Monday, April 6, 2009

Educating A Colonized Mind - Who Are We?

This is more of a thought in process, but I hope it's one with which everyone can help. There are a lot of elements that brought these ideas together - music, various twitter tweets, random blog posts that I've read, and President Obama's Inaugural Address. Here's how it's come together.

The more I look to connect our students with a global culture the more I realize I am thinking with a colonized mind. I guess my age is showing. Let me define colonized mind. It is a mind or mindset that narrowly looks at our nation derived from its roots of British colonies, and with a largely Judeo-Christian background. That's who we were, although it's not really that simple. But the more I read and learn the more I realize we are not that anymore.

A recent Will Richardson tweet on Twitter said he really likes reading the NY Times Global Edition, and that he even was pointing his own children toward that resource for news. He wanted, and likes a global view. I look for news sources that come from outside the United States. It's "interesting" to see how the same news is reported based upon who is telling the story.

Vicki Davis, aka Cool Cat Teacher, recently defined a flat classroom in a post entitled "How do YOU Roll?" In that post she talked about vicarious modeling and its affect on students' viewpoints. She said through vicarious modeling and making connections students learn not to be sterotypical. She wrote: "Unfortunately, some of the biggest phobias we all have relate to one another. Flattening the classroom is about learning, technology, and collaboration, but the most important by product about which I am PASSIONATE is how it transforms the world view of the students involved. Learning to overcome cultural barriers and collaborate with anyone, anywhere, anytime, is vital to the success of any nation, and indeed all of us."

Refer back to this past January and the Presidential Inauguration. Partisan politics aside, Barack Obama made it a point to redefine us in his address by stating, "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.
"And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace." Not the thinking of a colonized mind.

I'm not sure if I know who we are now, but I know it's not what we were. I also believe that even if I don't have a good handle on that I should continue to consider this. In our schools we teach children of varying races, creeds, values, and religious backgrounds. We live in diverse communities. While we don't always agree with the values and beliefs of our neighbors surely it is important to respect and consider them. Surely teaching our students to do the same is even more important now. That's why I am passionate about connecting our students. Please comment, share your global connection successes, stories, and insights.

Still in process...

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