiosity through inquiry, and evaluate how concepts from the past manifest and impact them  today.  The cast of Enlightenment characters invites the opportunity for students to engage in a “talking heads” activity, Socratic seminar, or simulate a French salon (indeed a great idea and one that could be conducted repeatedly throughout eras and with different settings).

Check out this example:

 

Another interesting aspect of the European Enlightenment is the connection to US History Survey classes. The flow of socio-political ideas was not restricted to the continent. Moreover, the Enlightenment is a great way to introduce the concept of transnational approaches to history which emphasizes the import of flow and hybridity of ideas across national borders and, in this case, across the Atlantic.

But all too often, the European Enlightenment cast of historical characters, like those in other types of historical narratives, has become static.  This is limitation is, whether  in a World or US history class, unfortunate. You can probably identify the usual suspects. As you watch the trailer below, give it a shot:

So, who did you come up with – Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire?  By this role call, the European Enlightenment, revolves on a Anglo-Franco axis. This review from NYS regents exam (below) reinforces that standard narrative as does U.S. History.org   and Hippocampus.

 

Regents

Certainly, the European Enlightenment has more influential thinkers and from other parts of the continent. Who gets left out, and marginalized is just as important as who gets emphasized in history.  Teachers should expand the number and geographic range of thinkers. This empowers students’ through a broader content knowledge base and skillset development including application, conceptual thinking, and global awareness.

Here are my suggestions for 5 additions to the standard European Enlightenment. None are from the UK! Take a look and let me know what you think and who should be included!

1)      Emer de Vattel, 1714 -1767 (Swiss)-  When Vattel’s  Law of Nations(1758)  was translated to English in 1760, it provided a foundation for national government and identity.  Ben Franklin shared copies of the text with other revolutionary brothers in the Continental Congress. Vattel’s words “A nation is…a society of men untied together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by their combined strength” manifest in the US Constitution a generation later. Historian David Armitage notes that Vattell’s writing argued that nations have a right to existence, independence, and equality.  Undoubtedly, this geo-political world view shaped American Independence.

Big Ideas: International Law, Republicanism, Recognizing New Nations

Did you know? George Washington borrowed The Law of Nations  on 5 October 1789 from the New York Society Library.Washington had never returned the book . The former president’s overdue fines, it has been calculated, would theoretically amount to $300,000. After learning of the situation, staff at Washington’s home in  Mount Vernon, offered to replace Vattel’s “Law of Nations” with another copy of the same edition.

 

2)      Hugo Grotius, 1583 -1648 (Dutch) – Does the concept “natural rights” sound familiar?  If not, here it is referenced in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Indeed, Grotius is the giant that Jefferson, Adams, and their contemporaries stood on to see further and establish the Empire of Liberty. If you really want to challenge one of the sacred ideas of the American identity, put forth the idea that the founding father of America wasn’t American.  Check this  article out.

Big Ideas: Natural Law, Just War Theory.

More Information: Thomas Jefferson’s library included Grotius 1694 The Truth of the Christian Religion. Jefferson made numerous marginal comments. Also, John Adams reference Grotius frequently in his early (pre-1776) opposition writings targeting English law noting that “sovereignty resided in the hands of the people.”

 

3)      Cesare Beccaria, 1738 -1794 (Italian) – Of my four suggestions, Beccaria has the most potential to be someone already taught or referenced by teachers.  Still, he is not solidified as a Enlightenment elite – but deserves to be. His  On Crimes and Punishment  (1764) tackles topics like torture and capital punishment.  Hmmm, sound familiar as  contemporary topics? He was also a prominent contributor to the Enlightenment journal called Il Caffe (The Coffeehouse) .

Big Ideas: Jurisprudence, Constitutional Law

Historical Scholarship: In Faces of Revolution, Historian Bernard Bailyn claims “In every colony and in every legislature there were some people who new Locke and Beccaria, Montesquieu and Voltaire.” In addition, Gordon Wood, in The Empire of Libertyrecognizes Beccaria’s influence stating that  “many of the state constitutions of 1776 evoked…Beccaria and promised to end punishments that were ‘cruel and unusual’ and to make them ‘lass sanguinary, and in general more proportionate to the crimes.”

4)      Olympe de Gouges 1748 – 1793 (French) – Yes, this selection supports the unsatisfying Anglo-French referenced above. However, she expands female representation in the European Enlightenment usually reserved for Mary Wollenscroft.   De Gouges violated boundaries that most of the revolutionary leaders wanted to preserve and was  guillotined in Paris on the 3rd November 1793.

Big Ideas: Feminism, Humanism, anti-Slavery

Legacy: Her The Declaration of the Rights of Woman (September 1791) tackles social, political, economic, and political issues around gender inequality. Her connection to the Seneca Falls Convention “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” in 1848 and then to Eleanor Roosevelt and her work with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights provide a fantastic 18th-20th century lineage on the archaeology of women’s rights vis a vis the European Enlightenment.

 

5)       Baron Samuel von Pufendorf, 1632 – 1694 (German) – In our globalized world, von Pufendorf’s sentiment about the import of being globally aware, or having a cosmopolitan ethic, is highly relevant today: “those who have the Supream Administration of Affairs, are oftentimes not sufficiently instructed concerning the Interest both of their own State, as                        also that of their Neighbours.” Pufendorf, influenced by Grotius,  asserted that international law extends to all nations, emphasizing that all nations are part of humanity.

Big Ideas: Natural Law, History, International Relations

 Top Ten!: Pufendorf is ranked as the 10th most cited thinker by the US “Founding Fathers” (Beccaria is 7th).  Among his text referenced by John Adams include,  The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature  and Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society.

So it is fair to say that the social, cultural,  and political legacy of the European Enlightenment is much more expansive than the Anglo-French narrative espoused in current high school textbooks, curricula narratives and standards.   Expanding, problematizing, and offering alternative narratives is an enriching part of historical study. Providing alternatives, possibilities, and being explicit about the concept of narratives is an Enlightening exercise for your students to engage with is valuable regardless of whether yours students have an end of year exam or not.  

Hoarding, Building Allies, Inefficiency, and the Power of “Yes” – Kim Young, the NCSS 2014 Global Understanding Award Recipient

December 9, 2014 by · No Comments · Conferences, Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Professional Development

Were you at the 94th Annual NCSS conference last month?  It was indeed an exciting conference, “Education professionals gathered last month in Boston to explore best practices and inquiry-based teaching of social studies, boosting well-rounded civic learning and building 21st-century skills and social studies disciplinary literacy.” If you were unable to attend the national conference, don’t fret.  A list of regional/state events for 2015 are posted here.

One of my personal highlights  was getting to  introduce this year’s winner of the Global Understanding Award, Kim Young.  Meeting her reminded me  anthropologist Anna Tsing ‘s 2005 work Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Tsing asserts

Tsing“Global connections are made in fragments- although some fragments are more powerful than others…they interrupt dominant stories of globalization to offer more realistic alternatives. Such fragments…create a world of global connections made, and muddled, in friction. Curiosity about such friction might reopen the mystery of our time.”

It take a special teacher to seek out experiences, fragmented and with potential friction, and share them with her students. Then, once back in the classroom, that same remarkable  teacher is able to inspire students about the narratives, realities, and friction of globalization. And, ultimately, those lucky students’ curiosity is sustained for their lifespan because of the teacher’s guidance.

 

I had the pleasure to interview one of those teachers, Kim Young.  Our exchange is below. Enjoy!

