A Usable Past: History, Teaching, and Students’ World Views

Welcome to the 2018 -2019 school year, and the first post of the season.  I hope your summer was inspiring, fun, and rejuvenating.  Mine was… for many reasons.  But, for this post, there were two events I participated in that I will not soon forget.  I want to thank my colleagues involved in these experiences and  share our learning with you.  Enjoy and have a great school year.

So, when to start?  How about June.  The cover page for Foreign Affairs that month asked the question “Which World Are We Living In?” Wow!  What a question to ask.  Ultimately, this article is asking us to think about our worldview.  But more importantly, the question recognizes that our understanding of the past directly impacts our understanding of reality.  That is phenomenal – and answers very explicitly the question “why do we study history?”

Back to the Foreign Affairs article, the options the issue provides come from a selection of scholars  and include the following 6 choices”

I encourage you to read the article, but more importantly I ask that you think about this question in relation to your context:

“Are the history courses you teach, support, or take framed in a way to make the connection between the past and present explicit and ask students to construct their world view?”

This question invites us to think about the concept “a usable past.” The primary aspect of a usable past recognizes that we construct our understanding of the past based on our knowledge of the past. Friedrich Nietzsche examined this in his 1874 work On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life (another informative piece can be found here).  

That video was superb and is a great example of student work contributing to public knowledge. This brings me to my first summer experience I mentioned above. On to Pittsburgh, PA and the Alliance for Learning in World History meeting at U. Pitt. Hosted by Dr. Molly Warsh, Associate Director of the World History Center the gathering of educators discussed contemporary teaching and learning in world history and its usability beyond the classroom.  Indeed the AHA Tuning Project has been tackling these ideas in the recent past,  Additionally, Dr. Bob Bain  emphasized the need for history teachers to be competent in shifting scale, or levels of analysis, and teach this thinking to students.  He calls this the ability to move from “parachutists to truffle-hunters” (very useful imagery) in order to determine relevance, but more importantly, to use this thinking model in their lives.  David Neumann comments on this in a 2010 article stating:

“How can the competing demands of the large-scale and the small-scale be managed? As teachers seek to create texture by considering case studies around which to build lessons, they should regularly ask, “How well does this reflect larger patterns?” The right case study will draw students in through interesting people and lively events. If it is carefully chosen, it can simultaneously illustrate much larger patterns. Such an approach only works if teachers first establish a context for scale in their classroom.”

Great. To  summarize, a developing the ability to think on “scales of analysis” in history is useful tool that makes the past more readily usable for our present world view.  I look forward to the future work of the ALWH and if you ever go to the steel city, please stop by the fantastic Cathedral of Learning at U.Pitt and check out their nationality rooms which are still active classrooms.

 

Now, let’s fast forward to August and move to Radford University in southern Virginia. This was the site of a brilliant small global education event (150 participants), the third annual “R U World Ready” conference. I had the pleasure of presenting on the intersection of project based learning and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (You can access my slide deck here).   The energy of the conference struck a chord with me regarding the usable past idea that was center stage in my mind just 2 months earlier.   Here is how I would summarize my belief on education entering the conference:

Teach about the past in a way that develops your students’ world view in the present.  

But, I came to a realization that this wasn’t good enough. It felt incomplete.  By the time I left the conference only a image.pngfew hours after my arrival, my belief had evolved to the following:

Teach about the past in a way that develops your students’ world view to

understand the globalized present so that they have agency in the future.   

That feels better, for now at least. Check out the R U Ready mission: “The conference serves the needs of pre-service and practicing educators striving to develop global competencies for themselves as well as their own students entering a rapidly changing and interconnected world. ”

At the center of this event was a captivating  keynote address from Program Director of Liaison America, Sandra Lima Argo. Liaison America builds global competencies through programming that nurtures the “personal, cultural and professional enrichment in the life of each participant, helping them to expand their global knowledge and stimulate their sensitivity to different ways of learning and seeing the world.” 

But it was one of Argo’s slides which triggered the shift in my belief I mentioned earlier.  It’s simplicity, as is often with inspiration, was profound.

  

The top level, global teacher, is what is needed in order to prepare students for tomorrow. Every teacher should be providing students with global experiences in their classes.Failure to do this prepares students for yesterday and develops a world view that doesn’t use the past as a tool for the future but as an obstacle in their present.

So, as you start the school year, my hope is that you empower your students with the skills to understand any of the worlds mentioned in Foreign Affairs,  and better yet, to conceptualize world narratives and global realities not yet realized.

8 Questions With the Religious Freedom Center

This weekend I re-watched President Obama’s eulogy  for South Carolina state Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was one of nine victims in the June 17, 2015, shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. If you haven’t watched, it I have included the complete eulogy below. Amazing Grace indeed.

 

Empathy, knowledge,  goodness toward the “other”, open minds and hearts…  all of these are traits and behaviors  to seek and internalize – especially for our students.  To help with this, I recently had the pleasure of asking Benjamin Marcus, Religious Literacy Specialist with the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute to share his work and offers ideas about how educators can connect with the center.

Ben has authored articles for EdWeek which provide a concise summary of how we approach religious literacy work in teachers’ lessons as well as six guidelines for teaching about religion.

Our exchange is below.  Be sure to share this post with your network and reach out to Ben to see how teachers and students in any class can be better prepared in a diverse, interconnected globalized world. Enjoy!

 

1) Can you provide an overview of how the Religious Freedom Center came to be?

We owe our existence to Dr. Charles Haynes. We are indebted to his decades of experience gathering religious, civic, and educational organizations—from across the political, ideological, and religious spectrum—to write consensus statements and guidelines about religious freedom and the study of religion in public schools. Dr. Haynes and his Benjamin P.colleagues recognized the need to provide clarity about religion in public schools amidst the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, which followed a number of U.S. Supreme Court decisions about religion and education in the 1960s. Our Center inherited and builds on the legacy of the consensus documents compiled by Haynes.

Reorganized in 2010 to expand on religious liberty initiatives begun by Dr. Haynes at the First Amendment Center in 1994, the Religious Freedom Center is a nonpartisan national initiative focused on educating the public about the religious liberty principles of the First Amendment.

We are pleased to be part of the Freedom Forum Institute family, which is the educational and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum. The Freedom Forum—dedicated to free press, free speech, and free spirit—is a nonpartisan foundation that champions the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

 

 

2) What are some of the connections among the USA’s founding, religion, and public education?

It is impossible to tell an accurate history of public education in the United States without talking about religion. For a compelling, clear history of the relationship between religion and public education, I refer people to Between Church and State: Religion & Public Education in a Multicultural America by James W. Fraser. In the book, Fraser Related imagedescribes how public education pioneer Horace Mann designed common schools—early versions of today’s public schools—as a site of a “tolerant” form of “religious education” that would be appropriate in a multi-religious nation. Since Mann’s work in the 19th century, Americans have sought to create public schools that are more and more inclusive of students of all religions and none. We have seen schools transition from curricula that favor Protestants of various denominations in the 19th century; to schools that assume a student population of Protestants and Catholics (and sometimes Jews) in the early- to mid- 20th century; to schools from the 1960’s to today that wrestle with what it means to neither favor nor disfavor religion, including any particular religion, or non-religion.

 

 

3) How do you reply to claims that religion should not be part of public education?

We differentiate between teaching religion  confessionally to make students more or less religious, and teaching about religion academically so that students understand how religion operates in private and public life. Teaching religion is unconstitutional, whereas the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the legitimacy of teaching about religion. In the landmark decision Abington v. Schempp (1963), Justice Tom Clark wrote:

It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.

At the Religious Freedom Center, we are convinced that education about religion is not only constitutional; education about religion is necessary for understanding the world around us, whether or not we are religious ourselves.

 

4)  Yes, the distinction between teaching religion as dogma and as an academic pursuit.  In turn, how does the study of religion support efforts by schools to implement global citizenship and cultural competency programs?

According to the American Academy of Religion’s 2010 guidelines for teaching about religion, religious literacy is defined as “the ability to discern and analyze the intersection of religion with social, political, and cultural life.” This definition inextricably links the study of religion with the study of culture. If our students are to understand history or contemporary politics and culture, they must understand religion and the relationship between religious communities. If students are to live productive, respectful lives in a religiously diverse democracy and an increasingly interconnected world, they need to know about how religion motivates and sustains people in a fractured era. Students—who may be religious or atheists, who may live in deeply religious communities or pervasively secular cities—also need to recognize that not everyone belongs to a religious community.

