A Cause Greater than Yourself…

Book Cover

Here’s a book on global citizenship!

I was led to that book from watching a video interview by Katie Couric that really gave me something positive to reflect on… service to others and the difference it makes. Not only does it feel good to know you’re helping others… you can actually make a real difference.

Educators make a difference in the lives of their students on a regular basis. How can we get our kids to take that and ‘pay it forward’. I’m convinced that we can combine helping opportunities with encouraging stories (like the one above) to really build global citizenship.

AND! We benefit by helping others! It’s a win-win! There’s plenty of evidence that shows that giving of ourselves is good for us, so let’s get out there and give what we can!

From Therese Borchard’s article: “How Giving Makes Us Happy”.

Did the 4 Cs replace the 3 Rs?

3Rs vs 4CsSometimes, it seems like it’s simply hyperbole… Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking. Is that really so different than Reading and Writing (Communication)? If you really engage in Arithmetic and learn how to Read and Write well aren’t you also tapping into Creativity and Critical Thinking?

It is not the same.

There’s no doubt that teachers, some teachers, great teachers, have taught the 4Cs for a long time. However, if we use the 3 Rs as the basis for our educational paradigm, students may or may not learn the 4 Cs. If we move beyond the basics and embrace the 4 Cs as the essential skills that all learners must become proficient with then we have begun to shift our goals for education to providing complex learning environments that match the complex, real-world problems that we all have to deal with.

Of course, Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic (aka literacy and numeracy) are still foundational skills. Critics often ask how we can possibly focus on ‘higher order’ skills when so many struggle with basic skills. Of course learners struggle in an increasingly irrelevant model of education (the 19th Century factory model). Learning them in an environment that often lacks real-world context can be challenging. So, why not embed them in complex problems that require learners to think critically and creatively and collaborate with others? One of the great values of modern technology in the classroom is that it allows students to become masters of their own learning. Learners can engage in the curriculum in ways that are more

From: The Southeast Technology Network CIC Grant Project http://nrctech.weebly.com/21st-century-skills.html

personally meaningful for them AND that hold more relevance to the real world. Learners can direct their own learning, while meeting curricular goals.

Here’s some related articles/links:

Are there really 6 Cs?…. The 6 C’s of Education for the 21st Century

6 Cs Infographic

How can I be a catalyst for changing education from a 19th Century factory model to a 21st Century model focused on developing globally aware learning and thinking skills?

QUICKPOST: 7-Step Prep: Make a Weekly Plan for YOU!

7-Step Prep: Make a Weekly Plan for YOU!

I know I’ve been posting “QuickPost”s more than more reflective and individualized posts but… it’s still summer (barely)! This one really reminded me that I need to visit Edutopia more often. It really is choc full of very practical, immediately applicable resources.

This one is simply good advice for getting and staying organized.

7-Step Prep: Make a Weekly Plan for YOU!.

QUCK POST: “The Hard Part”

If we can keep honoring teaching perhaps the US will finally develop a culture that values professional educators the way many other countries (with great student learning results) do…

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ peter-greene/the-hardest-part-teaching_b_5554448.html

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ peter-greene/the-hardest-part-teaching_b_5554448.html

The metaphor from this article really jumped out at me:

Teaching is like painting a huge Victorian mansion. And you don’t actually have enough paint. And when you get to some sections of the house it turns out the wood is a little rotten or not ready for the paint. And about every hour some supervisor comes around and asks you to get down off the ladder and explain why you aren’t making faster progress. And some days the weather is terrible. So it takes all your art and skill and experience to do a job where the house still ends up looking good.

Read it… it’s good. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-greene/the-hardest-part-teaching_b_5554448.html


Global Collaboration – the new TEAM!

Global Collaboration (1)Have you ever been asked to… “choose 3 words that describe you and expound on those…“?

It’s a question we should all be prepared for. With all the diversity and individualism that exists in the world it would be easy to argue that there aren’t any ‘right answers’ to that question. Yet, there are some specific skills and attributes that we want our young learners to develop. Most especially, if you scan modern school philosophy, vision and mission statements and expected learning goals for students, you see attributes like collaborative worker, global citizen, principled individual, effective communicator, technologically proficient, etc.  Choose any 3 of those. They would contribute to the development of a globally collaborative mindset. These are not just attributes for young learners to develop, these are characteristics that we all benefit from strengthening for ourselves. With increasing connectedness across the globe, Global Collaboration is a reality. The old phrase that, “Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM)” gets new life when put into a global context.

The ability to form personal relationships and build rapport, to adapt one’s management style without sacrificing authenticity and the ability to mediate cultural differences are critical competencies in the global realm. ~ Renita Wolfwriting about, “Global Teams – Leadership Skills And Characteristics

New technologies facilitate global collaboration (Skype, Twitter, Google Docs, WebEx, wikis, etc.) and reduce or remove barriers that once existed. However, what our students most benefit from is learning about cultural similarities and differences that impact communication and relationship-building. Helping students build global collaboration skills sets them up for success in the 21st century.

A curriculum that makes intercultural competency an asset, rather than a deficit, can powerfully motivate immigrant students who navigate cultural borders daily to engage, not just in further developing their global competency, but in all disciplines as well. Schools that find a way to tap the resources that culturally diverse communities of parents and teachers offer to the education of all students will engage these communities in positive ways, both in and out of school. Fernando M. Reimers for ASCD.

A somewhat old but still useful list of resources to help teachers ‘create global classrooms’ can be found in this ASCD article.

For leaders, it is just as important to build the same skills in order to establish and sustain a strong team. Just, make sure you check yourself every once in a while so you don’t find yourself becoming ‘the foreigner who is undermining the global team’ because you are “operating under a few common fallacies” …

From: http://www.aipmm.com/anthropology/2011/01/ the-foreigner-who-could-be-undermining-your-global-team.php

From: http://www.aipmm.com/anthropology/2011/01/ the-foreigner-who-could-be-undermining-your-global-team.php

1. It’s all the other people that are foreign, not me.

2. It’s right and proper that the others mold themselves to my culture.

2a. Okay, it’s maybe not right and proper exactly, but at least necessary, since the project originates here. It’s our project, it’s their job to conform. ~ “The Foreigner who could be Undermining your Global Team”

As long as those crucial relationships are built, together, everyone really does achieve more! There’s really nothing else like feeling the synergy that can develop from a true collaboration (global, or, otherwise)!