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.

 

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.

 

Narrative, Graphic Novels, and Globalization: An Interview with Dr. Trevor Getz

History is the construction of our understanding of the past.  Taking part in that process  is an existential exercise which, in turn, influences our contemporary world view. These three quotes remind me about the importance and power of narrative creation and its subsequent relationship to collective and individual identity.

  • “It seems evident, then, that skill in narrative construction and narrative understanding is crucial to constructing our lives and a “place” for ourselves in the possible world we will encounter.” Jerome Bruner
  • ”Over time and cultures, the most robust and most effective form of communication is the creation of a powerful narrative.” Howard Gardner

Moreover, the recognition, creation, and analysis of historical narratives  are essential activities for students in history classes in high school and higher education.  What resources teachers use with students, as well as the explicit connection to broad concepts and contemporary realities all make for relevant and valuable teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of meeting professor Trevor Getz at a recent AHA planning meeting for the 2018 Conference being held in Washington D.C.  Our interview highlights his work with students and the use of graphic novels to develop their historical thinking. Trevor can be reached at either tgetz@sfsu.edu or tgetz@ebuukuu.com

Enjoy!

 

1- Tell us about your journey to becoming a historian and your interest in studying Africa I learned to love history sitting on my grandpa’s knee while he told stories of “the war.”  I was the only grand kid who

Professor of History Trevor Getz, poses in front of scenes from his scholarly graphic novel “Abina and the Important Men.” Getz recently created a company called Ebuukuu.com to apply this graphic model to other areas of study. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

wanted to listen.  I loved touching his medals, and watching as he drew pictures of fortifications, and looking through his black-and-white photo albums. I thought I wanted to be a military historian, but then as an undergraduate at Berkeley I learned to love political history, and doing my MA in Cape Town came to appreciate social history, and finally began my transition to cultural history during my PhD research at the School of Oriental and African Studies. In the process, I became immersed in the history of Africa.  My first real mentor was Chris Saunders, at the University of Cape Town, who tamed my rambunctious American-ness with his precise and calm Anglo ways.  Then with the larger-than-life and wonderfully inspiring professor, Richard Rathbone – truly a spectacular mentor and a fixture in the study of Ghana’s past.

2- When did graphic novels come into the mix and how have they impacted your teaching?    

My dissertation (and subsequent first book) was very much a social history – putting together many different sources in an attempt to converge them on an explanation for social change in the wake of the criminalization of slavery in nineteenth century Ghana and Senegal.   But in the years that followed, I learned to dig deep into single sources, figuring out how to pull apart one document or picture or diary account and explain what it meant.  Most of the sources I was working with, it turned out, featured young people – enslaved or otherwise suffering, but frequently strong and inspiring nevertheless.  I wanted to bring their stories, their accounts, and their worldviews to the public. I was searching, for much of the 2000s, for a medium that would allow me to do that.  I had to dig back into my own past to find one.  Of course, not everyone could have a Grampa like mine to inspire them to study the past, and these stories in any case didn’t lend themselves to grandparently memory.  But the other “history” inspiration of my youth was the comic book – including Franco-Belgian works like Tintin but also Art Spiegelman’s incredible Maus.  So, I thought I’d experiment with comics (or the “graphic novel”) as a medium for telling the story of a young, enslaved woman who forced the government of a Crown Colony to listen to her.  Thanks in part to an incredible editor (Charles Cavaliere at Oxford UP) and wonderful artist-collaborator (Liz Clarke in South Africa) it somehow worked out, and Abina and the Important Men came into being.  Now we’ve developed a multi-platform app as well, for the high school classroom.  Any teacher interested in trying out the app should email me.

 

3- What do you want readers to know about your award winning graphic novel, Abina and the Important Men? 