If you would like to contact Kim, you can do so with this email: youngk@weston.org

1- Tell us about yourself. How did you get into teaching? What and who do you teach?

NCSS2

Kim on one of her adventure, educational excursions…see what “Yes” can get you?!

Hello readers!  My name is Kim Young.  I’ve been teaching World History at Weston High School in Weston, Massachusetts for 10 years.  I’ve also helped spearhead many of my district’s efforts to globalize our curriculum as Global Education Coordinator.  I think I’m one of those people who have always been a teacher.  My mom was a teacher and my first jobs were as a camp counselor and coach. Growing up, I always remembered how my teachers presented lesson plans, and which methods were most engaging and effective.  I enjoy teaching because I get to live my passion for global cultures everyday.

2-  Who or what inspired you to apply to the NCSS award? How did you decide on your submission?

Necessity!  I am taking an unpaid leave from my teaching position this winter to pursue a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grant.  I was scouring the internet for creative sources of funding and came across the NCSS Award.  Luckily, I have supportive colleagues who helped me with the process when I mentioned the idea to them.  I knew right away I would submit my “Complicating Conquest: Rethinking the Spanish Invasion of the Americas” curriculum.  I feel this is the most innovative and interesting piece of curriculum I’ve developed.  It is based entirely on visual, physical, and written primary sources I collected while traveling in Mexico and Peru.  The goals of the lessons are truly global and nothing you could ever find in a high school textbook.  I hope readers who teach the Age of Exploration or the European colonization of the Americas will check out the curriculum.

3- What have been some of the successes and challenges of using global perspectives with your students?

Great question.  As with many things, I think my greatest successes have come from my greatest challenges.  Recently, I’ve really been influenced by an article written by Milton J. Bennett on intercultural communication.  He writes, “Common sense is, of course, common only to a particular culture.” For 9th graders, developmentally, it is hard to understand the world from a different perspective.  I struggling with training (or retraining) students’ brains to observe and ask questions before making judgments—what my students often refer to as “Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”  I feel most successful when I hear students using the words worldview, perspective, and subjectivity when talking about history. Moving students to action is also always challenging because in many ways, the traditional school day model does not support this type of learning.  Bennett writes, “Understanding objective culture may create knowledge, but it doesn’t necessarily generate competence.”  If my students are going to be truly globally competent, they need to act based on their emerging globalized perspective.

4- How have your colleagues reacted to your interest in global education?

Everyone is incredibly supportive, even if they don’t always understand why I want to travel to a certain location.  They ask me about all of my adventures and are open to trying out the new curricular ideas I bring back.  They collaborate with me about how to best support exchange students in our school.  They let me decorate their classroom with new artifacts I’ve brought back.  I am also very fortunate to have a district that has made promoting Global Education one of its 5 year goals.  What I do find most puzzling is when I meet educators who say, “I wish I could do what you do!”  For most educators, I don’t see many real reasons holding them back from pursuing different opportunities—you just have to apply.  Don’t be overwhelmed, you’ll be amazed at how things fall into place.

5- You showed us this painting during your presentation, The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata (1753, in the Cuzco Cathedral). Tell us about it and how it represents your approach to teaching students.

Last supper

Guinea Pig? “Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”

I love this painting!  It is by Marcos Zapata and located in the Cusco Cathedral. This painting is totally representative of my teaching philosophy.  Firstly, it is visual.  I like to expose students to different types of sources—too often they think history only comes in text.  I try to emphasize to my students who struggle with reading that if they can remember images and know how to decode them, they can think just as analytically as when reading a document.  Secondly, it’s a primary source.  Once students have some context, I like them to work with primary sources since it helps them better understand the perspective of the culture they are studying.  This lends itself to my inquiry-based style of teaching. I like to give students evidence with guided questions and have them do the investigating.  This way students’ construct their own knowledge and learning.  Even if students forget what they learn, hopefully they’ve developed skills for investigating questions in the future.  In terms of content, this represents my style because I chose curriculum that emphasizes cultural fusion, cooperation, and interaction.  War, conflict, and domination are a part of history—this is a narrative of human interaction my students are familiar with.  I like to present a counter-narrative to open them up to other ways of viewing history and the world.  Finally, this image is engaging, funny, and a little weird (from an American cultural perspective).  Students remember this image because the idea of Jesus eating guinea pig is so far from their cultural norms.

6- You offered a lot of advise at NCSS.  Can you summarize those tips again?

Absolutely.  One of the best parts of winning the award was being able to present at NCSS. It’s a humbling and thought provoking experience to try and share with colleagues what I feel I’ve learned over the last ten years.  I also know that educators out there know what to do—we just get too busy, overwhelmed, or stressed.  With my presentation, I wanted to given educators permission to do the things we know make good curriculum.

My main message is that it is important to create curriculum with complexity—–and this is something I feel travel/study really allows educators to do.  This is how we can move away from textbook based curriculum and engage our students as global learners.  Based on my experiences in these programs, here’s my tips on how to make the best curriculum:

1)   Abandon efficiency—We never have time to plan during the year.  We have to be product driven and use every moment of our time to grade.  During summer professional development, give yourself permission to be inefficient.  Spend several weeks investigating a topic you are passionate about and interested in.  Don’t worry if it only produces one 50-minute lesson.

2)   Be a Hoarder—While this is not a culturally acceptable behavior from a Western perspective, in order to create great curriculum, you have to do this.  Take a picture of everything you see and collect every brochure, pamphlet, book, and artifact you can find.  Many times while traveling I do not fully understand the significance of an object until much later.  I come back, reflect, and look through all my discoveries.  Only then do I start to see how they might all connect.  I go back to pictures and pull out new images as my curriculum changes or as I learn more about a culture.

3)    Say “Yes”—Just like that awful Jim Carrey movie.  When I’m traveling and collecting curriculum, I say yes to every experience, food, and opportunity.  I am often tired, worn out, or uncertain of how something will go.  I’ve crashed a wedding, pet a tarantula, and jumped off bridges.  None of this was planned or on my itinerary.  All of these unexpected experiences gave me insight into cultures different than my own and have come back to influence my curriculum in ways I couldn’t imagine.

4)   Use your allies—I have several colleagues and administrators that I have developed relationships with that fully support my efforts.  Early in my career, I often would not apply for opportunities because I was nervous about bothering people for recommendations.  I was also worried what they would think of me (she thinks she is qualified to participate in THAT program?)   I was also afraid of what my colleagues would think of me if I asked for a recommendation and did not get into a program.  Over time, I have fully gotten over all of these insecurities!  Now, I know, even if its last minute (ie can you write me recommendation in the next 24 hours?), I have a supportive group around me that I am never afraid to ask for help.  I also bring them back really cool artifacts from wherever I go.

7-  What is next for you?

I’m headed off on my biggest global adventure yet—I will be working and studying in the West Bank from January to March of 2015 as part of a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grant.  I am interested “breaking the binary”—Palestinian identity is often presented in secondary curriculum and Western media as being made up of two choices (ex. One state vs. Two state, Fata vs. Hamas, Israeli vs. Palestinian).  We all know in reality things are more grey than just being A or B.  I am specifically interested in investigating how to use the graphic arts and graphic novels to do this.  If any readers have contacts in the West Bank, please let me know!

8- If you could select three books, films, trips etc about global education for teachers what would they be?

Bennett, Milton, J. (1998). Intercultural communication: A current perspective. In Milton J. Bennett (Ed.), Basic concepts of shel-silverstein_reflection_peoplewhowriteintercultural communication: Selected readings. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

Silverstien, Shel.  “Reflection,” in A Light in the Attic, Harper Collins (1981).