The academic study of religion will enrich schools’ efforts to cultivate students’ global competency and cultural literacy. We do not expect schools to create standalone religion courses. Instead, we hope that schools will think about how to integrate the study of religion in existing curricula. For example, think about how much richer a lesson about the American Civil Rights Movement or the partition of India would be if students consider the religious forces at work.

 

5) Please share some successes you and the Religious Freedom Center have had in the K-12 education world.

We are delighted that the National Council for the Social Studies approved the Religious Studies Companion Document as an official part of the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards in June 2017. This document is the first of its kind adopted by a major national education organization. Teachers and administrators can refer to the guidelines to learn about the disciplinary concepts and skills related to the academic study of religion that students should master by the time they graduate high school.

This was a collaborative effort of an eight-person writing team, a thirty-person advisory committee, and our partners at the American Academy of Religion. I was proud to chair the writing committee of that document in my capacity at the Religious Freedom Center, and I am thrilled to see that some districts around the country have already begun to align their curricula with the guidelines.

6) The Pew Center’s 2014 study on religious affiliation in the USA is pasted above. If a teacher,department, or school wants to get involved with you, what are the opportunities to do so?

We provide a number of training opportunities and curricular resources for K-12 educators. Educators might enroll in a graduate-level, semester-long class with the Religious Freedom Center designed to train teachers to teach about religion. If they do not have time for a semester-long class, they might choose to logon to our professional development website, Constitution2Classroom.org. There they can enroll in our free, on-demand, self-paced professional development modules, each of which take roughly one hour to complete and include videos, readings, interactive games, and reflection questions. Our online modules cover topics related to religious freedom concerns in schools, religious literacy, and civil dialogue.

Teachers might also choose to arrange a consultation between the Center and their department, district or school. We often organize live professional development workshops—at your school, in the Newseum, or via Zoom.

If educators are interested in working with us in a way not listed here, we encourage them to reach out to us so that we can discuss their request in greater detail.

Last but not least, we encourage educators to visit our website, ReligiousFreedomCenter.org, to access free guidelines, consensus statements, and classroom resources about religion and public education.

 

7) What’s on the horizon for the Religious Freedom Center in the immediate future and beyond?

This summer the Religious Freedom Center has partnered with the National Council for the Social Studies to offer a Religious Studies Summer Institute from July 10-12 in Washington, DC. Participants will broaden their professional competence with the disciplinary concepts and tools of religious studies, and they will increase their confidence in teaching about religion in constitutionally appropriate ways. Educators can register online.

We are also pleased to work with the Society of Biblical Literature to create academically rigorous and constitutionally appropriate lesson plans about the Bible and related topics for U.S. history and world history Image result for freedom center dcclassrooms. SBL is the world’s largest association of scholars who study the Bible from an academic perspective. Teachers should contact us for a copy of those lesson plans, which should be available mid-summer.

Beyond this summer, we plan to deepen and broaden our relationship with schools and districts interested in teaching about religion. We are incredibly lucky to have a variety of training opportunities and resources available for educators. Our goal now is to spread the word as far and wide as possible.

 

8) Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

The Religious Freedom Center is here to support you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or requests. We would love to work with you. In an increasingly polarized age, students need the knowledge and skills to navigate difficult questions related to religion and public life. Our future as a productive, rights-based, religiously diverse country depends on it.

 

Thank you Ben.  I look forward to our continued work together.  Each opportunity has benefited our teachers, students, and my work in social studies education. I encourage readers to reach out to Ben and the Religious Freedom Center.  Their support will help prepare students to be successful in the future. 

12 Digital History Projects That Will Make You Say WOW!

… And by “WOW!” I mean: Wow, I need to use these with my students.  OR …Wow, I need to share these with my colleagues.  OR Wow, I  am inspired to develop my own digital history project.  Of course a synthesis of all 3 is the sweet spot. That was the course of action leading to the development of my US History in a Global Context project. 

What is digital history? Indeed, defining your terms is usually a great place to start.  I have found these explanations to be useful and bring moments of clarity which ultimately furthers the conversation and utility of these types of projects.

  1. The American Historical Association: “Digital history might be understood broadly as an approach to examining and representing the past that works with the new communication technologies of the computer, the internet network, and software systems.”
  2.  Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University  “Digital history is an approach to examining and representing the past that takes advantage of new communication technologies such as computers and the Web. It draws on essential features of the digital realm, such as databases, hypertextualization, and networks, to create and share historical knowledge.”

I have had the pleasure of working on multiple digital history projects.   So, let’s  look a bit further and see what formats digital history projects can take.  In short, when we discuss digital history, we can be referencing a number of types and purposes.  The common aspects being that they are accessible to the public and organized around a theme(s). This list comes (in part) from the Organization of American Historians.

  • Archive: a site that provides a body of primary sources. Could also include collections of documents or databases of materials.
  • Essay, Exhibit, Digital Narrative: something created or written specifically for the Web or with digital methods, that serves as a secondary source for interpreting the past by offering a historical narrative or argument. This category can also include maps, network visualizations, or other ways of representing historical data.
  • Teaching Resource: a site that provides online assignments, syllabi, other resources specifically geared toward using the Web, or digital apps for teaching, including educational history content for children or adults, pedagogical training tools, and outreach to the education community.
  • Gateway/Clearinghouse: a site that provides access to other websites or Internet-based resources.
  • Podcasts: video and audio podcasts that engage audiences on historical topics and themes.
  • Games: challenging interactive activities that educate through competition or role playing, finding evidence defined by rules and linked to a specific outcome. Games can be online, peer-to- peer, or mobile.

 

Wonderful!    With classrooms having access to computers and moving to 1:1 formats, quality digital resources is in demand. The good news is that they are out there.  But these are only good if they get used.  To that end, I have curated a collection of digital history projects that are designed for high school and higher education history and social studies classes.  These selections offer a variety of implementation pathways allowing immediate use with students (either in full or in part).  Additionally, these would be relevant for history/social science methods classes.

Here is one more general resource, a short video, to help frame and advance your understanding before you dive into the digital history resources.


What project did I miss?  What do you think of these?  Let me know and contact the project designers so they know who is using the resource they created.  Enjoy!

1. The 68.77.89 Project: Arts, Culture, and Social Change: Created by The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, this resource was just launched in early 2018! Students will be challenged to apply the lessons from the experiences of Czechs and Slovaks to better understand issues of democracy today and their responsibility for preserving democracy for the future. 68.77.89 is designed for students in grades 9-12. It provides a set of 12 learning activities in 4 modules that meet Common Core, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate standards. The activities can be used as a set designed to be used together, or in single modules as free-standing lessons. Images of the 4 modules is below.

 

2. The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database:  This is a remarkable tool which synthesizes data with visualization formats very effectively.   The database “has information on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. In order to present the trans-Atlantic slave trade database to a broader audience, particularly a grade 6-12 audience, a dedicated team of teachers and curriculum developers from around the United States developed lesson plans that explore the database. Utilizing the various resources of the website, these lessons plans allow students to engage the history and legacy of the Atlantic slave trade in diverse and meaningful ways.  Here is one example of a search I did.

3. Slavery Images:  Don’t let the simple look of this collection dissuade you. It is a remarkable resource! “The 1,280 images in this collection have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. This collection is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public.”  The search feature is easy and inviting.  This photo is from their collection. Powerful indeed. Interior courtyard, where captive Africans were assembled, and “Gate of No Return,” the passageway through which they were led to the beach and from there to slaving vessels waiting offshore. (Photographed by Michael Tuite in Ghana; Aug. 1999)

 

 

4. Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean: This is an intriguing world history curriculum.  Given the unique geography of the transitions currently underway in the Middle East (several geographically contiguous North African states) and the likelihood that interactions between Europe, northern Africa, Turkey, and the Arab world will constitute a vitally important sub-region of globalization going forward, new cross-Mediterranean tendrils of economic and civil society connectivity will be necessary to help anchor these transitions.  An outline of the modules can be viewed here.

5. Rethinking the Region: North Africa and the Middle East:   Another contribution to the field of world history, this project “analyzed the common categories used to describe and teach the Modern Middle East and North Africa in existing  World History textbooks. Based on this research, we offer robust alternatives for Grade 9-12 social studies teachers and multicultural educators that integrate new scholarship and curricula on the region. To this end, we examined the ways in which the region is framed and described historically, and  analyzed categories like the ‘rise and spread of Islam,’ the Crusades, and the Ottoman Empire. Narratives surrounding these events and regions tend to depict discrete and isolated civilizations at odds with one another. To remedy this oversimplification, our work illuminates the manners in which peoples and societies interacted with each other in collaborative and fluid ways at different political and historical junctures.