This is a book about NOW, because it’s a book about power.  It’s about the power that important men use to subjugate others, like Abina Mansah, who was twice enslaved and then censored and silenced.  It’s about the power that even seemingly defenseless people have to make their voice heard, as Abina did in that colonial courtroom. It’s about the power that historians have (and sometimes abuse) to tell people’s stories in a way that appeals to them, and the power that we all have to challenge and correct historians’ interpretations.  Power is part of any society, but we don’t have to accept the way it operates, just as Abina refused to accept attempts to silence her.

 

4- I argue that one of the best skills people develop from studying history is that they learn how to analyze and evaluate narratives. What do you think are some practical skills students develop by studying the past?

Historians, I firmly believe, are interpreters.  The past is a foreign country, and we try to help people in the present to understand what is said and done there, and what it means.  Learning to analyze and evaluate not only primary sources but also the work of scholars is a key step in developing a critical mind and media literacy.  I talk about this quite a bit in a brief video put together at SF State. I love working with teachers who develop critical tools for this kind of work as well.  I especially appreciate the  incredible mock trial and role playing exercises that David Sherrin from Harvest Collegiate put together to help students analyze and interpret Abina’s testimony.  

 

5- Great. And what about the relating the study of the past to understand globalization? Any major connections?

Everything is global, right?  Just like everything is local.  We are much richer today for understanding the ways in which even the deep past was shaped by interaction between people, products, species, and ideas moving between societies often separated by vast distances.  What we’ve learned is that in analyzing any situation in the present, we have to develop a scope that includes factors both near and far as well as from the recent and distant past. But how can we move from knowing that this need exists to actually effectively conducting analysis of global as well as local factors?  That’s a difficult question, and one on which many historians are working. Obviously, we can’t answer it here.  But I do have one thought that has become clear to me over the past several years:  there’s no point in teaching content without teaching the underlying skills to work with and interpret it.  Telling students that the global past matters doesn’t do anything unless they know how to read or view sources and pull from them the evidence of global interaction.

 

6- What’s on the horizon for you and any final comments? 

I’m working on so many projects!  I have a book on teaching African history about to come out with Duke University Press, a volume I’m co-editing with Rebecca Shumway on slavery and its legacy in Ghana and the Diaspora, and a pet long-term project using comics, other forms of art, oral tradition, and pop-up museums to understand how Ghanaians study their own past.  But I’m also teaching, and being an administrator.  Most of all, though, I continue to try to think of interesting strategies to engage students with the past in ways that help them to build critical and creative skills they will need for their lives moving forward.

Thank you Trevor.  I look forward to future scholarship and collaboration,  and wish you a great 2017!

2017 – Five Ways to Construct Your Global Competency and (In)Form Your World View

Happy New Year! What kind of private Idaho will you construct for yourself in 2017?

How about for your students? How global will your instruction and their experiences be?  Will their world views be challenged and expanded? Will your class be recognized as relevant and prepare them for the future?

So, what is on the horizon.  This Smart Brief, “Why Global Should be the Education Movement for 2017” by Bonnie Lathram and Dave Potter asserts  that in 2017, “we are going to be powered by global innovations in learning…”  I feel confident these predictions will happen and broaden the range of educational opportunities and possibilities.

 

Also, I just came across this landmark report about Global Education from UNESCO in 1990, Learning: The Treasure WithinWow.  Be sure to digest and internalize this 20th century vision as it still needs to be realized!

Lastly, this piece from Ed Surge reminds us about forward thinking and preparing our students for tomorrow.

Ok, now it is time to take a stroll through these 5 points.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  Share them with your network, let me know what you think, and enjoy exploring and constructing!

 

1. Constructivism – Let your Students Know What/How Learning Is

I’ve always used the term “constructing knowledge” when talking with my students about learning and the experiences they will eventually have beyond high school.  I was surprised to find out that many of the educators I worked with had rarely used this term with their students—despite the teachers themselves being proponents of constructivism. Alternatively. words like “make”. “form”, or “create” may work better with students.  But then again, why not aim high, right? To assist with this exercise in being explicit and intentional with students about learning, I offer these planning questions and resources, both teacher and student directed.

