Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Central Alberta Teachers' Convention

On Friday, my colleague Lisa Plamondon and I are presenting about global citizenship at the Central Alberta Teachers' Convention in Red Deer, Alberta.

Here's our presentation:

Here are some links our audience may appreciate:

Cultural Icebergs

In culture, like an iceberg, we only see 10% of what's really going on. We see the actions, but we can't see the norms and values.

Sometimes our icebergs can collide with each other when we don't stop and think about what's really going on.

I heard a speaker once talking about how she moved to Kenya from the United States. She was to be picked up by some people from the village where she was going to live. Her plane arrived at 9am. The people came to pick her up at 11:00am. They were not apologetic when they arrived, but cheerfully greeted her and brought her back to the village. In North America, being late would be considered rude. But Kenyan norms aren't the same as American norms.

Students learn this concept best through stories and examples. Tell your kids your stories! Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty is a great way to demonstrate this. Check out this clip from the episode where Jessica Simpson goes to Uganda. Having students notice the behaviours that are different than their own will help them figure out what norms and values are behind them.

What the World Eats

Time put out a fascinating photo-essay called What the World Eats, which is from a book called Hungry Planet. In it, families are displayed with all the food they eat in a week. It also lists the amount the family spends on food for the week, as well as the family's favourite foods.

It's really fascinating to look at the differences between what families eat from different parts of the world, and especially the differences between people living in developing and developed countries. Contrast the highly processed diet of the family above from North Carolina to the family below, living in a refugee camp in Chad.

It's also really interesting to look at the apparent health and happiness of the families. Look at this family from Tingo, Peru. They subside on $30 a week, but the family looks incredibly happy, right?

As a classroom activity, having students spend time looking through the photos and noting their observations about the food and the people is really worthwhile. My students loved looking these photos! They spent a few class periods just looking and noticing. This is a great, visual way for students to see how different people around the world live and hopefully develop a bit of empathy for people living in other situations.

What Motivates Youth?

McCann, a research and marketing company, put out a report called The Truth About Youth. You can view the whole report here.

In this fascinating study, McCann surveyed 7000 youth around the world, asking them questions about what motivates them.

Here are the sixteen qualities youth rated:
So, what do you think? Which were ranked highest amongst youth around the world? Here we go...

The top three motivators are Commune (the need for connection, relationships and community), Justice (the need for social or personal justice, to do what's right, to be an activist), and Authenticity (the need to see things as they are).

These three motivators tell us why it's so important to teach our students to be global citizens. Our students yearn to work together, to be connected, to see the truth, and to achieve what's right, all qualities of global citizens.