About Me

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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

Why do I value glocal education and citizenship? A personal ethic of care

Over the past few years I've been motivated by the question, "What can I do to motivate and equip teacher candidates to develop a glocal perspective?" Another way to phrase this question is, "How do we help new teachers become glocal citizens?" I've been wrestling with these questions for some time. Today, I've been wondering why this is important to me. Why should teachers care about glocal citizenship? Why should teachers help educate their students about the local and global community?  Why do I value the idea of learning about, and being active in, world issues?

I suspect, not surprisingly, that part of my motivation in this area is due to my own background: early childhood years in India, family discussions and media awareness about global issues as a young person, traveling during university through parts of Latin America, studies that focused on international relations, and educational work in places such as Thailand and Haiti in my professional life. So, glocal awareness has become a part of my DNA - somewhat like a branch drafted onto a tree, except that the branch is increasingly becoming the tree.

But I think it's more than just a "nurture" aspect.  I have a deep-seated belief that knowing about the local and global community, and being an active participant within them, is part of what it is to be fully human: to care for people, their circumstances and life-situations, whether they live beside me or in places I will never see. This ethic of care is certainly part of most religious value systems ("who is my neighbour?") and it resonates deeply with me. So learning about the world, and being an active citizen of it, gives me the opportunity to learn about others and support them the best I can.

The idea of learning about, and supporting, others around the world is certainly altruistic. It's also messy. Many of the issues of social justice I once considered "black and white" are not so starkly contrasted in my mind anymore. But that's for another post!

Now, if this my personal ethic of care, is it reasonable to think that a similar ethic of (glocal) care should be encouraged of new teachers?

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