  • Planning Questions

    Philographics is a series of posters that explain big ideas in simple shapes

    • How will you explain to students that they construct both their understanding and meaning?
    • How will you explain to students the difference between memorization and learning as a process?
    • How will you explain the “why” about learning about the past?

Education should be about students constructing knowledge to build their own personal view of the world, yet we rarely let them know that.. Constructing knowledge is about exploring new thoughts and opinions. So next time students ask the simple question, “What do I need to know?” teachers should frame the experience of education as an exercise in constructivism. Doing so empowers students to be active learners and dynamic thinkers, not just consumers of information.

 

 

2. Global Education Conference 2016  

Let’s start with this quote from Kofi Anan “I am often asked what can people do to become a good global citizen? I reply that it begins in your own community.”

We are multiple weeks removed from another fantastic Global Education Conference – huge amounts of gratitude to Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon.  With the start of the new year it is easy for your interest in global education to take a back seat.  One way to keep your interest alive and well and inspired is to review the  global education resources and tools of the conference.  Moreover, attempt to make at least one change with students, colleagues, and for your own growth. Enjoy!

If you like what you see, tweet it out to #globaled and keep me posted @CraigPerrier

 

3. EdChange Global Classrooms 2017

The Global Ed Conference is behind us, but on deck is an amazing event – EdChange Glo
bal Classrooms 2017!  Running from Feb 28th – March 1st  The  registration page for #ECGC17 can be found here.

  • The classroom event will take place in Qiqo Chat and login information will be sent out during the month of February to all those registered. All sessions will be located in one place and each will include collaborative notes and a video chat with up to 200 participants.
  • Is your class doing amazing things? Share and collaborate with classrooms all over the world at #ECGC17 and sign up to facilitate! We would also love to have more student led sessions.

 

4. Global Reports and Indices

Context matters. Information matters. Sources matter. Interpretation matters. Comparative approaches to learning expand the US frame beyond the arbitrary boundaries of nation-hood. In other words, framing US events, people, ideas etc. in relation to a non-US equivalent provides students with  a relational and relevant experience. Dive in  and analyze.

  • Global Terrorism Index: This is the fourth edition of the Global Terrorism Index which provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 16 years, covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015
  • 2016 Index of Economic Freedom For over twenty years the Index has delivered thoughtful analysis in a clear, friendly, and straight-forward format. With new resources for users and a website tailored for research and education, the Index of Economic Freedom is poised to help readers track over two decades of the advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity and promote these ideas in their homes, schools, and communities

  • 2015 Corruption Index From villages in rural India to the corridors of power in Brussels, Transparency International gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption. We work together with governments, businesses and citizens to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. As a global movement with one vision, we want a world free of corruption. Through chapters in more than 100 countries and an international secretariat in Berlin, we are leading the fight against corruption to turn this vision into reality.
  • Reporters Without Borders: 2016 World Press Freedom Index Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the world’s biggest NGO specializing in the defence of media freedom, which we regard as the basic human right to be informed and to inform others. At the turn of the 21st century, nearly half of the world population still lacks access to free information
  • Freedom in the 50 States We score all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. We weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims.
  • World Values Survey  is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life, led by an international team of scholars, with the WVS association and secretariat headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. The survey, which started in 1981, seeks to use the most rigorous, high-quality research designs in each country. The WVS consists of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries which contain almost 90 percent of the world’s population, using a common questionnaire.

 

5. Teaching Resources

What blog post would not be complete without a good resource potpourri? I hope you add these to your repertoire and share them with you network.  Have fun!

  • 100 Leaders in World History Fantastic collection of resources that  provide a way for teachers, students, parents, and community members to engage in thoughtful discussions. By studying the leaders of the past, we learn about people whose strength and determination teach us about leadership and commitment.
  • MACAT Videos on You Tube provide concise overview of the most important books and papers in 14 humanities and social sciences subjects. A powerful resource for students, teachers and lifelong learners everywhere, our analyses do much more than just summarize seminal texts.