6. Histography“Histography” is interactive timeline that spans across 14 billion years of history, from the Big Bang to 2015. The site draws historical events from Wikipedia and self-updates daily with new recorded events. The interface allows for users to view between decades to millions of years. The viewer can choose to watch a variety of events which have happened in a particular period or to target a specific event in time. For example you can look at the past century within the categories of war and inventions. Histography was created as a final project in Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Guided by Ronel Mor.  Below is a screenschot of the platform.

Histography

 

7. American Yawp: “In an increasingly digital world in which pedagogical trends are de-emphasizing rote learning and professors are increasingly turning toward active-learning exercises, scholars are fleeing traditional textbooks… The American Yawp offers a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook designed for college-level history courses. Unchecked by profit motives or business models, and free from for-profit educational organizations, The American Yawp is by scholars, for scholars. All contributors—experienced college-level instructors—volunteer their expertise to help democratize the American past for twenty-first century classrooms.”  This is being used in high schools as well. Also, you can offer insights and edits for the editors to consider.

8. Mapping American Social Movements in the 20th Century: “This project produces and displays free interactive maps showing the historical geography of dozens of social movements that have influenced American life and politics since the start of the 20th century, including radical movements, civil rights movements, labor movements, women’s movements, and more. Until now historians and social scientists have mostly studied social movements in isolation and often with little attention to geography. This project allows us to see where social movements were active and where not, helping us better understand patterns of influence and endurance. It exposes new dimensions of American political geography, showing how locales that in one era fostered certain kinds of social movements often changed political colors over time.”  The screenshot below shows a sample of an interactive map.  Fantastic!

9. Eagle Eye Citizen:  Made by the invaluable team at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Eagle Eye engages middle and high school students in solving and creating interactive challenges about Congress, American history, civics, and government with Library of Congress primary sources. This helps develop students’ civic understanding and historical thinking skills.  It is highly interactive and invites students and teachers to use existing challenges and develop their own.

10.  Mapping the 4th of JulyMapping the Fourth of July is a crowdsourced digital archive of primary sources that reveal how Americans celebrated July 4 during the Civil War era.  These sources reveal how a wide range of Americans — northern and southern, white and black, male and female, Democrat and Republican, immigrant and native born — all used the Fourth to articulate their deepest beliefs about American identity during the great crisis of the Civil War… Whether you teach at the college or high school level, your students will jump at the chance to learn about how a previous generation of Americans celebrated the Fourth. (Yes, there were fireworks!) These are engaging documents that open up big themes: North-South differences; the causes and consequences of the Civil War; African American experiences of emancipation. On our website you’ll find standards-based assignment guidelines that make it easy to integrate it into your courses.

 

11. Back Story:  Incredible podcast focusing on American history topics in a range of contexts. The hosts are fun, informed, and engaging.   BackStory is a weekly podcast that uses current events in America to take a deep dive into our past. Hosted by noted U.S. historians, each episode provides listeners with different perspectives on a particular theme or subject – giving you all sides to the story and then some. Also,  a resources icon indicates that the episode has educator resources available. Use BackStory in your classroom! Just go to the episode archives and filter by episodes with resources.

 

12. Woodrow Wilson Center – Cold War International History Project:

This resource feels like the “godfather” of digital history projects. “Since its establishment in August 1991, the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) has amassed a tremendous collection of archival documents on the Cold War era from the once secret archives of former communist countries. CWIHP has become internationally recognized as the world’s preeminent resource on the Cold War.” The help organize and search the trove of documents, you search using a map, timeline (going back to 1866… great extended context) and contains over 30 featured collections (sample below).

BYkids, Global Competency, & Student Voice: An Interview with Holly Carter

What are the stories your students hear about education?  I love that question.  I have found, however, that it isn’t a question educators frequently address despite recognizing the importance of messaging.   We should be able to share a compelling story about the “why” of education with students, parents, colleagues and anyone in our local or global communities.  This means that educators must devote time to reflect up, craft, and apply a compelling and meaningful story about the purpose of education.

 

But what would happen if we play with that question a bit and ask “What are the stories students tell about education?”  Hmm?!   The question certainly shifts the agency of education being done by students instead of education being done to them.  Such a shift creates a broader range  of possibilities, interpretations, and outcomes.  In short, the singular (outcomes, narrative, purpose, vision etc.) is supplanted by the multi.  This sentiment has been been engaged with millions of times in the popular 2009 Ted Talk: The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

This brings me to this post’s guest interview with Holy Carter.  I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing global education with here at the Institute for International Education in New York City.

Ms. Carter is the founder and executive director of BYkids, a non-profit organization that provides kids around the world with the training and equipment to make short documentaries about their lives. BYkids believes that we can understand the world’s challenges — and how to best meet them — through the personal stories of young people. Their Season One films aired on public television on more than 170 channels in 107 markets, in 64 million American households.

Holly started her career at The New York Times and has worked for 30 years as a journalist, editor, documentary filmmaker, fundraiser and non-profit leader.Before founding BYkids, Holly ran the Global Film Initiative, a foundation bringing feature films from the developing world to major cultural institutions across the country in an effort to promote cross-cultural understanding.

Prior to that from 1999 to 2003, she produced Media Matters, a monthly PBS magazine show about journalism and concurrently worked as a consultant for The After-School Corporation, a non-profit initiative founded by George Soros that brings quality after-school programs to New York City public schools. In 1999, Carter co-founded North Carolina’s Full Frame Festival, which has grown to become the largest documentary film festival in the world.

The BYKids website can be found here.  Enjoy!

 

  1. Holly, tell us about your background and views on global citizenship education?

I started my career as a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist at The New York Times and have worked for 30 years as a journalist, editor, documentary filmmaker, fundraiser and non-profit leader. I am interested in revolutionizing American education by teaching empathy and global citizenry to our students in a way they understand – through moving image. They spend their lives outside the classroom processing the world and expressing themselves through moving image. We need to speak to them in the language they use. Putting a textbook on a tablet is not innovative. Bringing short documentary films into their classroom and curriculum as a way for them to walk a mile is someone else’s shoes – now that has real impact. Once they feel the issues of the world, they can be guided to find solutions.

 

  1. Connecting students is indeed a key aspect of global education. How did BYkids get started?

 I started BYkids as a platform for the voiceless to share their voices. Kids are honest storytellers, yet their stories often go unheard. BYkids was created as a network of cross-cultural storytelling. By sharing the untold stories of children in countries like Nicaragua about climate change or Mozambique about AIDS, we engage a younger audience in a global discussion to teach the intangible qualities like empathy and tolerance.

 

  1. Can you share some examples of schools using BYkids and the impact it had on students, teachers, and the community?

Our films and curricula are distributed to over 100 million viewers and students around the country.

Season One of FILMS BYKIDS is a partnership between THIRTEEN, the flagship station of PBS, and BYkids, a non-profit organization, bringing the voice of five young filmmakers from different cultures to a wider audience through the power and reach of public media. In addition, we do many live screening and panel discussions, using our films as a conversation spark.

Last year, for example, we were invited to Bergen Country, NJ for Anti-Violence Week to screen and discuss POET AGAINST PREJUDICE, a story told by a young Yemeni immigrant to Brooklyn who finds a creative outlet for self-expression in a post 9/11 world. The young filmmaker was like a rock star to the thousands of high school students. In fact, the film and resulting conversation left some young audience members in tears. By watching Faisa’s inspiring response to discrimination, the kids sitting in the front row had tears rolling down their cheeks. The film reached their hearts and left them changed with a new perspective on this all too relevant issue of Islamophobia and the struggles of new immigrants.

WATCH THE TRAILER for  POET AGAINST PREJUDICE HERE 

 

  1. What is next for BYkids and what is your vision for the future of the program?

BYkids is currently working on its upcoming Season Two to include films about climate change ravaging coffee growing in Nicaragua (see trailer below), forced child marriage in Senegal, the Syrian refugee crisis, modernity in Bhutan and the juvenile justice system in the U.S.

We look to continue to start meaningful conversations around these globally relevant issues and innovate in the education space so that our students are engaged emotionally in the world around them.

By continuing to produce films, we are expanding our community of young leaders and introducing more overlooked stories throughout the world. Our future is strong with the continued support of our contributing BYkids family.

 

 

  1. If you could make one change in education, what would that be?

 Education should promote open-mindedness by teaching empathy. Our films show lives different from most audience members and children in American schools. Things that seem foreign at first, like growing up on a struggling coffee bean farm or falling victim to a longstanding tradition of child marriage, become more relatable and seemingly real through our films. My hope for education is that, like at BYkids, it does not stray from a sometimes different or uncomfortable truth, and teaches through an honest lens.