I can’t choose one trip!  But here is the list of all the international professional development experiences I know about.

Link to NCSS presentation (https://www.haikudeck.com/p/Xd7v1SUL1p/ncss)

 

If you would like to contact Kim, you can do so with this email: youngk@weston.org

 

Global Citizenship, Contemporary Education, and the Cosmopolitan World View

November 17, 2014 by · No Comments · Conferences, Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices

Happy International Education Week! Did you know it was that time of year again or that this is the 15th annual installment? In a recent press statement Secretary of State, John Kerry notes “During this week, literally thousands of events will be held around the world to highlight the benefits of global learning and student exchanges. To understand why this is important, we have only to consider the consequences when people lack what international education provides – namely an objective understanding ofglobe-question-mark the world that exists outside the narrow boundaries of our own communities and lives.”

Sounds great!  In fact one of these  great events is the Global Education Conference, This is a must to explore, collaborate, and watch archived sessions. In fact Tuesday night at 7:00pm EST I will be part of a panel, Session Title: Lesson For All: the right of education and the barriers worldwide SESSION LINK https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GEC15Part26

However, in a potentially confusing move, President Obama released this press statement the same day as Kerry’s proclaiming Nov 16-22, the same as International Week, as “American Education Week.” Huh?!  The President declared:

“In a complex world, we must meet new and profound challenges.  As a Nation, we must prepare the next generation to face these issues and the problems of their own time.  An education equips the leaders of tomorrow with the knowledge and vision they need to discover the solutions of the future and build a better society for their children and grandchildren. This week, we honor the IEW2012teachers, mentors, and professionals who guide our kids as they explore the world.”

Does this set of educational dichotomies bring ambiguity and confusion – national/international,  global/local, narrow boundaries/explore the world. Can this be sorted out?  Ok, challenge accepted, I’ll give it a try and look forward to your insights. As my entry point let’s take a travel back in time so we can put our present and future work around global education in proper perspective.

It has been nearly a year since Johns Hopkins professor Jakub Grygiel authored an article in the Washington Post  titled “There’s no Such Thing As a Global Citizen” .   This was certainly an interesting article to engage with and have shared it with other educators, most recently with IREX’s Teachers For Global Classrooms program, for their insights.  Grygiel, an international politics scholar is missing the mark when he engages in a concept outside of his field. Let’s look at four ways his piece doesn’t jive with contemporary efforts in global education.

  • He applies his paradigm of international relations to the field of education – “schools like mine are  increasingly being called upon to educate “global citizens” who belong to the world rather than to their nation of birth or state of choice.”

It is highly likely that the school, university, or organization you work for has some explicit or implied conceptualization of global citizenship in a policy, vision, mission statement, or practice. For example, Fairfax County Public Schools has initiated a

Acknowledges and understands diverse perspectives and cultures when considering local, national, and world issuesContributes to solutions that benefit the broader communityCommunicates effectively in multiple languages to make meaningful connectionsPromotes environmental stewardshipUnderstands the foundations of our country and values our rights, privileges and responsibilitiesDemonstrates empathy, compassion and respect for othersActs responsibly and ethically to build trust and lead

new vision for students, Portrait of a Graduate, which includes the theme “Ethical and Global Citizen.” Please note the 5th descriptor (bold/underlined) and its overt connection to the nation.  This is not surprising. What Grygiel misses,  due to the limits of his field, is that when schools address global citizenship, they are talking about fostering a world view  and habits-of-mind which compliment globalization. This type of education is not about addressing a legal distinction or an implied threat to nationalism.

Well, I can’t claim to know why Grygiel selected this organization as the definitive explanation of global citizenship.  I would have gone to any of the statements and models by these organizations who, no offense Oxfam, do it better. Explore for yourself – Asia Society,  World Savvy, World Affairs Council, Kosmos, IREX, IIE,  US Department of Education,  the list can go on.  But to sum up in one quote from professor John Willinsky, “Education remains a voyage of discovery, a journey in search of a larger world.” These other frameworks offer more insight into global citizenship.

  • He claims nationalism and identify are synonyms – “They (citizens) stand on the battlefield or in the public square for the love of their community… from this love…arises a sense of responsibility that motivates us to act and serves as a yardstick for our actions.  Without it, action is senseless and rudderless.”

The 1965  work, Is Paris Burning? eloquently narrates the the liberation of Paris in the late Summer of 1944. The title of the book is the Fuhrer’s final communique to the commander he had ordered to turn Paris  “into a field of ruins”, General Dietrich von Choltitz.   Von Choltitz’s refusal to follow Hitler’s order is evidence of a sensible moral compass not defined by national identity. His, dare I say, act of global citizenship saved the city of light. According to French General Koenig, von Choltitz “had more friends in France than he has in Germany.”

isparisburningtop

 

 

Another way to look at this is the through Gordon Brown’s TED video which addresses these questions: Can the interests of an individual nation be reconciled with humanity’s greater good? Can a patriotic, nationally elected politician really give people in other countries equal consideration?

  • He equates current globalization to Marxist endeavors – “Local conditions… could be addressed only by the global vision of a united proletariat. The project… in the end…was a failure. I suspect the current global citizenship movement will follow suit.”

Grygiel’s closing sentiment is, at best, a ridiculous scare tactic, and at its worse an insult to any benevolence performed by a human in one location to that in another in the name of compassion and solidarity.  It is important to recall and celebrate the realities (and subsequent possibilities) performed by individuals who have internalized global citizenship.  What do we make of Eleanor Roosevelt’s supposed impossible task of unifying the United Nations around Universal Human rights?


Professor William Gaudelli’s 2009 article Heuristics of Global Citizenship Discourses towards Curriculum Enhancement, researches five different “types” of global citizenship ideologies: neoliberal, nationalist, Marxist, world justice/governance, and cosmopolitan. While these are not intended to be exhaustive of those ideas in play, I select them for a few reasons. First, they represent a fairly wide swath of global discourse from various points on the political and epistemological landscape. Second, while there are clearly points of agreement among them, there are also tensions, allowing for a more robust conversation.  And third, each has a counterpart in curriculum, and manifests in schools in a discernible manner that sets it apart from others.”  Take a look at his visual.  More importantly, note  Grygiel’s limited denunciation of global citizenship as a Marxist legacy..

Gaudelli Image

Global Citizenship: The Legacy of Cosmopolitanism

What is cosmopolitanism? In the 4th century BCE, the classical Greek Cynic, and contemporary  of Plato, Diogenes, claimed “I am a citizen of the world” thus rooting the cosmopolitan ethic in western cosmology. This legacy can be traced through a variety of historical sign posts, of which some are identified here.

In 1637 Rene Descartes, in his famous and widely influential work Discourse on Method wrote  “It is useful to something of the manners of different nations, that we may be enabled to form a more correct judgement regarding our own, and be prevented from thinking that everything contrary to our customs is ridiculous and irrational  – a conclusion usually come to by those whose experience has been limited to their own country.”

Immanuel Kant’s 18th cosmopolitan philosophy focuses on the roll of law, citizenship, nations, and the economy. He predicted people would be part of a global civil order governed by lawful associations.  However, Kant argued that “cosmopolitan citizens still needed their individual republics to be citizens at all.”  He made sure that he used the phrase “world federation” not “world government.”  Typically, people think of the League of Nations or the United Nations.  Another Kantian example is the The Maastricht Treaty which integrated European nations around one currency.