  • Newsela is really incredible!  Newsela is the best way for students to master nonfiction in any subject.By combining real-time assessments with leveled content from premier daily news sources and eminent nonfiction publishers, Newsela makes reading to learn relevant, interesting, and effective regardless of interest or ability about a range of topics from around the world.
  • LizardPoint Simple, fairly clean, and pretty fun.  Create an account and try your skills at the quizzes on Geography and World Leaders.  Go get ’em.
  • US History in a Global Context:  a dynamic resource that addresses the scarcity of professional development programs dedicated this approach.  Additionally, the resources we have assembled are designed to inspire your creativity and develop your thought leadership as an advocate for this approach to teaching U.S.History.
  • FPRI – The Buthcer History Institute  The Butcher History Institute, co-chaired by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Walter A. McDougall and FPRI Senior Fellow David Eisenhower, aims to contribute to the more effective teaching of history and to the public discourse over America’s identity and its role in the world.

Are You Teaching for Tomorrow? Making the Turn to Global Education

Across the United States the new school year has commenced. 48950618.cached  To kick off SY 16-17 I want to share some thoughts & resources that impacted, or reinforced, my views on education this summer. Specifically, this post emphasizes the need for building student understanding of and ability to succeed in a globalized world. How teachers design learning experiences for students (the combination of resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes) is indicative of a teacher’s vision and understanding of the purpose of education.

As you explore the post and resources below, keep in mind 3 common aspects of the type of education I am highlighting:

  1. Content/Course work is always framed or connected to contemporary issues or present circumstances.
  2. The teacher is a facilitator of learning and supports student inquiry and development of skills and
    content.
  3. Students are expected to take action or produce information for public interaction and/or for the development of their own world view.  In short, assessments go beyond just the teacher’s eyes.

Ok, my point of entry for this topic is a very simple yet powerful reflective prompt.  In the last few months, this Image result for globe with question mark
question has repeatedly popped up in various media and manifested in conversations I had  with people from a range of professional backgrounds. Drum roll…

That question is: Are you teaching for tomorrow?

Despite being simple, this question generates complex and stimulating responses. Moreover, it can very well be the cornerstone of your personal educational philosophy, a guiding principle for a team/department, or, starting point to develop an instructional/assessment model. In other words, if an adult walked into a classroom, would they feel like they time traveled to their high school Image result for 1980s classroom overheadexperience of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s etc?  This would imply t hat students are being taught for 20th century goals with 20th century methods and beliefs. If so,  that  is an an eyebrow raiser indeed.

The most compelling way to teach for tomorrow  is to utilize practices that address global citizenship – a combination of knowledge, skills, and dispositions whose goal focuses on students’ futures – not to replicate the educational experiences their teacher had.   (On a side note it is imperative to prepare teachers to be globally competent in pre-service programs and to continue that training with continuing development opportunities. However,  this is for a future post but a teaser is provided below with the collaborative tool, Padlet).

Ok,  watch this inspiring Ted Talk about Global Citizenship/Education which includes the practice being done in urban centers and with elementary students.

 

What a great video… multiple main themes are expressed with applications.  Moreover, the sentiment about teaching for tomorrow is framed in practical contexts. Mary Hayden puts it this way:  

Even for those school-age students today who will never in adulthood leave their native shores, the future is certain to be so heavily influenced by international developments and their lives within national boundaries so affected by factors emanating from outside those boundaries that they will be hugely disadvantaged by an education that has not raised their awareness of, sensitivity to and facility with issues arising from beyond a national “home” context. 

By the way, if this statement doesn’t impact, reinforce, change, or inspire the way you teach or develop your own practice please let me know. We need to talk.

So, What Can Teaching For the Future Look Like?

I mentioned above 4 inroads for teachers to make a global turn for teaching and learning- resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes.  The suggestions below address each of these inroads (they are not Image result for world with light bulbmutually exclusive).  Utilizing any of them with your classes  explicitly and intentionally  teaches for tomorrow. Content knowledge, skills, and students’ world views are developed from a stance that is forward looking and applicable beyond classroom walls. Additionally, globalization (and all its systems, issues, possibilities etc.) – not nationalism, not a test, not industrialization -moves to the center of your students’ classroom experiences.

