Becoming Globally Competent Citizens: A Learning Journey of Two Classrooms in an Interconnected World
Globally competent people are aware of world issues, take perspective, are engaged and know how to communicate to different people. This article portraits a story of two kindergarten classrooms, one in the United States and the other in Greece, both working with culturally diverse children and, in the case of the American classroom, English Language learners. The teachers shared philosophical foundations reflected in their practice and discourse in the classroom as they took a learning journey through Harvard Project Zero’s Out of Eden Learn project. Out of Eden Learn serves as a platform to engage children from both settings in exploring their own neighborhoods, investigating contemporary global issues, and reflecting on how they as individuals fit into a broader geographical and historical context. Through meaningful hands-on experiences, the children in these two classrooms gained deep understandings of themselves and their surroundings, made personal connections and developed empathy as they heard stories of children around the world. In their learning journey, the two teachers used thinking routines to help the children slow down and observe the world around them. The experience not only helped the teachers comply with curriculum standards, but also allowed them to keep alive the children’s capacity to be curious and promote parental involvement. The children developed a sense of self-understanding and self-identity as a point of reference to develop perspective and understanding of other cultures.
KeywordsGlobal competencies Thinking routines Habits of mind Empathy and resilience Culture and language Slow looking
We want to acknowledge Kindergarten B at Shelton Academy in Miami, Florida, and our walking partners from, Piraeus and Lagadas in Greece, New York, and Vancouver for letting us learn in our journey together in Out of Eden Learn.
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