 

  1. I love what BYkids offers. The penpals platform is one of my favorites. How can teachers get involved with BYkids?

Our films extend beyond one single screening in the classroom. Our various curricula help teachers turn viewing into action. On our website, we provide School Guides and Take Action Guides, in which teachers are encourages to add to the film’s viewing curriculum, to help expand the experience of each film, promoting students to react, think, reflect and engage after watching one of our films.

http://bykids.org/for-teachers/

PBS Learning Media has grade specific curricula for each film:

https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/films-bykids/#.WhG_87Q-egQ

PenPal Schools helps connect kids around the world through the films:

https://go.penpalschools.com/projects/the-world-through-my-eyes

Once the students have watched the film and learned about their peers from around the world, the teacher helps them get engaged with the issue and understand how to access their own voice.

This is all about the power of storytelling and listening.

Thank you Holly.   Films from BYkids can be purchased on Amazon. They would be a great addition to libraries, global ed programs, leadership courses and all academic courses.Be sure to follow ByKids on twitter @BYkids 

 

Making Global Education Visible

As we approach the start of 2018 I have been wondering about the successes educators have had with global education programs, competencies,  and citizenship.  A major reason that I have been thinking about the visibility of global education is from watching the Harvard Graduate School of Education event “Preparing Our Youth for a Better World: OECD PISA Global Competence Framework Launch”

The two plus hour event focuses on the introduction of global competence to the PISA test. (see image of that model below). Overall the event was very informative and inspiring.  But there is a specific message at the conference that I rewatched a few times starting at the 7:45 minute mark and going to about minute 42. Main takeaways from this segment are:

  • Collectively we have not done a good job convincing others of the need for global education
  • Global Education is not central to curriculum design
  • Success is in part being able to work with diverse people instead of being threatened by them
  • Measuring, quantifying, making things visible are a foundation for change
  • It is hard to make global competency tangible… once they are visible, you can start to have a disucssion

 

The simple message is a key reminder and call to action.  Visibility!  This harkens to two projects that have impacted my thinking on education.  Neither are directly related to global education models.  However, both emphasize the importance of agency as a core value for success.  Agency, to clarify is held by both teachers and students.

Related image1) Visible Learning:   John Hattie’s acclaimed work on what works for effective teaching and learning. “Visible Learning means an enhanced role for teachers as they become evaluators of their own teaching. Visible Teaching and Learning occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.

2) Making Thinking Visible:   “Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching thinking, begun at Harvard’s Project Zero, that develops students’ thinking dispositions, while at the same time deepening their understanding of the topics they study.” At the core of this practice is a collection of thinking routines and dispositions which promote student engagement and critical thinking.  This EL article summarizes the movement very well.

Too often, however, the story of a school’s practices and programs concerning global education is limited to the work  of a single or small Related imagegroup of teachers.  Indeed, these are important and valuable changes which (a) prepares students for the future and (b) frames K-12 education as part of the vanguard of profession as opposed to a one defined by lag.  Moreover, these teachers  are in a position to be leaders as their school adopts a broader systemic pivot towards global education.

As I write this I am thinking of a sentiment my school district promotes, “It will never be a perfect time for change.” Indeed, delaying a shift to global education is embracing lag and complacency as part of an organizational vision.  Instead, making global education part of a school’s mission and practice is part of the demands of globalization and the contemporary landscape.  If not now, when?

Take a look at this short clip that collects the views of “independent school professional” regarding measuring success in global education.  As you do keep in mind this question, “How visible do you think global education is in their schools?


Full disclosure, I wanted more. Save for a few anecdotes, I felt too little conviction and intent about global education being visible in their settings.  We can do more.  Schools, all types of them, do currently do more. To connect to how this post started, here are the categories PISA will be assessing through open ended prompts and scenarios not multiple choice questions:

 

So, how to make the shift?  How does global education become visible in schools?  The good news is that moving towards making global education visible  can be accomplished in any one or more of these areas:

Image result for magrittee globe

  • Assessment
  • Environment
  • Professional Learning
  • Instruction
  • Curriculum

 

I want to stress that the imperative for schools to provide experiences in teaching and learning that prepare students for the globalized world they will enter is both a moral and professional one.  When educators choose to ignore or not go this route indeed raises an eyebrow. I am always curious to know why educators choose not to do so. I haven’t found a reason valid or convincing enough to include here.

As 2018 begins it is time to take stock  of global education in your school. Where is global education visible in your school? Where can the focus become sharper?  How do you move a school towards one that prepares students for a globalized reality? Who/what are the boundaries?

To start to answer these questions, I suggest these two resources and I encourage you to consider using with your community as a self-assessment and beginning plan for change:

  1. ASCD Globally Competent Learning Continuum: an online self-reflection tool to help educators of all grade levels and content areas develop globally competent teaching practices. The GCLC provides 12 concrete globally competent teaching elements with descriptions of what each looks like at different levels of development.
  2. Primary Source, Building Global Schools ToolkitDrawing on decades of experience conducting global and multicultural professional development for educators, as well as input from teachers and administrators across the country, Primary Source developed these two guides: Related image

a)  ELEMENTS of a GLOBAL SCHOOL 

b) STEPS for GLOBALIZING your SCHOOL

 

 

I will end with a question, a challenge, and some additional resources to explore after the two above. Have a wonderful new year and enjoy!

  • QUESTION: What is your school/district’s story regarding preparing students for a global world?
  • CHALLENGE: Make global education visible in your school… today.  Make 2018 the year, January the month.
  • ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Global Illinois Scholar Certificate:  Wow.  What these teachers did is an inspiration… “In order to best prepare Illinois students for career and citizenship, they must learn to navigate and achieve in an increasingly competitive and globalized world. ”

Signature Pedagogies in Global Education:  In this study, we examine how exemplary teachers design signature learning experiences based on their understanding of (a) the world and why certain topics matter over others; (b) their disciplines and their standards in global terms; (c) the specific learning challenges that students confront when learning about the world; and (d) effective pedagogy.

Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program: This is a year-long professional development opportunity for U.S. elementary, middle, and high school teachers to develop skills for preparing students for a competitive global economy. Fulbright TGC equips teachers to bring an international perspective to their schools through targeted training, experience abroad, and global collaboration.  Apply for the 2018-2019 cohort here.

World Savvy Classrooms and GCC: The Classrooms program integrates the highest level of global competence learning into classrooms by combining professional development and consulting for educators with project-based learning for K-12 students. The Global Competency Certificate (GCC)  is the first-of-its-kind, graduate-level certificate program in global competence education for teachers.

Generation Global:  Video conferences immerse students in an entirely new experience. We connect classrooms across the world, allowing students to explore, articulate, and develop their own views, while encountering and considering the views of others. It is a safe space, with a trained facilitator to manage the flow of the discussion.

ISTE Global PLN: The Global Collaboration Network offers best-practice curriculum design to embed global learning experiences into everyday teaching. The community shares tools and methods, curriculum developments, and opportunities for collaborations.@ISTEglobalPLN 

iEARN: Since 1988, iEARN has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. Join interactive curriculum-based groups where students are creating, researching, sharing opinions and becoming global citizens.

Asia Society, Center for Global Education: The Center for Global Education at Asia Society has a vision that, in an interconnected global era, all youth from all countries and cultures will have the capacity to create, participate in, and benefit from a peaceful and prosperous world. These outcome tools and rubrics are invaluable.

 

Treats and Tricks to Transform Global Citizenship Education in Your School

Diogenes – I am a citizen of the world.

I am writing this blog while at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. Today they are offering a fantastic day on Trans Regional and Global Themes in Teaching: African, Latin American, Asian and Middle Eastern Perspectives.  Yes, I know what you are thinking “WOW!”

This event is made possible my one of the most amazing networks of teaching and learning – the National Resource Centers.  I strongly suggest that you add these groups to your network.

Today is also the culminating event  in a journey that began for me in August.  In mid-month I left for Budapest the day after my last post and flew back to the USA from Prague about two weeks later.  Since that trip and the start of the school year I have had the pleasure of discovering a multitude of resources that can transform your class and students learning.

I am not using the word “transform” loosely by the way.  I am convinced that the combined quality , application, and range of items below will cause you to pause and think about both your practice and how you provide your students with experiences in global citizenship education.

The collection of resources  come from colleagues, social media, events I have attended, students etc.  They touch the five areas you can modify to augment global education: (a) instruction (b) assessment (c) curriculum (d) educational vision and (e) professional learning.

