One useful strategy the Fulbright TGC had us use to help frame our travel was to devise a “guiding question” before we left. This insured that the travel would be more than just an adventure, it would be a gateway to research and learning.
To develop your guiding question you need to consider “what overarching themes or concepts you would be interested in exploring further during your international field experience. The topic you focus on should be relevant to your practice in your community ( an issue that affects your school, a curricular theme that you teach, etc)”.
For me, as a teacher librarian who also works with elementary student journalists, I knew I wanted to focus on how students in Morocco used technology to gather information and share stories.
Having a guided question helped by giving me something to focus on as I was bombarded by new experiences in the field.
It was not feasible for most of us to gather much specific data for our guiding questions during the 10 days we were in the field. But when we all gathered back together in Rabat for debriefing we did have the opportunity to share our guiding questions and collect data from each other.
Attached is an example of these, using my Information/Stories/Technology guiding question.
All good teachers know that before you begin teaching anything, it is always best to assess what your target group aka students or teachers or admin, already knows about the topic.
This holds true when working to bring in a global perspective to your classroom or school or district curriculum.
And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, because there all kinds of assessment tools out there. However, most of what I have found is focused on the secondary level (middle to high school). I found I had to to do some digging and some adapting for elementary students.
I used Flipgrid to participate in the Global Read Aloud. It is easy enough for even Kindergartens to use with just a bit of support. It provides a simple platform to record a short (90 seconds is the max) video clip. The students can replay it and rerecord very easily. Flipgrid also has a method of connecting with other schools thru Gridpals.
Before we TGCs (Teachers for Global Classrooms) even left the USA we were cautioned to be ready with an elevator pitch aka a less than 90 second summary of our experiences and/or our position on global education.
But we were also warned against the danger of the “single” story (which is eloquently explained in Chimamanda Ngozi’s TED talk ) To put it much less elegantly and eloquently than she it, it is the danger of stereotyping or oversimplifying a culture.
These are two things worthy of consideration, but just how are we supposed to balance the need for brevity with the desire to do a complicated situation justice?
I suspect every TGCer who comes back from their field experience has the same dilemma.
Thanks to the amazing global connections of a fellow Alabama TGCer, Amber Moore, I was able to attend an Iftar celebration and also got a tour of and brief intro to Islam thanks to the Birmingham Islamic Society.