Fast forward to the 20th century to Graham Greene’s musing in the novel Our Man in Havana “There are many countries in our blood, aren’t there, but only one person. Would the world be in the mess it is if we were loyal to love and not to countries?”  This is a fantastic sentiment that is often drowned out by the drums of war.

To close this post, I end at a monument about 2 miles from where I write this, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  His quote often surprises people I share it with because of it cosmopolitan view.

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” Christmas sermon, Atlanta, Georgia, 1967.

Ok, one more video…its worth it!

 

Enjoy your week!

Globalizing the US History Survey: Free, Self-Paced, Online, Collaborative, Professional Development Modules

August 3, 2014 by · No Comments · Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices, Online Education, Professional Development, Web 2.0

I am extremely happy to announce the launch of the project Globalizing US History Survey: Free, Self-Paced, Online, Collaborative, Professional Development Modules 

We feel this project is ideal for the demands of the AP US History Course, IB History of Americas, the Common Core, and any US History course state standards.  Teachers, curriculum specialists, scholars, and anyone interested in this topic are welcome to engage with this project.

For a general overview, checkout this screencast about the project! 

If you can’t wait and want to get right in here is the project link:

 

We just want to repeat… this project is a 100% free professional development opportunity that utilizes social media, self-pacing, and professional collaboration.

Background

The concept was part of my graduate work at Northeastern University during my MA in History in 2011.  Subsequently. the project was funded by the Longview Imagegenerosity of the Longview Foundation and was created in partnership with the NCHE. A major inspiration for my thinking was the 2000 La Pierta Report. The report welcomed the 21st century with a challenge to US history educators everywhere.  I encourage you to read the entire piece. I have placed some main vision excerpts below:

“National history remains important, and will of course continue to be so in the future. But the national history we are describing resituates the nation as one of many scales, foci, and themes of historical analysis. Our students and public audiences will gain a heightened sense of nation-making…

BannerGlobal2By looking beyond the official borders of the United States and back again, students, we anticipate, will better understand the emergence of the United States in the world and the significance of its direct power and presence. We expect them to understand the controversial power and presence of the United States as a symbol beyond our borders. We hope students will gain a historical comprehension of the difference between being a peripheral colony and a powerful nation, and they will be introduced to some of the large historical processes, not all contained within the nation, that might explain such a shift in the geography of global power…

We believe that there is a general societal need for such enlarged historical understanding of the United States. We hope that the history curriculum at all levels, not only in colleges and universities but also in the K-12 levels will address itself to these issues… It is essential that college and university departments–which carry the responsibility for training historians who will teach at the K-12 levels–begin this work of integration…

The United States history survey course is properly a focal point for the creation of an internationalized American history. If in the survey course one embraces the simple advice to follow the people, the money, the knowledges, and the things, one would quite easily–on the basis of pure empiricism–find oneself internationalizing the study of American history.”

The Project

Recent trends have called for the “globalizing” of American education through 21st Century teaching and learning and the Common Core State Standards. These educational demands coincide with efforts in the history profession to internationalize the United States history survey course. Combined, these two paradigm shifts have generated demand to construct and teach histories that are rigorous and relevant in preparation for college and career readiness. Globalizing history education, therefore, involves an “opening” of students’ conceptions of the past through expanded content, broader methodology, and units of analysis that go beyond the nation. Preparing history teachers to do this is integral to the longevity and success of global education. This project addresses gaps in thought leadership and the scarcity of professional development programs dedicated to globalizing the U.S. history survey.Globe

At the core of this project are five modules participants engage with at their own pace. The predicted time to complete each module is 6 hours. The five project modules, listed below, span the 20th century

 Each module has a similar structure and features. In addition to selected primary and secondary sources/media,  five scholars created presentations unique to this project.

  • Gregg Brazinsky – George Washington University
  • Joseph R. Golowka –  Binghamton University
  • Greg Adler – Eastside Union High School District
  • Eric D. Pullin –  Carthage College
  • P. Masila Mutisya – North Carolina Central University

Also, Dr. Peter Stearns was generous enough to lend his support of the project. He notes “”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.” See his full recording here.

In addition, each module had multiple  teacher reviewers give feedback on the functionality,aesthetic, structure, clarity, utility, and resources of the modules.  Their insight was invaluable.

A View of Professional Development for Educators

This style of PD challenges the utility of the large conference.  These tend to be a one size fits all approach which ignores the personalization we celebrate in contemporary education with our students.  Often, these presentations demand little to nothing form participants. Yet, you still get credit hours/points for just being there.  This is hardly a 21st century approach for our profession.

This project celebrates teacher creativity, agency, leadership, and content expertise . It requires participants to generate resources and contribute content knowledge for the network to use. Upon completion of a module, participants will receive a PD certificate emailed from the NCHE to add to your professional file.

Spread the Word

Access to the project and  the 5 PD modules is through Blackboard Coursesites a free LMS.  It utilizes a self-enrolling policy, so sign right up.

Please spread the word by sharing the link below with your colleagues and network.  Enjoy and we look forward to your insights and feedback!

 

 

 

 

Being Savvy about Global Competence: An Interview with Jennifer Lofing

June 27, 2014 by · No Comments · Global Education, Professional Development

Are teachers prepared to teach in an era of hyper-globalization? What professional development does your department, school, and district provide? What opportunities do you seek out to become informed about historical and contemporary globalization.  I hope that your understanding of globalization comes from more than  Tom Friedman and his claims about flatness.

For example, Donald Wright in his work  The World and a Very Small Place in Africa: A History of Globalization in Niumi, the Gambia reminds us of the importance of Immanuel Wallerstein’s “world system’s” theory when conceptualizing globalization:

Wallerstein’s theory can set the stage for global world views. But we need to get in the weeds a bit. To do that, read this piece on global wealth peaks and valleys, “The truth about extreme global inequality”  and view the follow up video Global Wealth Inequality – What you never knew you never knew, from The Rules 

And finally, watch this TED talk that directly challenges Friedman:

Pankaj Ghemawat: Actually, The World Isn’t Flat

Indeed, a globalized world is complex to understand, navigate, and predict.  Functioning in these diverse contexts require teachers to be nimble and informed practitioners who can meet the needs of students, prepare them for the future, and gather and utilize information for a range of purposes in a variety of formations.   Being globally savvy is indeed a demanding charge!

However, opportunities do exist. A dynamic new global education program,the  Global Competency Certificate, is now being offered! “Developed by leading experts in global education – Teachers College, Columbia University, World Savvy, and Asia Society,  the GCC program is designed specifically for in-service educators who are interested in embedding global learning into their teaching practice and preparing their students for the global reality beyond the classroom.”

I recently spoke with Ms. Jennifer Lofing, Senior Associate of Academic Affairs at World Savvy, about global education, teacher development, and the GCC experience.

Checkout her insights below, spread the word, and consider being part of a GCC cohort. Enjoy!

1) What is your background and current position at World Savvy? I have an international development background. After getting my Master’s in Law & Diplomacy (International Relations), I worked for several international non-profit organizations building conflictJennifer Lofing resolution and community development capacity in countries around the world. I have lived and/or worked in over 40 countries, including some time in Germany as a student and in Albania & Kosovo. Learning about the world and connecting with people across the world has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.   At World Savvy, I head up Academic Affairs for the Global Competence Certificate program, the new online graduate level certificate for teachers in Global Competence Education. In this capacity, I am responsible for interacting with potential and current program participants—everything from recruiting to advising and supporting. It is really exciting to work with these educators, who are fulfilling a very important role in building global citizenship among their students.