As you explore, here are some guiding questions:

  1. Where are there gaps in your knowledge?
  2. How can you teach complexity, not simple binaries?
  3. What is your understanding of Globalization?
  4. How can you modify your student experiences to prepare them for tomorrow?

I didn’t know when to stop… so I kept going.  I also did not categorize these, but rather provide some descriptions. Also, here are some beginning ideas on how to make them move to a globally centered classroom:

  • Use powerful stats and comparative data to inspire student curiosity…
  • Metacognition and reflecting on the world shapes students view of existence…
  • Use the news as a method to discuss key issues. …
  • Use topics and choice so kids can connect more easily…
  • Learn about the Millennium Development Goals and Globalization…
  • Start with big questions and student inquiry …
  • Concepts transcend content and invites student background knowledge…
  • Have your students engage with other students around the world…

I hope you enjoy these and would love to hear how you used them. So, leave a comment and make me smile.  Happy exploring! But before you start, watch this video from Alan November.

 

  1. The World in 2050: Are you teaching for tomorrow?  Two resources here can help you make that pivot.  1) The report and PWC website   and 2) The BBC Documentary  in case one link breaks, here is another.
  2. Global Ed Conference, Nov 13-16, 2017 – The 8th annual free, online Global Education Conference takes place November 13-16. We are still accepting proposals through November 5th. Please share this information with any potentially interested friends and colleagues! See previous conference archives here.
  3. Preparing Young Americans for a Complex World: Last year, the Council on Foreign Relations and National Geographic commissioned a survey to assess the global literacy of American college students. Over 1,200 people participated; less than 30 percent earned a passing grade.
  4. Global Competence and Rubrics: The Asia Society has rubrics and assessments for your class and school to use.  This is a remarkable and valuable collection of resources.  Enjoy!
  5. Instructional Strategies for Global Thinking: From Harvard’s Project Zero, these approaches foster understanding and appreciation of today’s complex globalized world. The materials and tools include a framework to think about global competence and offer clarity about various capacities associated with global competence. The bundle describes how to plan and document your experiences bringing global thinking routines into your classroom and to share these experiences with others.
  6. 100 People: A World Portrait and Global Ed Toolkit:  The 100 People Foundation helps students to better understand the complex issues facing our planet and the resources we share. By framing the global population as 100 people, our media makes education more engaging and effective, and improves students’ abilities to remember and relate to what they learn.
  7. Our World in Data: Our World in Data is an online publication that shows how living conditions are changing. The aim is to give a global overview and to show changes over the very long run, so that we can see where we are coming from and where we are today. The project, produced at the University of Oxford, is made available in its entirety as a public good.
  8. The World Population Project:  The genesis of this project was World Population, a simple, yet powerful, video animation of “dots on a map” representing population changes through time. First produced by Population Connection (Zero Population Growth at that time) over 40 years ago, the video became a popular teaching resource. This spawned new editions that have been viewed in classrooms, museums and boardrooms worldwide. The new 2015 version is viewable here in six languages and contains the latest population projections.
  9. Global Religious Diversity:  The Pew Center’s study from 2014. In order to have data that were comparable across many countries, the study focused on five widely recognized world religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism – that collectively account for roughly three-quarters of the world’s population.
  10. US Institute of Peace: List of International Organizations-  A list of links to international organizations’ web sites.I am always stunned when students and adults can’t identify 10 of these groups.  Please teach about these.
  11. US Institute of Peace: Glossary of Terms – To help practitioners, scholars, and students answer questions about terminology, USIP developed the Peace Terms: A Glossary of Terms for Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. This extensive glossary provides short definitions of a wide range of complex and often confusing terms used in the field of conflict resolution.
  12. United States Diplomacy Center’s Diplomacy Simulations Program:  The United States Diplomacy Center’s education programs immerse students in the world of American diplomacy and the critical work of the United States Department of State. At the heart of the Center’s education programs are our diplomacy simulations. These are hands-on exercises that allow students and teachers to experience what it is like to be a diplomat while grappling with complex foreign affairs topics.
  13. US State Department- Discover Diplomacy: Diplomacy is a complex and often challenging practice of fostering relationships around the world in order to resolve issues and advance interests. Discover the PEOPLE who conduct diplomacy, the PLACESwhere the Department of State engages in diplomacy, and the ISSUESdiplomacy helps resolve.
  14. The White Tourists Burden: Opinion article about voluntourism and the “white savior” complex. Also,  African’s Message for America: Article and video about thinking about working locally before going to “save” Africa.
  15. SAMR Model Resources: The digital revolution in education is full steam ahead, and this challenging process needs solutions on how technology will be used to change education. In 2006, Dr. Ruben Puentedura (P.hd), the President and Founder of Hippasus, a consulting firm based in Western Massachusetts, has come up with the perfect SAMR method to infuse technology into learning and teaching.
  16. The Right Question Institute: Inquiry is essential for the development of global competence. The skill of question asking is far too rarely deliberately taught in school.  We have worked with and learned from educators to develop a teaching strategy that provides a simple, yet powerful way to get students asking their own questions and building off their peers’ questions.
  17. Environmental Performance Index    The 2016 Environmental Performance Index provides a global view of environmental performance and country by country metrics to inform decision-making. Launched at the World Economic Forum, the EPI is in its 15th year and more relevant than ever to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. A fantastic comparison tool is here! 
  18. Brene Brown Empathy vs. Sympathy Video  What is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathetic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.
  19. Brainwaves Video Anthology: The Brainwaves video anthology is produced and filmed by Bob Greenberg. Here you will meet the thinkers, dreamers and innovators; some of the brightest minds in education. This series is meant to inspire and engage the viewer to dig deeper and learn more. A series from global educator Fernando Reimers is here.
  20. What if western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations?   Fascinating article with a fictional tone similar to Body Ritual of the Nacirema.
  21. Full RSA Video Library:  Want world-changing ideas, world leaders, RSA Animates, self-improvement, talks, debates, interviews, animations and loads more?! Well you’ve come to the right place! Be sure to explore the “Insights”, “Animate”, and “Shorts” playlists.
  22. Go Global NC – We are Go Global NC and we connect North Carolina to the world and the world to North Carolina. For 35 years our international education and training programs have empowered North Carolina leaders with the skills, understanding, connections, and knowledge to succeed in a global community.
  23. US History in a Global Context – Free and dynamic resource website that has modules and resources, including how to teach US history this way, for teachers to utilize.  Interactive images are library are also included.
  24. Half the Sky – A four-hour PBS primetime documentary film and national broadcast event inspired by the widely acclaimed book of the same name by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
  25. What the best schools around the world do right -What can other countries learn from these two successful, but diametrically opposed, educational models? Here’s an overview of what South Korea and Finland are doing right. And as an extension, here are images from schools around the globe.
  26. CNN10 Explaining global news to a global audience: This is the mission of CNN 10, a new, 10-minute news show that appears as a daily digital video on CNN.com. CNN 10 replaces CNN Student News, the network’s longest-running show that first aired in 1989.
  27. How does critical thinking happen: Critical thinking skills truly matter in learning. Why? Because they are life skills we use every day of our lives. Everything from our work to our recreational pursuits, and all that’s in between, employs these unique and valuable abilities. Consciously developing them takes thought-provoking discussion and equally thought-provoking questions to get it going. 
  28. California International Studies Project – The California International Studies Project promotes global education through high quality, standards-based, and interdisciplinary professional learning programs for educators in California.
  29. All Africa – Website that aggregates news produced primarily on the African continent about all areas of African life, politics, issues and culture. It is available in both English and French.
  30. Global Happiness –  Transnational and cultural expressions are important for global education.  The 2011 documentary “Happy” and the world happiness report are valuable resources.
  31. NewseumEDWe provide free quality online resources to cultivate the skills to authenticate, analyze and evaluate information from a variety of sources and to provide historical context to current events.
  32. Reach the World – Reach the World makes the benefits of travel accessible to classrooms, inspiring students to become curious, confident global citizens. Enabled by our digital platform, classrooms and volunteer travelers explore the world together.
  33. UN SDG Infographic: In September 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals for sustainable development to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet by 2030. Education is essential to the success of every one of the 17 new goals.
  34. List of most sustainable companies in the world: Since 2005, Toronto-based magazine and research firm Corporate Knights has put together the Global 100, an annual list of the world’s most sustainable companies. Using publicly available data, Corporate Knights rates large firms on 14 key measures, evaluating their management of resources, finances and employees.
  35. Facing Today-  From the group Facing History and Ourselves, this blog links the past and present with posts by an international community of mindful and creative educators, students, and community members.  Great for current events.
  36. The School of Life: The School of Life is a place that tries to answer the great questions of life. We believe in developing emotional intelligence. We are based online and in 12 physical hubs around the world, including London, Melbourne, Istanbul and Seoul.
  37. Inequality Index – Inequality isn’t all about income. Here’s a guide to different ranking systems – from wealth distribution to the World Happiness Report – and which countries rate best and worst under each.
  38. Metrocosm:  Metrocosm is Max Galka’s collection of maps and other data visualization projects — trying to make sense of the world through numbers. Some of my favorites:  NYC Trash Global Defense Pacts, World Immigration 2010-2015, Disputed Land Across the Globe.
  39. Sal Khan Interview on NPR – Tech and a Global Classroom: Sal Khan turned tutoring lessons with his cousins into a series of free educational videos called Khan Academy. His goal: To make learning accessible for everyone, everywhere.
  40. UN Peacekeeping Missions:  An enlightening presentation by scholar Anjali Dayal. This piece by her provides a great framing for the topic. Checkout this video she used to introduce her presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Globalizing Your Educational Vision: An Interview with the World Affairs Councils of America CEO, Bill Clifford

