While I was reading Reimers' article about Educating for Global Competency, I thought of the eye-opening experience I had while living for a year in another culture. Although that culture was European middle class, that is Germany, I had multiple times in conversations with the local people where I needed to think through and explain our US policies and then ask questions and come to understanding about their government policies. Fortunately I had studied the language and as the year progressed, I grew to have a new respect for the differences in our culture. It would be wonderful if every person could have the opportunity to live in another country and converse with the people there.
In our own classrooms we must model respect and help students understand our own culture and the lives of people in different countries. We ourselves need to expand and show attitudes of understanding, tolerance and respect for the differences between people. Having a diverse group of students (& teachers) in our class allows us to have discussions with a variety of points of view and encourages students to consider other expressions. Through it all we are working toward deep understanding of human rights throughout the world in a variety of cultures which will lead to respectful and peaceful interactions.