2) How did you get involved with global education? During the time I was working overseas, I grew tired and frustrated of seeing the same problems over and over again. A feeling started to form in me that the only way we were ever going to make any meaningful change was if we grew the number of people who can understand the complexity of the world and work across the artificial barriers that divide us to find solutions. The best way to do this is to start young! So, I began to focus on global education as a way to build that critical mass of global citizens and leaders who we will need if we are going to address the huge challenges (and opportunities!) that face us.

3) What are the goals of the GCC program? The GCC program aims to build a pipeline of globally competent K-12 educators and school leaders who will have the capacity to effectively prepare young people to be globally informed, engaged citizens. Put another way, we are building the capacity within our educational system to facilitate the development of our young people as global citizens on a large scale.

4) How do you explain the program? What is your elevator pitch? The GCC fills a big gap in global competence professional development by providing an opportunity for educators to reflect in a very deep and sustained way on what global competence means for them personally and for their students. It does this through rigorous academic coursework, an immersive fieldwork opportunity, and a peer-supported capstone project. And, importantly, it utilizes innovative technology to enable learning and sharing among a far-flung group of global competence education leaders while demonstrating how technology can be used to build global community.

5) I believe starting with the Why is important. How would you answer “why do I need to be skilled in global competencies?” I appreciate the question, though I feel in this case it’s a little bit like asking why a fish needs to know how to swim! We are more connected to and impacted by the world than ever before. We regularly communicate with people from different cultures and countries both in our home communities as well as through the internet, media, and travel. We are affected daily by economic events, climate change, conflict, disease pandemics and other phenomena that don’t have any regard for national borders. To thrive in this world requires resilience, adaptability, openness, curiosity….global competence! There are opportunities as well—to eradicate poverty or invent the next paradigm-shifting technology. These achievements will be made by those who question prevailing assumptions, who form opinions based on exploration and evidence, who think critically and problem solve…global competencies!

6) Where have you seen global competencies in action in the classroom? There are already so many teacher-leaders who are doing this every day. At World Savvy, we work with an incredible group of educators across the country who challenge their students to think about global issues from multiple disciplines and perspectives and, importantly, push them to consider what they can do to address those issues. One of my favorite examples that I’ve seen recently is a middle school math teacher who weaves micro-finance (and the poverty, equality and sustainability issues microfinance helps address) into her math class.

7) How do educators get more information or sign up for GCC? The online application is available at www.globalcompetencecertificate.org.

8) How do departments, students, schools, communities benefit from a teacher who is globally competent? Teachers who are committed to developing their own global competence are invaluable assets in the classroom, the school, and the community at large. Through their demonstration and leadership, they are able to help the entire community—adults as well as kids—understand that global competence is a lifelong journey rather than a final destination. They are the experts and advocates that departments, schools and districts need to ensure that all kids are graduating with the preparation they need to thrive in college, career, and life.

9) What is the long view for this program? We have big plans for the GCC! We are developing a Leadership Track for the 2015-16 year that will address the particular needs of school and district leaders and administrators. We also plan to expand the GCC to include more international participation. We have already had interest from teachers in Africa, Asia, and Europe!  We are working to build a truly global program where teachers from around the world will be able to collaboratively build global competence for themselves and their students. A little further down the road, watch for the GCC online Master’s degree program.

10) How did World Savvy come to partner with Columbia University’s Teachers College & Asia Society? The GCC is the culmination of a unique collaboration between the three founding organizations—Asia Society, Teachers College, and World Savvy. These three organizations have deep experience in global competence education as well as teacher preparation and professional development. We have worked together at every stage of the program—from conceptualization to program and course design—and will continue to cooperate closely as we roll out the first year of the program, evaluate the results, and feed that information back into the program’s continuous development and improvement. Also, we are currently collaborating on the design of the Leadership Track of the GCC.

11) What is your favorite “words of wisdom” or quote regarding global competency? Some years back, I kept a sticky note in my planner (pre- smart phone!) with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut: “Keep your hat on. We may end up miles from here.” At the time, I had no idea that this was supposedly the punch line to Vonnegut’s favorite dirty joke. But, that’s neither here nor there. For me, the quote inspired openness to new opportunities, comfort with ambiguity and unfamiliar situations, adaptability, and basically a life of exploring and investigating the world. Global competencies, one and all!

12) Anything else to add? Check out the Global Competence Certificate website at www.globalcompetencecertificate.org! We’ve got lots of great information about the program, instructors, courses and we’ll be adding more information about fieldwork sites and student experience as the GCC progresses. Join us!

Analyze Them: 5 Education Myths to Engage, Contemplate, and Dispel

May 27, 2014 by · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

I am torn on how to start this post.  One approach is to remind readers that the teaching profession is less an R & D field, and more of a Development and Research profession.  This sentiment was first introduced to me by George Mason University professor Dr. Gary Galluzzo during the course The Practice of Teaching  The D and R comment placed years of educational practice in a context that made a striking point.  That is, educators  are often attracted to an use a pedagogical trend before it is substantially researched. The key issue here is that education doesn’t have the time and structure to be an R and D field on the front lines. It would require a major strucutral change, that already exists is lab schools and is practiced in small scale action research. Change – societal, technological, professiona-  happens so quickly that a common outcome is that new instructional and assessment trends/practices remain in place without scrutiny, analysis, and reflection. In turn, they become part of the professional landscape despite their original claims being compromised.

An alternative opening to this post goes something like this.

The second music tape I bought was Paul Simon’s  1986 work Graceland. The last track on it is called “All Around the World orThe Myth of Fingerprints.”

“Somebody says, “What’s a better thing to do?”
Well, it’s not just me
And it’s not just you
This is all around the world”

 

Mythology exists in every profession.  Without investigation there is a risk of the myths becoming internalized among practitioners and transmitted as signature pedagogies.

Both beginnings take us to a recent discussion prompt posted on the NAFSA Linkedin discussion board. Written by an educational manager in Georgia, her question resurfaced a memory of mine that has lingered  for years.  It is a fabulous question, one which deserves more engagement by educators –

“What is the greatest myth in education?”

myth

 

 

 

 

Well, I don’t know if the list below touches on the greatest myth in education, but I think you will find an impressive list to choose from. As the school year comes to a close, this is a great time for professional reflection.  Is your county, school, department, or team promotingcrabs2 any of these myths as pedagogical fact or educational dogma? What are your personal beliefs?  How often do you stay informed on contemporary research in education?  How can you and your colleagues engage in this practice more often?

Those are a lot of questions, I know. But they are part of our professional practices and expectations. In order to help separate the crab meat from the crab (I am writing this along the Chesapeake Bay) you will find below some brief explanations and jumping points that I hope will provide a one way ticket out of mythology and into reality.

Enjoy!

 

1) Left and Right Brain:  People use it to self identify and demonstrate their ability to temet nosce (know thyself). But the obsession to categorize the world doesn’t hold up to scrutiny when it comes to the workings of our brain.   A 2012 article in Psychology Today  notes ” it’s become almost common knowledge that in most people the left brain is dominant for language. The right hemisphere, on the other hand, is implicated more strongly in emotional processing and representing the mental states of others. However, the distinctions aren’t as clear cut as the myth makes out – for instance, the right hemisphere is involved in processing some aspects of language, such as intonation and emphasis… it’s important to remember that in healthy people the two brain hemispheres are well-connected…Neuroscientists working in this field today are interested in how this coordination occurs.”