Recently,on the same weekend, I had the pleasure of attending two very valuable yet quite different professional gatherings in Washington D.C.   One was the College Board’s Annual AP Conference. The other was the State Department’s Global Teaching Dialogue

The first one lasted 4 days, the latter only 4 hours.   I presented at the AP Conference, but was an active audience member at the State Department.  One had very tight security. The other, well, somewhat tight.  You can guess which was which.

What was the most compelling was the focus of each event.  The AP conference was largely about how to prepare students to do better for the AP exams.  The Global Teaching dialogue was more about preparing students for the realities of today and the future.  This was summed up in two statements by teachers at their respective events.

The first, a HS math teacher at the Global Teaching Dialogue, while sharing his students experiences with collaborating with a class in another nation stated (to all of our surprise) that providing his students  with the global exchange was more important than the math concept he was teaching.  Whaaaattt!?!?

The second was at the AP conference.  When I shared the free, international video conferencing tool Generation Global to the AP US History teachers, no one had heard of it. But the comment that came after is more of a contrast, “I willImage result for world affairs councils of america try this with my non-AP students.”

And there we have it. Why not for every student?  Are you preparing your students for tomorrow?  The long tomorrow… after the test.  One way to modify your vision, augment your practice and students’ experiences is by connecting with the World Affairs Councils of America.

I had the pleasure to interview the CEO of the World Affairs Council, Bill Clifford.  Our transcript is below.  Be sure to spread the word about WACA and get involved with a chapter near you.

Your students will thank you!

Enjoy!

 

1. Bill, tell us about how you got interested and involved in global education.
My interest in global education is lifelong. My father was a college professor and my mother taught grade school Image result for bill clifford world councilbefore becoming an editor in language-arts publishing. During many summers when I was growing up in Massachusetts, my family enjoyed hosting exchange students from all over the world. Those experiences motivated me to study and work abroad. After graduating college, I spent two years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, assigned to a Japanese high school as an assistant language teacher of English. It was wonderful to teach those kids and and an opportunity that led me to graduate school, a career in journalism as a Tokyo-based foreign correspondent for over a decade, and now back in the United States leading the World Affairs Councils of America.
2. Why is it important for students to learn about globalization these days?
There are so many reasons why it is important for students to be well-versed in international studies, world cultures, and civics. We are living in an era where the movement of people, goods and services, and ideas within and across borders is faster and more consequential than ever. Political and social change is rapid and disruptive, hastened also by technological developments. While standards of living have improved for much of the world’s growing population, there are still hundreds of millions who live in poverty. Climate change, conflict, and other challenges facing democracies could deepen emerging economic divides and worsen living conditions for many. And every young citizen should be aware of the competition for jobs in the global marketplace and what the future of work looks like.Image result for academic world quest
 
3.What should educators know about the World Affairs Councils?
The World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) is an umbrella organization made up of more than 90 nonprofit, nonpartisan affiliates, from Maine to Hawaii and from Alaska to Florida. The broad  mission of World Affairs Councils at the local level is to convene inclusive public forums and provide access to leaders and experts with whom members of the community can engage in discussions about U.S. foreign policy and critical global issues. Teachers and students are welcome to attend Council events.
Some Councils also offer specialized programs for teachers and students, and program staff should be contacted directly. WACA and some 50 of our World Affairs Councils also pride ourselves on our Academic WorldQuest program for high school students. Academic WorldQuest is an exciting team-based knowledge competition that involves about 5,000 students annually. I encourage teachers, parents, and students to learn more about AWQ on our website. For those who are interested but are not able to locate a Council in their area, please contact the WACA national office.
 
4. Can you tell us about some success stories of teachers and schools benefiting from WAC programs.
 
In addition to Academic WorldQuest, whose popularity has soared since its launch 16 years ago, the Great Decisions program of the Foreign Policy Association (New York) has engaged high school and university students for several decades. WACA enjoys a partnership with the United States Institute of Peace that includes USIP’s sponsorship Related imagesupport of Academic WorldQuest and WACA’s promotion of USIP’s Peace Day Challenge and outreach to Councils for International Peace Day activities. WACA for several years offered “Spotlight on Turkey,” a program for teachers that was funded by the Turkish Cultural Foundation. This program included a study tour component during the summer, but unfortunately the domestic situation in Turkey caused the program to be suspended. 
San Francisco-based World Affairs offers a half dozen education programs – summer study abroad, policy simulation, meet-the-speaker, international career night, and summer institutes – that are designed to develop young people into “global citizens.” Last but not least, the WACA National Board provides scholarships to promising undergraduates for attending WACA’s annual three-day National Conference in Washington, DC.
 
5. What is on the horizon for WACA?
I like that word. WACA has just launched the New Horizons fundraising campaign, which includes an endowment fund for Academic WorldQuest. This campaign aims to raise more than $3 million so that WACA will have the resources to sustain and grow our flagship programs as well as increase the national office’s capacity to serve and strengthen local Councils.
This year’s WACA National Conference (November 15-17) will focus on “The Future of American Leadership.” We are pleased with the fast-growing audience turnout for our monthly “Cover to Cover” nationwide conference calls with prominent authors.
The popularity of this program has led us to launch an additional conference call series this year called “Know Now,” featuring local, national, and international thought leaders. Our conference calls are recorded and converted to podcasts. Later this month, WACA will unveil a redesigned website, and we are amplifying our presence online by stepping up our social media activities.
 

6. How can someone get involved with World Affairs Councils?
There are many ways to get involved: Attend the events of local Councils and participate in WACA’s national programs; explore internships and job opportunity listings; financially support the Council network by sponsoring programs or making a donation; volunteer your time to assist with Council projects or office work; and be sure to subscribe to local Council and WACA national newsletters to read the latest news about our efforts to bring the world to you.
7.  Any final thoughts you want to share?
We live in the Information Age, but many people struggle to understand what’s going on – in their local communities or in the global community. Several factors explain this – the sheer volume of information that comes at people across many platforms, the polarization of the news media, propaganda from governments, and a variety of challenges in our schools at every level. World Affairs Councils can’t solve all those problems, but we can play our part: We can encourage people to become active citizens who care about conducting civil conversations, who care about learning throughout their lives, and who care to take the time to participate in high-quality programs that will help them make new connections and better decisions with globally-minded people.
Thank you Bill.  I look forward to another school year working and learning together.

Are Your Eyes on the World? – 14 Education Resources for Your Summer

Do you feel that summer energy?  I love this time of year for many reasons.  Good friends, travel, great music, outside Shakespeare, festivals, the beach… Just this past week I got to see my first concert at Fenway Park in Boston MA – Dead and Company. It was a great show, especially the second set which included an extended version of “Eyes of the World.”  Check out the full set list here .

Anyway, with all the summer fun going on, it is easy to get distracted from devoting time to developing our craft and repertoire.  I always told students to use the summer to renew, relax, and discover something new.  The same goes for educators.

To support your summer professional learning endeavors I have listed 14 resources to explore.  Like a sonnet, which is 14 lines,  exploring these items will connect your eyes and heart.   Hmmmm.  Shakespeare wrote it better in sonnet 47.

Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,
And each doth good turns now unto the other:Image result for shakespeare sunglasses
When that mine eye is famish’d for a look,
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother,
With my love’s picture then my eye doth feast,
And to the painted banquet bids my heart;
Another time mine eye is my heart’s guest,
And in his thoughts of love doth share a part:
So, either by thy picture or my love,
Thy self away, art present still with me;
For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move,
And I am still with them, and they with thee;
Or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight
Awakes my heart, to heart’s and eyes’ delight.

