Reflections on International Mindedness Martin Skelton International School of Bangkok, 2005
Four things today Discussing our core readings Reflecting on the readings and last week A short(ish) presentation from Martin Developing a learning activity
The most important questions… What are we educating children and students for? What do we want our children and students to become? What kinds of learning matter?
Three reasons why the time for international mindedness is now
1 - Globalisation In recent years many people are traveling around the world, but the world is also traveling around us more and more. Even somebody who never leaves her home is suddenly having to deal with other cultures, having to come to terms with them and learn from them. Pico Iyer, Global Imagination, ‘Ascent’, Fall 2002
2 - Cross-world issues We are interdependently responsible for the environment, for world health issues, for aid, for suffering and more.
3 - The development of self ‘ However rich it may be, no culture embodies all that is valuable in human life and develops the full range of human possibilities. Different cultures thus correct and complement each other, expand each others’ horizons of thought and alert each other to new forms of fulfilment. In this way, cultural diversity is an important constituent of self-making and human freedom. Derek Pigrum
3 - The development of self Whether life will continue on this world depends on us. And whether we survive, or preserve a life worth living, depends on the kinds of self we are able to create…. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
What is international mindedness?
The act of translation ‘… we carry the ‘meaning’ of a certain text over into another language, in order to give that meaning after-life. Translation is seen as an empowering act, a nourishing act, an act of affirmative play.’ Anton Shammas, in ‘Lives in Translation, Palgrave Macmillan
Becoming… Intercultural understanding should involve the opening of new possibilities of being and becoming for the subject. Ambiguity is necessary for the existence and recognition of the subject because each person is different yet their particularity comes into existence as a response to a particular cultural context. Derek Pigrum
The culture of connection “ The Culture of Division is based on boundaries and seeks to uphold and create them. The Culture of Connection seeks to dissolve them.” Philip Slater in Utne Magazine. March-April 2003
Ultimately an act of understanding Complex, fleeting, unpredictable, inconsistent.
How does it happen?
Leaving the self I think the most important thing about traveling is to leave one’s assumptions at home, and to empty oneself out as much as possible…to try to see the world through the eyes of people very different from oneself. Pico Iyer, Global Imagination, in ‘Ascent’ magazine, Fall 2002
Leaving our institutionalisation To generate a perspective that can transform existing identities, we need to stand outside the institutions that reproduce our identities so as to understand group identities as institutionally produced and thus of limited historical significance. Mahmood Mandami, Race and Ethnicity as Political Identities in the African Context, in ‘Identity’ 2004
“ The self is the orienting principle of the West, perhaps even of modernity as a whole. All questions begin with the self; it is the source of highest responsibility. All things, community, the nation, religion, spirituality, even God, are subordinated to the individual, which is the highest form of good.” Sikeena Karmali in Ascent Magazine Fall 2002 The ‘Self’ in the West
“ The East, with the heavy hand of tradition, functions through consensus. Loyalties and duties are ascriptive. Community and not self is the orienting principle. The individual, the nation, religion, spirituality and yes, here too, God is subordinated to the greater good, the higher will of the community the people.” Sikeena Karmali in Ascent Magazine Fall 2002 The ‘Self’ in the East
Identifying with others
‘ ‘ The capacity to identify with others is thus an attack on our…selfhood, but we can hardly hope to go straight to that ultimate stage. Common sense suggests that until we can practice it with a few people – at least one – we have little hope of doing so indiscriminately.’
Developmentally The array of learning capacities which people can develop are not picked up one by one, independently. They grow out of each other as the branches grow out of a trunk. Guy Claxton, “Wise-Up - The Challenge of Life-Long Learning.’
How do we learn? “… expert human action operates at what can only be viewed as an intuitive level with a very low level of conscious awareness of why, and how, one is doing what one is doing. High levels of consciousness are necessary for learning at early stages where one learns procedures in a relatively explicit algorithmic fashion, but become less and less necessary, and even a hindrance, at a higher level of expertise.” John Mackenzie
Slow Thinking ‘ We know that the brain is built to linger as well as to rush, and that slow thinking sometimes leads to better answers. We know that knowledge makes itself known through sensations,images, feelings and inklings as well as through clear,conscious thoughts.’ Guy Claxton
The development of international mindedness Through: early sensory experiences to…
The development of international mindedness … the development of self, to…
The development of international mindedness … the awareness of the ‘other’, to…
The development of international mindedness … the self and the other co-existing, to…
The development of international mindedness … family/tribe, to…
The development of international mindedness … nation, to…
The development of international mindedness inter-national to…
The development of international mindedness independent and inter-dependent on a global scale
We are seeking to develop Similarity and difference Independence and Interdependence
Building international mindedness into the curriculum
Reaching understanding Understanding emerges when appropriate knowledge is learned and appropriate skills developed and time is allowed and created for deep reflection, all in the context of authentic experiences.
Appropriate skills We need to identify those skills international mindedness shares with other subjects and fields and those that it ‘owns’ specifically.
Appropriate understandings We need to define the essential understandings we are asking children and students to move towards.
Authentic activities Students act as ‘junior partners’ as they encounter academic content in a more or less realistic setting or through questions that seem cogent and not easily answerable. Nobody knows in advance what will emerge. Robert L Fried, The Game of School, Jossey-Bass 2005
“ The self is the orienting principle of the West, perhaps even of modernity as a whole. All questions begin with the self; it is the source of highest responsibility. All things, community, the nation, religion, spirituality, even God, are subordinated to the individual, which is the highest form of good.” Sikeena Karmali in Ascent Magazine Fall 2002
“ The East, with the heavy hand of tradition, functions through consensus. Loyalties and duties are ascriptive. Community and not self is the orienting principle. The individual, the nation, religion, spirituality and yes, here too, God is subordinated to the greater good, the higher will of the community the people.” Sikeena Karmali in Ascent Magazine Fall 2002
What is good international education?
Summarising, international education
Be a good general education
Be a truly international construct
Incorporate global issues
Address cultural/linguistic/ religious diversity
Be implemented internationally
Have international currency acceptability, and
Produce better global citizens
Boyd Roberts International Schools Journal Vol XXII No 2 2003 p. 70
Int. education in action
“ International education in action will demonstrate and openness to otherness, a willingness to be challenged and other similar characteristics of personality and mind.”
Boyd Roberts International Schools Journal Vol XXII No 2 2003 p. 72
Who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
‘ ’ If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?’