Thursday, August 22, 2013

Two thoughts on reading the Reimers paper and a third from the Asia Society book

1. A lot of what Reimers is proposing kept making me think about Quaker education and what was called "holistic education" back in the day – emphasis on creating an ethical relationship between the individual and the world; the idea that "the light of God is in everyone"; the Quaker value of encouraging students to "make the world better; to become informed skilled agents of positive social, political, economic, and educational change" seems to be what Reimers is calling "motivation to act (as Peggy pointed out, sometimes that's the one that gives us difficulty).  Quaker education valuing the ability to reason and the ability to perceive truth regardless of tradition or government imperatives is what we call "critical thinking."

2. Reimers had tons of curricular ideas to develop "global competency" to encourage more "cosmopolitan views" and learn more geography and economics and "the nature of global trade treaties," etc. However, I kept feeling overwhelmed by his proposals – especially given the rapid changes the world is experiencing right now.   My second thought was about a speech Sylvia Poggoli gave at a BB&N commencement back when we had alum speakers - she graduated from the Buckingham School in '63 or '64.  Buckingham was a very small and somewhat eccentric school back then and, because the Head was interested in China all the girls had to study (extensively) Chinese history and culture.  She said that it taught her how to appreciate a country and a people she had known nothing about, but more importantly, the depth of understanding that was demanded of her taught her how to learn.


3.  In reading about "global competence," I was struck by how the importance of understanding another's background and point of view and being able to effectively communicate across those differences are the same skills required to be an good negotiator, mediator, or teacher.  Third thought: we have a microcosm of global differences/perspectives right here in Cambridge. That is not to diminish the importance of international awareness and necessity for understanding the cultural and economic history of international players. However, "They will need to understand how differences in power, wealth, and access to knowledge affect opportunities for individuals and social groups" can begin right outside our classroom door. (though, as Rob said, we would need to watch out for  being paternalistic)


BTW, what are the "top 10 in-demand jobs" (Ch. 1, Asia Society) that didn't exist as recently as 2004???    All the lists I found (Forbes, U.S. News & World Report) included dentist, dental hygienist, car mechanic . . .

another BTW - did I miss it or are we good posters but pretty bad comment makers?  I liked what several people wrote, but felt too ridiculous to write "I agree!!" or "great insight!" all over the place.

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