 

So, get a pitcher of sangria, or a milk shake, or whatever you fancy and have a wonderful time exploring.

Until next time – enjoy!

 

Things to Explore 

  1. Participate – Twitter Chat Index  Thank you Participate!  I have hosted and participated in Twitter Chats.  But I never knew there were so many options. This index is incredible (see sample of topics in the image).  Please explore and share this with your colleagues. And if you don’t have an account, get one.  By the way, there is a “Global” category!
  2. Virtual Field Trips PART 1 -Discovery Education: Take your students beyond the classroom walls and into some of the world’s most iconic locations for rich and immersive learning experiences — no permission slips required. Tour the National Archives, see how an egg farm works, explore NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, or hear from the President of the United States. Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips are fun, educational, and free!
  3. ED Camp : I have been to one Edcamp and loved it. The website has the listings of events in the US and beyond. They say it best “Energy, enthusiasm, and collaboration! Everyone at Edcamp is there to ask Image result for edcampquestions, share passions, and learn from each other. No one is required to be there; they make a decision that they want to learn and grow, and so they come!”
  4. Virtual Field Trips PART 2- Google Earth VR: Explore the world from totally new perspectives. Stroll the streets of Tokyo, soar over Yosemite, or teleport across the globe. Google Earth VR puts the whole world within your reach.
  5. Free Images – Pixabay is a recent find for me.  It is awesome.  In sum, there is over 1 million images of all types for you to use… free of copyright.  Images are worth … well you know.
  6. Podcast – The 10 Minute TeacherVicki Davis covers a lot of ground across disciplines in her outstanding podcast series.  With over 100 episodes, and much more on her website, you are bound to find something that will improve your craft and want to share with your colleagues.
  7. Open Culture:   This is an amazing resource.  “Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it.”

 

Things to Read 

  1. Digital Promise – I will always remember a professor if mine saying that education is more of a D and R field Image result for No More Telling as Teaching:not an R and D profession.  In short, educators don’t wait for research before they implement the next best thing.  The result include the continuation of Edu-Myths.  Enter Digital Promise and their new feature called “Ask a Researcher.” WOW! “Ask a Researcher makes it easy for educators to get trusted, research-based answers to questions about real education challenges…(and) can provide the first steps for using research to improve student learning.”
  2. Book – No More Telling as Teaching:  Cris Tovani  has been working with Fairfax schools this past year.  Her consulting work has pushed the discussion and action around literacy  in a positive direction. I am already into her new book linked above. The crux of this book challenges the power of lecturing as an instructional strategy … “when we rely on lecture in an effort to cover content, we’re doing students a disservice. Although lecture can be engaging and even useful, lecture alone cannot give kids real opportunities to learn, retain, and transfer the disciplinary ideas, skills, and practices we’re trying to teach.” If you work with schools or teach, this is a must read. 
  3. Book – Empowering Students to Improve the World in 60 Lessons– Harvard’s Fernando Reimers Related imagehas done it again.  This latest work is a wonderful compilation of lessons across grades and content areas that teachers can use/modify in order to implement global citizenship education.
  4. Mapping the UN SDG:   The International Cartographic Association have mapped each of the goals from their particular perspective. The available poster collection gives an overview of the strength of cartography. It is telling the story of cartographic diversity, of mapping options and of multiple map perspectives. The link above has free posters you can download.
  5. Blog – Choice Schools: I met Ally Henderson and Kelly Cummings at a recent conference in Washington D.C.  Their education blog has a focus on the Charter School world but the topics of their blog – teacher leadership, technology, relationships – are relevant to all K-12 schools.
  6. Article -How Education Reduces “Othering” – I have been waiting for this one!  The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change shares some remarkable research on the impact of Videoconferencing  with students. “Designed to expose them to other cultures, break down stereotypes and build tolerance and cohesion, it puts children from different cultures directly in touch, allowing them to communicate through videoconferencing and online dialogue. The children discover what they have in common, learn to successfully navigate difference, and realize that stereotypes about different cultures are not true.The study found it made young people less susceptible to extremist views, and opened their minds to other cultures and ways of life.”
  7. Blog – Language and Linguistics:  This is a new blog on the scene created by a former professor of mine Dr. Jilani Warsi. I look forward to what comes from this resource.  The blog’s vision is to link  ” L2 acquisition theory to pedagogical practice can discuss intervention techniques that can potentially increase the chances for adult students to acquire native-like proficiency in their target language, and offer guidance for second language teachers to incorporate such techniques into their own teaching.”

 

 

How Do You Teach About Race?

“The perversity of racism is not inherent in the nature of human beings. We are not racist; we become racist just as we may stop being that way.”     – Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Heart, 1997

This past year I found myself thinking differently about my identity.  The change would occur whenever I was completing the “race” category/prompt you find on official forms.  You know what I am referring to (check out the image to the right). Additionally, my school system began to provide cultural competence training that framed diversity largely in racial terms but without addressing what race is. This seemed to be a significant disconnect.  How can you talk about something without defining or explaining it?

Combined, these two factors started a distinct change in my behavior from what had been the norm for over 3 decades.  Instead of checking “White” on these forms,  I began selecting “I do not wish to provide this information” or an option with similar wording.  I must admit, however, that this action is contingent on an important variable –  whether or not the document had defined their categories of race (see below). Defining terms/concepts is indeed an important if we want to engage with them effectively and with depth.  In this case it is especially significant as race is a “hot button” topic and not an objective category across this planet.

Rather, how we conceive of race is informed in part by history, societal factors,  and context. For example, look at samples from these early 21st century census surveys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is going on in each of these and why can’t they all have the same items?

Also, our own understanding about race is informed by our personal learning network and how race is taught in schools.  To explore the topic of teaching about race I propose this key question, “Is there  genetic/biological evidence for the argument that there are multiple races of humans?” With that let’s take a look at some ideas, resources, and suggested follow up questions you can use with your community.

 

Race is not a Myth

People who claim that race is a myth must explain themselves a bit further.  Social constructs are real in that they impact people’s actions and beliefs as well as government’s policies and practices.  For example, the fluidity of race as a construct  and political/economic/social category has existed in the US since the late 18th century.  “Every U.S. census since the first one in 1790 has included questions about racial identity, reflecting the central role of race in American history from the era of slavery to current headlines about racial profiling and inequality. But the ways in which race is asked about and classified have changed from census to census, as the politics and science of race have fluctuated. And efforts to measure the multiracial population are still evolving.”  Indeed, the 2020 census may offer “more examples of the origins that fall under each racial/ethnic category… That census will also drop the word “Negro” from what had been the “Black, African American, or Negro” response option.”

Like culture, and gender, and ethnicity, how we conceive of race can yield an all too real set of pre-conceived notions and beliefs that are seen as “natural” or scientific.  These packaged sets of qualities become static, essentialized, and expected traits about a group.  This process of “othering” reduces a group’s range of variety to an oversimplified point on a spectrum.  Checkout how the recent film Get Out conveyed this psycho-anthropological phenomenon.

 

John Willinsky’s fantastic work Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire’s End narrates the impact empires had on the racial social constructs that persist. The imperial experiments produced a classification designed to order humans in a hierarchy of development.  The European Enlightenment’s drive to categorize the world manifested a science of race that “offered the most monstrous of imperialism’s lessons… the scientific constitution of races in the West brought greater force and significance of difference to the naming of the other. It further ordered European interests in dividing the world to its advantage.”

Human zoos brought this continuum to life in the 19th, and 20th centuries at the Worlds Fair and similar regional exhibitions in London, Paris, Milan, and New York and beyond. In their most “instructive” role, human zoos would present various groups on a trajectory ranging from primitive/savage to advanced/civilized.

Dissenting voices about the taxonomy of race were rare.  However, in 1791 Johann Gottfeid von Herder  wrote “There are neither four or five races. All mankind are only one.” (emphasis is Herder’s).  Over 150 years later after the killing of World War II, UNESCO’s 1951  statement on race is explicit: “Scientists have reached the general agreement in recognizing that mankind is one: that all men belong to the same species, Homo Sapiens.”  

But I wonder how many people would currently agree with or know about this statement?  What is informing their concept of race?  Shouldn’t race be taught using the consensus of contemporary scientific communities?

The opportunity to inform and provide people with a useful base and conceptual framework is a necessary and powerful tool.   As Freire notes (in the opening quote) humans can change. Education can facilitate that change.