 

left right brain

Fast forward to the 2013 Roeper Review article by M. Layne Kalbfleisch & Charles Gillmarten titled “Left Brain vs. Right Brain: Findings on Visual Spatial Capacities and the Functional Neurology of Giftedness”

The article utilizes the concept of neuromyths defined as “a misconception generated by a misunderstanding, a misreading, or a misquoting of facts scientifically established (by brain research) to make a case for use of brain research in education and other contexts.” The authors’ focus on visual spatial capacities build off of 2008 research by Milivojevic. The significant conclusion of this study was, “results provide no evidence for hemispheric dominance for mental rotation” (Milivojevic et al., 2008, p. 953).

Futhermore, this article argues “hemispheric cooperation has been shown to be significantly more efficient and accurate, if not essential, for the completion of tasks” and that “pattern recognition itself involves multiple strategies and multiple different brain activation patterns corresponding to said strategies that are influenced by development as well as participant decision making.”

Checkout the full article by Klabfleisch and Gillmarten linked above. And, movign forward, be sure to raise both eyebrows when you hear claims about brain activity and education that limits functions in one hemisphere only.

 

2) Multiple Intelligences are an Instructional Strategy or Learning Style: Howard Gardner held divine status during my teacher prep years in the mid- 1990’s.  His Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory had taken the education world by storm and continues to be part of instructional practices and learning theory. Check out the rise in the use of the term “multiple intelligences” as graphed by the app Printed Ink, “With the help of Google Books, Printed Ink will graph any words or phrases, in a variety of languages, to show how frequently they have appeared in books during the last 500 years. This search of human culture through millions of books takes place in only a moment…”

 

I remember clearly when I knew the cult of Gardner (not his fault) had gone wrong.  I was sitting in a full school professional development session and administrators had charged the staff to make lessons in our content areas that address each of the 7 MI.

  • Problem two: MI was framed as a learning style and we, teachers, were charge with  designing separate lessons or activities that address each MI.  Bucketing the intelligences into separate groups was/is a mistake…they are not learning styles.  Gardner writes in a 2013 editorial “First, the notion of  ”learning styles”’ is itself not coherent. Those who use this term do not define the criteria for a style, nor where styles come from, how they are recognized/assessed/exploited…If people want to talk about ‘an impulsive style’ or ‘a visual learner,’ that’s their prerogative. But they should recognize that these labels may be unhelpful, at best, and ill-conceived at worst…”

So, what are MI?

According to Gardner, all individuals possess each of these intelligences to some extent, although individuals will differ in the degree of skills and in the nature of their combination.  Gardner stresses that it is the interaction between the different intelligences that is fundamental to the workings of the mind and that in the normal course of events, the intelligences actually interact with, and build upon, one another.

The main messages arising from Gardner’s model are set out below.

  • We are all born with a unique mix of all eight intelligences.
  • Intelligences combine in complex ways.
  • There are many ways to be intelligent within each category.
  • Most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency.
  • Schools tend to focus mainly on two intelligences, those associated with academic intelligence, that is, linguistic and logical/mathematical.
  • The school curriculum should be better balanced in order to reflect a wider range of intelligences.

So, you shouldn’t be creating a lesson plan that, for example, is the Music Intelligence one for the unit. Some MI lesson plans are found here. “Judicious and effective use of M.I. in your teaching may involve pairing two intelligences or grouping three in a lesson.

 

3) The Word “Analyze” and its Suggestion of Higher Cognitive Thinking.:  Analyze is among one of the most widely used terms in education. We ask students to analyze writing, images, events, themselves etc. But what does analyze it actually mean?  Often it gets used simply as a verb to invoke higher cognitive skills (see Bloom below).  But it seems analyze can be used as a synonym for “explain”. What do you actually expect form students when you ask them to analyze? Is there anything in this clip that resembles “analysis”?

 

The Cartesian tradition of breaking down ideas into smaller segments is indeed a tribute the Enlightenment world view.  This approach to analysis has been popularized by edu-speak, but seems to fall short of the ultimate goal of analysis.

For example, it would make sense after asking someone to analyze the effects of globalization on the economic and social structures of central Africa, to approach the phenomenon by identifying sub-categories. Beginning an analysis by nation, but institutions, by defining globalization etc. But analysis involves at least three more functions that are central to the fidelity of the term

  1. Contextualizing: Students should be able to identify parameters (spatial, temporal etc) to focus/limit their analysis.
  2. Relationships: Students should be able to describe and evaluate the importance of the relationships in their analysis.
  3. Provide insight: Students must be able to add their voice in the analysis. This can be a conclusion or criticism.

One way to illustrate effective (or not effective) analysis is to have students listen to sports announcers who are color “analysts” for their sport.  Does the personality success in these functions? What do they do well.  In the end, it is important to specify the expectations of analysis.  Or as Descartes put it:

“Analysis shows the true way by means of which the thing in question was discovered methodically and as it were a priori, so that if the reader is willing to follow it and give sufficient attention to all points, he will make the thing his own and understand it just as perfectly as if he had discovered it for himself.”

 

4) Blooms’ Taxonomy is a Learning Measurement Ladder: Benjamin Bloom authored his ubiquitous taxonomy in 1956. Officially titled Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Bloom influenced K-12 education for decades especially around verb usage. In 2001

blooms-taxonomy-comparison

The myths of the taxonomy are twofold.

1. Students must progress from the bottom up. Not the case.  Anyone can engage with an idea, event, experience etc. at any level. Student’s do not progress up the ladder to enlightenment. In fact, targeting at a higher level usually engages students with lower level.  Bloom is more about expectations we have for students and not an educational/cognition elevator where students advance from floor to floor.

2. Just by using a verb suggested each domain, you are stimulating students’ learning at that level. The taxonomy is matched with verbs that facilitate learning experiences (an example is listed here).

Unfortuately, you get educational organizations, in this case Teachervision, that make misleading claims like this “Use verbs aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy to create discussion questions and lesson plans that ensure your students’ thinking progresses to higher levels.” The belief/myth is that just by using the verb you are magically sent to a cognitive realm on Bloom’s taxonomy. Let’s try it out.

Sample: Compare and contrast these two photos (these verbs suggest Analysis level).

Answer: One picture is outside, one is inside.  One has a billboard, one doesn’t. Both have people in them.

Valid? Yes. Analysis? No.

So, it is imperative  that teachers ask students clear questions that have explicit dimensions required of student thought processes and outcomes (see Analyze above).  For example:

Compare and contrast the two photos. Include background knowledge, the context of each photo, and why they are being compared/contrasted. Lastly, what new knowledge did you learn, how did it help you understand history, and what has changed/remained the same today?

A much better question— Oh, and it could easily be used as an opening prompt/inquiry and need not wait to be used after students are “equipped” with the bottom levels  and have (supposedly) moved up Bloom.

 

5) “I have to say it for my students to learn it”: This sentiment is born out the pre-internet educational universe when teachers were the holders of most content knowledge. That paradigm is loooooonnnggg gone.  Sources of knowledge, are accessible anywhere and anywhen. But, identity is a powerful concept to challenge. The belief that, as a teacher, I have to say something for you to “learn” it doesn’t hold up. (In fact a deeper/larger question may be “Does there have to be teaching for there to be learning?”)

Regardless, the vision that knowledge gain is a one-way flow from Teacher —> Student is an anachronism.  Still, the myth (and maybe this is more of an insecurity or control aspect, not a unfounded belief) persists.

