Exploring connections for cross-cultural education and experiences
E DU: 657- Global Connections in Education
Section 1: Explore developing international connections by reading these foundational resources:
Being a Social Studies teacher, exploring the world around my classroom has been a very significant theme throughout my time in education. I think the idea of looking around the world truly came to a height last year when I was teaching seventh grade. My PLC partner and I dedicated an entire unit on Human Rights, with the unit task culminating with a student project and focus on human rights violations for a chosen country. Our hook into the unit was directly from the website, www.humanrights.com. From their introduction video, to their thirty short videos clips representing every human right, the website was an immensely useful tool in engaging the students and getting them interested in the upcoming unit, and human rights in general (United for Human Rights 208).
As I was exploring the different websites, a different website that I found interesting was outlining this past years Fulbright program. The ability to spend an entire academic year in a foreign country focusing on a, “globally significant theme,” is something that allows for the person taking part of the program, or an outsider reading their excerpts and notes, to truly start to make connections to a country outside of their own (Fulbright 2018). I am very interested in exploring this program more and finding ways to access past Fulbright participants works, in ways I can utilize them within my class. The aspect of being able to bring in blogs, videos, or journal entries of a person in a foreign land outlining their daily lives and what they are experiencing could fit very well in my unit on the Gilded Age of America. From immigration, industrialization, and urbanization, the stories told by the modern day Fulbright scholars could serve as an interesting look as to lives of people around the world today and could be a comparison document for why people were immigrating to the United States by the thousands during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Section 2: Also look at these programs for preparing for international and cross-cultural experiences
While reviewing different websites and thinking about how to better prepare students for work or activities where cross-cultural understanding will take place, the packet made from the Peace Corps and National Geographic seems like it would be extremely helpful and useful. Breaking down culture in the United States, and then cultures outside of the country, and offering different worksheets within those topics, it presents itself as a resource that can be a fantastic starting point for students to start and better understand how societal norms are different all over the world (Building Bridges 2002). Even if the information may need to be updated due to being a little on the older side, the packet certainly contains ideas and activities that would serve as a solid base for introduction different cultural practices within the classroom.
A second source I found that looked interesting is the Global Scholar page. What looked intriguing with this source, is that it can be easily individualized depending on who and where the student is. The website has links for students of varying stages of the working and learning abroad (Global Scholar 2018). This would be a great resource for myself as a teacher, or to connect a student with for topics to consider prior to leaving to study abroad, or for guiding questions and reflection topics for students who are either abroad, or on their return home.
Section 3: Also explore how you might connect to other students and classrooms using
Two websites really jumped out in regards to this section. Both the ePals and classroom bridges websites seemed to be possible and viable options as resources to connect my classroom to a classroom around the world. What I found intriguing about both websites, is the classroom finder they had available to narrow down potential best fits for my class. The one thing that I do notice between the websites however, it does seem the Classroom Bridges seems to offer a b it more in regards to supplemental material and teacher support (Classroom Bridges 2017). In trying to navigate the ePals site, it just does not seem to offer the same level of support and resources that really would help make it a more viable option (ePals 2017).
United for Human Rights (UHR) (2018). What Are Human Rights? Retrieved from http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/
United for Human Rights (UHR) (2018). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved from http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/universal-declaration-of-human-rights/
Fulbright (2018). Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. Retrieved from http://us.fulbrightonline.org/fulbright-nat-geo-fellowship
Global Scholar (2018). Steps to Become a Global Scholar. Retrieved from http://globalscholar.us/course_description.asp
ePals (2015). ePals Global Community. Retrieved from http://www.epals.com/#/connections
Classroom Bridges (2017). Classroom Bridges, Find a Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.classroombridges.com/find-a-classroom/.