Here are some tools and suggestions to consider and follow up on. The bold orange headings are the topics/practices that embraces global education and citizenship.  Below them are links to online tools and resources related to the headings in orange. These are only a start…

 

 

 

 

So, to finish this post, but not this topic, I want share one more video that addresses the importance of global citizenship and effectively discredits the claim that global citizenship is impossible because of its reliance on nationhood.  To those individuals I refer them to the realities of stateless refugees and to the team of refugees who competed in the Rio Olympics.

Enjoy exploring the suggested readings and the Padlet comments below.  Lastly, Teach for Tomorrow! Your students and the world will be grateful.

 

Suggested Reading:

 

Padlet Used for Feedback on Global Education from a  Teacher Workshop:

Celebratitude! – Recognizing the Great things Teachers Do

I am a big fan of recognizing the great things teachers do.  During my first year as an instructional specialist this sentiment spontaneously formed in my mind one day into this  saying, “It is easy to support what you love and what you believe in.”  Wow!  It felt… right. Perfect. That idea quickly morphed into action. I sought out ways I could celebrate teachers who are doing new, innovative, and great things in their classroom.  Moreover, I felt/knew it was
important that teachers were aware people were grateful for their ideas and actions.

I call this  “celebratitude” (yes, a simple combination of celebrate and gratitude).  In fact, although not formerly defined in my job description, this implied duty it is one of my favorite parts of my position – because I choose it to be.   I am convinced that spreading the word about what students are learning, producing and achieving is necessary for a healthy educational culture and community.  These narratives guide public perception about educators and the next generation of adult citizens towards the positive, heart lifting, and amazing realities that come from an effective and inspiring teacher.

Don’t Be Humble – Your Students Deserve to be Known

Still, a teacher once commented to me that she doesn’t need to promote or advertise what she does in her class.  Her students were proof of her effective work.  I, as you can imagine, respectfully disagree.  Here is why.

A teacher is still the single most important factor in a child’s education.  The learning experiences a teacher structures impacts the cognitive and affective development of young people. Indeed, teacher appreciation day/week is nice, but with any formalization, our attention to what is important can wander once that season has passed.

The messaging around teaching, and education in general, matters.  Like any other profession,  the public constructs opinions and world views about the practices, values, and outcomes of educational systems. Promoting the successes we experience in education  challenges negative narratives about students, teachers, and education in general.  To put it simply, schools do great things every day of the year, (yes in the summer too!). People deserve to know that. Students deserve that recognition.  Teachers deserve that praise.

 

Recognition Matters – So Do It!

Getting student work into what I call “the public sphere” is indicative of 21st century teaching and learning.  The public sphere (meaning student work that is not just for the teacher’s eyes only) provides an authentic setting for students to demonstrate their understanding and take informed action. I admire teachers who have internalized this practice as part of their professional charge.

Now that I am out of the classroom I have shifted my focus more onto the celebration of teachers and their expertise.  Here are a few approaches to teacher Celebratitude:

  1. Showcase a teacher’s instructional practices with your school board and superintendent.
  2. Share accomplishments on social and traditional, media.
  3. Buy a gift card for teachers who lead extra curricular activities without a stipend (especially important when their own building principals have overlooked their accomplishments/effort).

But, the best way, I believe, is to nominate teachers for local, state, regional, national, and international awards.  Below is a list of awards I have nominated teacher for in the last three years. Just the practice is fulfilling, rewarding, humbling, important.

Additionally, if you belong to an organization that values education, why not sponsor an annual teacher prize?  It is quote-when-you-see-a-great-teacher-you-are-seeing-a-work-of-art-geoffrey-canada-91-82-86very easy and I would be happy, along with a range of other like-minded professionals, to promote your initiative.

