Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer reading

The many aspects of globalization, from its roots to its consequences, have been on everybody's mind, including educators, for quite a while now. It is clear that our teaching needs to take into consideration the changing world in which we, teachers and students, live. The summer readings articulate clearly the very importance of teaching global competency. Anticipating and adjusting to what our students will need once they graduate, laying the foundations and preparing our students to best build their own future has always been BB&N's goals. In a sense, we have already geared the school towards the goals set by a global education when we worked on the characteristic of success at BB&N and on our motto. Rather than looking at all that students must know, all they must do, I'd like to think about the toolbox needed to know what to do in a global world. Can we shape the positive and confident attitude they should adopt when facing their future? That's how we tackled the challenging question of "what's needed to succeed at BB&N" and may be we can come up with a list similar to the characteristics of success, but this time for global competence. We could also continue working on what our motto means, and read it with the lenses of global education. Could "Kindness" lead to "good citizenship" and to the "ethical dispositions to invent a future that enhances human well-being" (Reimers, p.200)?

            Some colleagues have mentioned the many ways in which we, as a school, are already offering concrete opportunities of global education. From integrated technology into our teaching, as a main communication tool and a window open to the world, to the choice of plays performed that raise crucial current questions of our society, to the Community Service program among many others, we are able to tap into different subjects, combine various skills, and collaborate for students to take part into global experiences. However, we have lost some opportunities (co-curriculum courses, cross-departmental teachers…) or missed others (a sabbatical to give time and encourage exploring the world, a teachers' exchange program). Hopefully, these readings will bring teachers and administrators together to offer and support initiatives that advance global education for students and teachers.

            As a language teacher and a parent of a bilingual and bicultural child, I have always strongly believed that learning a new language and being aware of foreign cultures are vital assets when educating and preparing our students to the global world they are about to enter. We are fortunate that BB&N has always supported strong world language instruction. From starting Spanish and French in the Lower School, to offering six languages at the Upper School, to the Double Language Program, to organizing trips and exchanges in other countries, our students have many opportunities to open their horizons, get familiar with the unfamiliar, being curious about differences and start their global education. The WLD teachers are passionate about opening our students' minds and empowering them to venture in another language, another country, another culture. I am looking forward to the discussions, ideas, and projects these summer readings will generate in our next Department meetings.

Cécile Roucher-Greenberg
World Languages Department Chair
Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
80 Gerry's Landing Road
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-800-2172

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.