The burden of covering content comes from a perception of time and the role of teacher as the originator of content.  Let it go!  Let students engage with non-vocal sources of knowledge.  Accept the role of facilitator and not as oracle.

On any student list, every school year, the 150 + students all possess individual formulas for ways of knowing.

Three great reflective question for teachers to consider are:

  1. What are you doing to engage your students?
  2. What percentage of the class did you speak? Why was that too much/too little?
  3. What are your students’ learning networks (where do they get their information?)

 

 

So, it may be fitting to end this post on myths with another one. Sort of a myth within a myth.  The diagram above is the myth. Although it supports my last claim, it is a pop culture myth that looks authentic and comes equipped with an illusory, pseudo science, statistical halo.

The diagram  is known as the “Cone of Experience.” “Developed in 1946 by Edgar Dale. It provided an intuitive model of the concreteness of various audio-visual media. Dale included no numbers in his model and there was no research used to generate it. In fact, Dale warned his readers not to take the model too literally.”

For a full description, bounce here. And, lastly, for a big finish, see this Eddie Izzard skit that is similar to the non-researched message of the Cone of Experience!

Enjoy!

Content, Context, and Global Education: New World History Resources for High School Teachers

March 4, 2014 by · No Comments · Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Online Education, Professional Development

Contemporary educational paradigms, impacted by concepts of and outcomes from globalization, have inspired schools to establish their vision of the “global” typically housed in schools’ and districts’ mission statements.   Interpretations of global education vary in name, including, but not limited to qualifiers such as “citizenship”, “competency”, “awareness”, and “literacy.”  Of course, regardless of the wording,  how students are provided global  educational experiences  will be based on the commitment of the school community to the global turn.  At the low end is unsupported lip service to globalization in schooling.  On the flip side is a dedication to support integrated change within the system. This is no small feat consoderign that the structure is typically rigid and often restricted by expected outcomes which don’t complement the aspirations of global education.

Schools, however, are not destined to “go global” on their own. Multiple conferences and institutions promote ways of incorporating global perspectives in education. Explore the collection of instituions below  to get an idea of how global education can be brought to your school and what avenues would be the best method of implementation.

  •  World Savvy:  In a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before, the challenges and opportunities we face are becoming increasingly global in scope, and it is critical that our schools and educators teach for global competence, so all students can be prepared with the knowledge, skills and dispositions for success in the 21st century.
  • The Asia Society: The globalization of business, the advances in technology, and the acceleration of migration increasingly require the ability to work on a global scale. As a result of this new connectivity, our high school graduates will need to be far more knowledgeable about world regions and global issues, and able to communicate across cultures and languages
  • IIE: Peace and prosperity around the world depend on increasing the capacity of people to think and work on a global and intercultural basis. Take our quiz, see where you stand as a global citizen, and open your mind to the world.
  • Primary Source: Primary Source offers a rich variety of professional development programs for K-12 educators. With the aim of connecting teachers to people and cultures around the world, we provide learning opportunities in the content areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States.
  • P21: Learning from and working collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue in personal, work and community contexts.
  • IREX:  The Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) Program provides a year-long professional development opportunity for middle and high school teachers from the United States to participate in a program aimed at globalizing teaching and learning in their classrooms.

The Content/Curriculum Option

One belief the organizations listed above have in common concerns the use of content and curriclum standards to implement global education trends.  In History education, this often refers to the rethinking of the “nation” as the dominant unit of analysis or way to engage the past (a previous blog also addressed this idea).

For the example, in this the TED talk presented by Farleigh Dickinson professor Jason Scorza, the concept of the American Dream is internationalized, trans-nationalized, and even (wait for it) humanized. In essence, global perspectives on history content challenges that there is any such thing as a purely national event in the past.  Instead, the past is full of networks and systems that are not magicall limited by the borders of the nation-state.

Dr. Scorza’s flexible context, and varying thematic and perspective lenses problematizes the concept of the American Dream.  Also, did you note his two claims about how to define global education? Confronting the binary he establishes ultimately helps clarify an organization’s views and subsequent expectations for administrators, teachers, and students. However, it is his rendering of the past as a non-national place that ultimately provides a fruitful inroad to teaching the past from a global perspective.

Recently the College Board embraced this methodology  in their revision of the heralded AP US History course.  A new theme “US in the World” requires teachers to engage in historical renderings beyond the comfortable national narrative previously endorsed. Well done College Board. Here is what they say:

Learning Objectives by Theme:  America in the World (WOR) In this theme, students should focus on the global context in which the United States originated and developed as well as the influence of the United States on world affairs. Students should examine how various world actors (such as people, states, organizations, and companies) have competed for the territory and resources of the North American continent, influencing the development of both American and world societies and economies. Students should also investigate how American foreign policies and military actions have affected the rest of the world as well as social issues within the United States itself.

Ok, that looks good.  The teachers have been challenged. So where does that leave us?  The good news is there are robust content options and resources, especially in the field of World Hisotry that can be used to globalize the US History Survey.  The four I have listed below provide a raneg of resources, lesson, links etc that can be adapted and easily implemented to your US, Regional, and World History courses.  Take a look at what they offer and enjoy!
  • The Global Campaign For Education, US Chapter:   The Coalition promotes access to education as a basic human right and mobilizes the public to create political will in the U.S. and internationally to improve education for the world’s poorest children. GlobalCampaignEducation  They utilize this global competency matrix for their curriculum and resources, Lesson For All.  The Lesson for All curriculum for high school has a series of 9 lessons for History/Geography, Economics, and Government/Civics.    The resources provide relevant, problem based lessons which seek to develop students’ critical thinking and application of knowledge.  Together they establish a forum to synthesize pedagogical best practices, instructional design, global perspectives, and social studies content.  Overall,  the modules seek to empower students by having them contextualize their educational realities,  construct meaning about their learning experiences in the past and present, and envision a pathway for their future.
  •  Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean:  The Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University is pleased to announce the release of Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean: A World History Curriculum Project for Educators. The work provides oursharedpasteducators with a set of interdisciplinary lesson materials featuring the geography and history of the Mediterranean in the context of world history from ancient times to the present. The Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean curriculum is free under Creative Commons License and available online.  The resources are currently being piloted by teachers and received great feedback from World Historian Patrick Manning, Andrew Mellon Professor of World History at the University of Pittsburgh, found the project helpful to the world history teaching profession, writing:
     “The modules and the process of preparing them are exemplary in gathering a wide range of educational materials on the Mediterranean over a long period of time, in world-historical context…It is a really rich collection of materials, showing the degree to which historical scholarship has advanced on many aspects of Mediterranean history, and giving teachers and students a feast of possibilities in linking the many types of information into a comprehensive picture of the unfolding of life in this region.
  •  The Alliance for Learning in World History:   The Alliance is a collaboration of educators and history scholars organized to advance the teaching and learning of world history in classroomshands—in the U.S. and in every part of the world. The Alliance is anchored at the University of Pittsburgh, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).In curriculum, the Alliance seeks to replace outdated existing courses – treating  world history as a sequence of isolated civilizations – with curricula that address the global and interactive development of human society, relying on the latest historical research. In professional development, the Alliance encourages comprehensive programs for in-service teachers that bring them to a high level in working with historical thinking skills and in becoming familiar with world-historical content and debates. In educational research, the Alliance supports critical study of every
    aspect of the learning process: student learning, learning by teachers, and teacher preparation.