I want to conclude by reinforcing that this is one of my favorite parts of my job.  It has informed me about the work teachers do, built positive relationships, improves teaching and learning, and prepares me to speak intelligently about the social studies program in our county. So, if you are a specialist, chair, or administrator I advise making the practice of nominating teachers for award part of your professional practice.

 

(Lucky) 13 Teacher Awards 

This list is just a start. And as you will notice, these awards are all social studies/history focused. But, that is my job! Check them out, share them with your colleagues,  and let me know additional ones.  I know they are out there.

Enjoy!

  1. Gilded Lehman Teacher of the Year:  Recognizes outstanding K–12 American history teachers across the country.
  2. American Historical Association – Beveridge Family Teaching Award: Recognizes excellence and innovation in elementary, middle school, and secondary history teaching.
  3. Organization of American Historians – Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award: Recognizes the contributions made by pre-collegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American history.
  4. VFW Teacher of the Year Award: Recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students.
  5. National History Day (NHD) Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award: Recognizes outstanding NHD teachers.
  6. The John Marshall Foundation Teacher Award Program: Recognizes excellence in teaching the Constitution (teachers in VA eligible).
  7. American Lawyers Alliance Teacher of the Year Award: Honors United States public and private Middle and High school teachers who have made significant contributions in the area of law-related education.
  8. Mount Vernon Estate History Teacher of the Year: Recognizes teachers who bring creativity and passion to the classroom, instills a love of learning in students, and deepens student understanding and appreciation of history.
  9. NCSS Award for Global Understanding Given in Honor of James M. Becker: recognizes a social studies educator (or a team of educators) who has made notable contributions in helping social studies students increase their understanding of the world.
  10. NCSS Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year Award: recognize exceptional classroom social studies teachers for grades K-6, 5-8, and 7-12.
  11. National Council for Geographic Education Disntinguished Teaching Award: Recognizes excellence in geography teaching at the primary and secondary levels.
  12. The Council for Economic Education John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award: Recognizes excellence in economic and financial education by honoring three national educators in the elementary, middle and high school levels.
  13. Varkey Foundation Global Education Teacher Award:   A US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

U.S. History in a Global Context: A Free Resource for Educators

Globalization has changed the purpose of education. In response to the demands of an increasingly complex, nuanced, and connected world, schools in the United States offer a variety of global experiences for students.  These approaches seek to develop students’ global competencies. One way these competencies can be met is to globalize the teaching and learning of U.S. History.

Currently, the AP, IB,  the Common Core State Standards, the C3 Framework, and NCSS themes all share this call to infuse global perspectives into contemporary education.   Moreover, groups like the Asia Society, VIF, and World Savvy have identified frameworks and credentials addressing global competency for students and teachers. However, there is a need for resources, instructional approaches, and assessment types dedicated to placing U.S. History in a
Global Context instead of teaching it in isolation.
connectThe great news is that resource is now available!

The U.S. History in a Global Context project is a dynamic resource that supports teachers’ move toward this broader contextualization. The resources we have assembled are designed to inspire teacher creativity, develop lessons, modify instruction, and bolster understanding of the “How” and “Why” of globalizing U.S. History .

Additionally, we hope that the project develops your advocacy for this approach to teaching U.S. History. Ultimately, by using this “global turn” you will better prepare your students to succeed in the future.

  •  For an overview of the resource, watch this screencast:

http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cDeVfZ16OF

  •  Resource Website is here:

http://globalushistory.edublogs.org/

To finish, I want to reference the prolific historian, Dr. Peter Stearns. He notes,

“A more global framework creates new perspectives, and some fresh challenges, making American history a livelier experience and, of course, linking it to other history courses in a less fragmented way. Ultimately, I would suggest, a global approach to American history lets us deal with three key, and difficult, questions – important ones, but tough ones as well.”

I hope you enjoy and utilize this resource.  It will go through monthly updates throughout 2016.  If you would like to contribute to the resource, please reach out through the U.S, in Global Context feedback area.