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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Should new teachers care about glocal engagement?

In my earlier post, I discussed my personal ethic of care: what I see as the raison d'etre for why I am engaged with glocal education and citizenship. Following this previous post, I now consider whether my personal ethic of care should be "transplanted" (transmitted? transferred? these are all problematic because of the connotations associated with each of these words) into others, particularly new teachers? Should I educate, equip, and empower others with this part of my value system?

It's somewhat of a silly and narcissistic question. First, many new teachers already share a similar ethic of care i.e. it's not all about me! Second, I recognize that many of the "nurture" aspects of my own development, which have led to the development of my ethic of care, are not going to be shared by others. New teachers come with their own "buffet" of background experiences, some of which will motivate them to a glocal citizenship disposition and others which will not. This needs to be recognized and honoured.

So beyond the silliness of the question, I do see value in helping new teachers develop a glocal perspective. Perhaps most importantly, a glocal perspective helps them help their students to see the "bigness" of the world - an amazing (and sometimes ugly) world it is! A glocal understanding also helps teachers to assist their students in seeing the injustices of the world and the nuances within these injustices. Glocal perspective-building encourages teachers and students to see the value in learning languages, the beauty of music and art from different parts of the world, and a more complete perspective of history and geography. It should also motivate us to action.

I don't particularly like the phrase "citizens of the world", partly because I really don't know what this means. However, we do talk a lot about 21st century learning these days - the ability to analyze, the importance of creativity, etc - all skills and traits which can help in discovering the world and shedding light on the blight and beauty of humanity. New teachers have an incredible opportunity!

I love the Haitian phrase - piti piti, little by little - we can help nurture teachers to be active glocal citizens.

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