 

  • Global Issues: Connecting content to the present is an effective way to make studying the past relevant and encourgaes students to construct meaning about what they stglobal issuesudy. This website presents numerous global issues, aiming to show how they are inter-related. The topics are common global ones; the environment, nuclear profliferation, poverty, human rights…  In addition to the blogs unique articles, it provides a robust set of links and features news articles from arond the world.

Face to Faith: The Best Global Education Instructional Practice/Program Your School Should Have

February 8, 2014 by · No Comments · Global Education, Instructional Practices

In a blog post about 18 months ago I suggested that National History Day was the best history education program your school couldF2f2have.  Today’s post makes the case for the Best Global Education program your school’s social studies/history teachers (and other departments) should be using.  That program is called “Face to Faith” (F2F).

As a curriculum specialist, I find the program to be a unique synthesis of pedagogical best practices currently emphasized by a range of educational paradigms.  F2F allows teachers to combine technology, global competencies, critical thinking, and academic conversations in a student centered exercise that explicitly develops a skill set transferable beyond the classroom.  The F2F program was highlighted in our district’s “Instructional Spotlight” segment during an October, 2013 School Board meeting. The video of that presentation is below and the F2F segment begins at the 35th minute.

 

I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, about the F2F program.  After reading the interview I urge you to reach out to F2F (contact information below) and give your students the opportunity to engage in the best authentic global education experience available.It is a high school memory they will NEVER forget.   Enjoy!

1)      Describe how you got involved and your role with F2F.

About six years ago, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation contacted me for advice about launching their new education initiative called “Face to Faith” in American schools.  I looked carefully at the program and was greatly impressed with the creative use of technology, the innovative approach to study about religions and global issues, and the focus on empowering student voice.

I immediately offered to do whatever I could to encourage the adoption of Face to Faith in public and private schoolsHaynes_Charles__11 in the United States.  For me personally, F2F is a natural extension of my efforts over the past two decades to encourage more study about religions in schools and to promote First Amendment principles of free speech and freedom of religion.

My role as U.S. advisor to the program is to help ensure that public schools understand that Face to Faith is not only consistent with First Amendment principles, but it advances those principles by educating students about the religious and ethnic diversity in our country and world.  Dispelling ignorance about faiths and beliefs – ignorance that is a root cause of intolerance and hate – is critical to protecting freedom of religion for people of all faiths and none.

My first step as an advisor was to bring on board key civil liberties and education groups to signal broad support for Face to Faith as a sound academic program that is greatly needed in schools.  Today, the Advisory Board includes people from across the political and religious spectrum – from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Center for Law and Justice – and from leading education associations, including the National Council for the Social Studies and the National School Boards Association.

 

2)      How do you describe F2F to people?

Face to Faith is a creative way to help accomplish some of the key aims of education in the 21st century such as preparing students to engage in civil dialogue across differences, educating students about the religious and cultural diversity in our country and around the world, and exploring solutions to global issues of shared concern to people everywhere. Moreover, Face to Faith uses technology – videoconferencing and on-line community – to give students meaningful opportunities to express their beliefs and values and to learn about the beliefs and values of others.

Religious and ethnic differences are at the heart of most of the world’s violent conflicts.  And in our own country, religious and ideological differences fuel culture wars and divide communities.  That’s why Face to Faith is not just another education program – nor is it an “add-on” to what overworked teachers must already do. Rather, Face to Faith helps schools do what they must do: Break down barriers by giving students the civil skills to negotiate deep differences with civility and respect.

 

3)      Can you share some of your favorite experiences or stories you have heard about F2F being used in the classroom?

I have been inspired by the transforming power of Face to Faith in the lives of students.  A few examples:

Early in my work with F2F, I heard from students in New York who participated in videoconferences and online dialogue with students in Ramallah and discovered firsthand what it means to live in a land of conflict and division – and what it means to seek understanding across very deep differences.

More recently, I sat in on an exchange between students in Utah and students in the Philippines about how it feels to be a religious f2f 4minority in a society with a predominate faith.  By the end of the discussion, it was clear that the exchange made some in the majority faith more aware of the need to be sensitive to those of other faiths and beliefs in their own classroom.

A couple of years ago, students in a California private school decided to connect with a public school in Utah – a place and culture they knew little about and didn’t understand.  At the end of the videoconference, a gay student in California spoke up to say that he used to think everyone in Utah disliked gay people (because of the Mormon church’s involvement in the California fight over same-sex marriage).  But the videoconference helped him to see that people can have different views about faith and values but still treat each other with respect.

Face to Faith teaches empathy, promotes understanding, and builds trust.  As one student put it:  “Even though religions don’t have the same laws, beliefs and concepts, Face to Faith has taught me that people hundreds of miles away are going through the same experiences as me.”

4)      What does F2F offer students, teachers, schools? Advantages, possibilities etc…

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation provides Face to Faith at no cost to schools.  This includes free facilitated videoconferencing, secure and monitored online community, and a menu of teaching modules on global issues such as wealth, poverty and charity, the environment and the art of expression. Each module exposes students to the ways in which the major religious traditions of the world understand global issues. All of the modules use state-of-the-art cooperative learning strategies and provide civic engagement opportunities tied to the social justice issues raised in the modules.

Face to Faith is a valuable resource for teachers of world history, geography, civics and government, global studies, and world religions.  In some schools, Face to Faith is also a club that meets during or after school.  Teachers are fully supported by the Face to Faith team, providing regular professional development opportunities, technical support, and teaching resources.

Students develop skills in respectful dialogue, active listening, and conflict management.  They have opportunities to build relationships and exchange ideas with their peers around the world in a secure online community.

 

5)      Talk about the F2F network. Where have you grown and what are your objectives for expansion?

Face to Faith is currently being used by some 800 schools in 19 countries: Australia, Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore, UAE, UK, Kosovo, Ukraine and USA.

More than 100 American public and private schools are involved in Face to Faith.  A plan is underway to expand F2F in the U.S. to F2f 31,000 over the next three years.

 

6)      Who should get involved and how do schools get involved with F2F?

Face to Faith is for students 12-17 and is appropriate for use in public and private schools.  It is most often integrated into the social studies curriculum, but it may also be used in other courses or as a school club.

To learn more about Face to Faith, visit www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org.  To get involved, register your interest on that web site and the Face to Faith team will contact you.  You may also write Kristen Looney, U.S. Coordinator for F2F, who is happy to answer any questions (Kristen.looney@tonyblairfaithfoundation.org)

 

7)      How do you advise schools/teachers that are hesitant to get involved because of the word “faith”?

Face to Faith is not a “religion program”; it is an educational program designed to teach about religions and beliefs in ways consistent with the First Amendment.  The focus of Face to Faith is education for peace and understanding across differences.  Students of all faiths and no faith are given opportunities to learn from one another and confront issues of shared concern through direct interaction.  Using civil dialogue to learn about religions and beliefs promotes cross-cultural understanding, encourages student voice, and promotes religious freedom.

If any public school teacher or administrator has questions about the First Amendment framework for using Face to Faith, feel free to write me at chaynes@newseum.org

 

Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC.  Over the past two decades, he has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religious liberty in schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious, civil liberties, and educational organizations. He is author or co-author of six books, including, most recently, First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights in America.  His column, “Inside the First Amendment,” appears in newspapers nationwide. He is Chairman of the Character Education Partnership Board of Directors, serves on the Steering Committee of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and chairs the Committee on Religious Liberty. He is U.S. Advisor for Face to Faith, a program of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.  Dr. Haynes holds a B.A. from Emory University, a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Emory University.