 

Where to Find Answers

This is an important section of this blog post. These past few weeks my colleague and I explored the VA curriculum frameworks in science and social studies looking for explanations about how to teach about race.  Neither of us found any explicit direction in our content field on what students should learn about or how to engage with “race.”    Instead, the world history curriculum related it to slavery (race being a factor or not) and the U.S. history course implied its use in Standard 8 of the 2015 revisions.

The student will apply social science skills to understand how the nation grew and changed from the end of Reconstruction through the early twentieth century by d) analyzing the impact of prejudice and discrimination, including “Jim Crow” laws, the responses of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, and the practice of eugenics in Virginia

(We believe similar gaps of intentional usage for race exist in IB and AP equivalent classes.  But a more exhaustive effort will be needed to confirm this lack of intentionality).

So, where is one to find tools, information, and resources that can be used with students and colleagues to teach about race?  As a start, I have included some influential documentaries and journal articles below.  I do hope these items spark further inquiry and inspiration. Please, keep me posted of what you find.

 

Journals/Articles

 

Documentaries

  • 13th – Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. (2016).

 

  • The Chinese Exclusion Act – A new film by Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu and scheduled to appear on PBS American Experience in 2017.

 

 

  •  LA 92  – A look at the events that led up to the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles following the Rodney King beating by the police. (2017)

 

  • Shoah Claude Lanzmann’s epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses – perpetrators as well as survivors. (1985)

 

 

The UN SDGs 

The UN goals provide so much educational value.  They are, in essence,  a 21st century curriculum.  Unbridled by disciplines, the UN SDGs are accessible by all fields of study and celebrates relevance where some educators, parents, and students offer limited expressions for the “Why?” of education.

Over  century ago in 1900 in London at the Pan-African Convention, W.E.B. Du Bois  gave a closing statement titled “To the Nations of the World” .  Du Bois states that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color Image result for du boisline, the question of how far differences of race-which show themselves chiefly in the color of skin and the texture of the hair-will hereafter be made the basis of denying to over half the world the right of sharing to their utmost ability the opportunities and privileges of modern civilization.”  The problem clearly continues in the 21st century in varying forms – structures of power, ignorance, hate, identity politics etc.   Thankfully race has not gone unnoticed on the global stage.

Goal 10 of the UN SDGs addresses race as  a list of categories that as Du Bois noted, deny “the opportunities and privileges of modern civilization.” Taken on its own, or in conjunction with other SDG, Goal 10 demands that race be part of the learning experiences we provide for students and part of the discussions we have in order to take action.

Goal 10 calls for reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status within a country. The Goal also addresses inequalities among countries, including those related to representation, migration and development assistance.

 

For the UN SDG to be a relevant part of students’ learning, connections to the topic must be explicit and intentional.  Moreover, the UN SDGs  lend themselves to grade level through the project based learning, inquiry, blended learning, and problem based learning models.  Checkout the video below for a summary of goal 10.

 

Your Action Items – Ask these Questions

I feel that this blog post is, sadly, timely.  These past few days I came across two stories that involved racially motivated attacks and killings.  Maybe a better way to put it is that the assaults were motivated by ignorance.  One significant aspect of each story is how “race” is framed.

Please know that I am not stating that education is the solution to all problems. But, I do believe that how we teach something is significant.  Currently, we seem to discredit race as concept necessary for students to understand both scientifically and socially.

By not explicitly teaching about race as a flawed and limited social construct that has no scientific backing, then we are not even trying to address the limited understanding and world views that exist.  This can, at worst, lead to violent behavior and dismiss the topic to another generation to content with – see Du Bois above.

To close, I offer these questions for you to consider  as a way to start talking and teaching  about race in the 21st century in your community.  Doing so may lead to some of the most significant conclusions and “a-ha” moments your students  and colleagues will have  both now and in the future.

  1. To what extent and in what ways do your local, state, or programmatic curriculum/standards address race?
  2. If your school provides professional learning on inter-cultural competency or diversity training, how do they present race?
  3. How does your community (students, colleagues, parents, administration, school board) think and act regarding topics related to race?
  4. When and how do students have the opportunity to learn about and engage with race?
  5. What perspectives and resources inform you and your community about race?
  6. To what extent is race a taboo topic in your school?
  7. In interviews, can the people you hire explain their understanding of concepts like  – gender, ethnicity, class, and race?

 

 

 

Global Education Resource Clearing House – New Things Under the Sun!

Last month I attended and presented with my colleague Deanne Moore at the 2017 Teacher for Global Classroom Symposium hosted by IREX and the US State Department. The TGC program is an outstanding professional growth opportunity for educators.  The program overview and application for the next cohort (deadline in March 20th) can be found here.

 

This years TGC cohort created videos that address the Why, How, and What of global education.  Simply put, they are outstanding.  I encourage you to review them here and utilize some as you develop and evolve your global education program at your schools. As a teaser, I have included two below…


Ok, I hope you are inspired, enlightened, and curious about the resources below. The symposium is an opportunity to  explore resources, showcase projects, plan global citizenship projects, and build your network.   I am happy to share those below and hope you pass them along to your network and share this post on twitter etc. All the titles are hyperlinked!

Enjoy!

 

  1. Mapping the Nation:  Mapping the Nation is an interactive map that pulls together demographic, economic, and education indicators—nearly one million data points—to show that the United States is a truly global nation.
  2. US Diplomacy Center: Discover the PEOPLE who conduct diplomacy, the PLACES where the Department of State engages in diplomacy, and the ISSUESdiplomacy helps resolve.
  3. World Savvy: World Savvy partners with educators, schools, and districts to integrate global competence teaching and learning into classrooms for all K-12 students. We do this by providing a range of high-quality, specifically targeted programs and services.
  4. Peace Corps – World Wise Schools:  Established in 1989, the Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools program is dedicated to promoting global learning through lesson plans, activities, and events—all based on Peace Corps Volunteer experiences.
  5. Taking it Global: TakingITGlobal empowers youth to understand and act on the world’s greatest challenges.
  6. One World Education: One World Education’s mission is to build the knowledge and skills students need to confront the cultural and global issues of today and prepare for the college and career opportunities of tomorrow.
  7. Primary Source:  28-year-old nonprofit organization that works to advance global education in schools. We believe in the power of understanding the world from diverse perspectives and a future in which all individuals are informed and contributing global citizens.
  8. iEARN:  iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide.
  9. Level Up Village: Our mission is to globalize the classroom and facilitate seamless collaboration between students from around the world via pioneering Global STEAM (STEM + Arts) enrichment courses.
  10. Pulitzer Center Global Gateway: The program provides digital educational resources and tools such as our free Lesson Builder, and also brings journalists to classrooms across the country to introduce critical under-reported global issues to students.
  11. Generation Global: With Generation Global, teachers can transport their classes across the world in a single afternoon. Online and through video conferences, students interact directly with their peers around the world, engaging in dialogue around issues of culture, identity, beliefs, values, and attitudes.
  12. Global Concerns Classroom: an innovative global education program that seeks to raise awareness of current international humanitarian issues in U.S. youth and to empower them to take meaningful action. Through dynamic resources, student engagement programs, and professional development for educators, GCC prepares youth to gain the knowledge and skills needed to be globally competent for the 21st century.
  13. Library of Congress – World Digital Library:  A project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world.The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.
  14. Facing History and Ourselves: Our mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.
  15. Transatlantic Outreach Program: Promotes education about Germany, fosters intercultural dialogue, and provides the opportunity for North American social studies educators, STEM educators, and decision makers to experience Germany.
  16. US Institute of Peace – Global Peacebuilding Center: Works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. USIP does this by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace.
  17. Reach the World: Reach the World transforms the energy of travelers into a learning resource for K-12 classrooms. Our programs use the web, messaging and video conferencing to connect youth with travelers in one-on-one global, digital exchanges.
  18. The NEA Foundation: A public charity supported by contributions from educators’ dues, corporate sponsors, foundations, and others who support public education initiatives.
  19. NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative: Building pathways between NASA’s Earth-related STEM assets to large, diverse audiences in order to enhance STEM teaching, learning and opportunities for learners throughout their lifetimes. These STEM assets include subject matter experts (scientists, engineers, and education specialists), science and engineering content, and authentic participatory and experiential opportunities.
  20. U.S. History in a Global Context: The resources we have assembled are designed to inspire your creativity and develop your thought leadership as an advocate for this approach to teaching U.S.History.

 

And a bonus treat.  Congratulations to this years winner of the Global Teacher Prize, Maggie MacDonnell .  This prestigious prize is offered by the Varkey Foundation and the winner receives $1 million.  Full article is here and watch the video on Ms. MacDonnell below.