Me, me, me

The recent call for hunkering down, closing borders, keeping out the other is contrary to the global citizen’s position on collaboration, understanding the other and how to disagree with another person’s view. In a world of over 7 billion people the requirement to establish a harmonious and workable relationship with the other at a time of extreme stress on world resources is paramount to well being, productivity, and even survival. From a global perspective this is about interconnection, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, empathy, the value of diversity and peaceful outcomes to conflicting ideas.

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Cop that!

The Budgie nine are free to think about their behaviour whilst in Malaysia.

The menbudgie-smuggler issued an apology when they appeared in a Malaysian court, saying they had “no idea” their conduct would be considered inappropriate.

Upon return a spokesperson, one of the nine urged Australians to be sensitive to the cultures of other countries and then asked for privacy. I see the funny side-men who want to strip down to their underwear in public now wanting privacy.

It’s hard to believe that nine, not two or three grown men, some at least with tertiary education and including a staffer of Australian Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne, should agree to such behaviour in a country with a majority of people of Muslim faith.  Or didn’t they know that fact.

Lesson here?  How do we avoid the diplomatic time, money and embarrassment when Aussies still commit ‘I didn’t know that we would be offending them” behaviour?

I agree with and stand committed to the inclusion of intercultural understanding as a capability in the Australian curriculum. However, it begs the question, “How many of our educators are culturally aware and know how to impart intercultural understanding in their programs? Has the provision of face to face support been made available to schools to facilitate this?

Sadly, the answer leaves us pondering when will the Australian Government next have to apologise for or bail out Aussies arraigned with indecency charges through lack of cultural education, lack of judgment or both?

With the best intentions

Laos 1

I’ve been hearing rumblings about voluntourism.  You know, when people go on an adventure to a destination in a developing country and offer to help the locals.

Often with the best intentions, school groups, adult groups and individuals make their way to assist organisations in places like Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand with under researched information and unintended negative consequences.  Not realising the impact of their generosity, children in care can be left vulnerable or at worst, and through easy access, exploited.

The words of Jim Wakelam from Commission for Missions, say more than I can write. Please take a look at his piece which appeared in Crosslight earlier this year.

Revelling in the richness of cultural experiences

Community Languages

After being asked to present at the Victorian Community Language Schools conference I sat down and my inner voice said, “On what? What do you have to say to the wonderfully tireless workers who deliver their language to community members?”

Grapple, delve, research.  Something jumped onto my lap; the Asia Education Foundation report called the Senior Secondary Languages Education Research Project.                  
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2nd entry: One man’s story

My daughter once said to me, “Cambodia is about the people” and I know now what she means.
With a genocide in the collective living memory of a people, Cambodians have a remarkable outlook.  Forgiveness can be explained by this definition illustrated in a well-known Tibetan Buddhist story about two monks who encounter each other some years after being released from prison where they had been tortured by their captors. “Have you forgiven them?” asks the first. “I will never forgive them! Never!” replies the second. “Well, I guess they still have you in prison, don’t they?” the first says.
In Cambodia there are families who live on less than $1 a day, who live from meal to meal. There are families who grow some rice and during productive seasons, will have enough rice to eat without surplus to trade for money or goods. The Government offers free medical assistance to the poorest families and a discount of 50%  to those who have a little rice.
I met a man from the village of Peak Sneng, who had been shot in the spine during the Khmer Rouge slaughter. The stillness of the night and the gentle breeze under the trees were the backdrop to his story.  He spent three years in hospital undergoing operations to save his life. He later married, had three children and then looked after a fourth child when his daughter became pregnant after a rape attack. His wife left him and went to Thailand. He now looks after three of those chn, one of whom has cerebral palsy. His oldest boy is at Siem Reap at University. Through the love of sport he has become skilled at soccer. Although confined to a wheelchair, in part held together by some rope, has represented his country in a number of overseas competitions. and is the sport teacher at the local junior high school, which by the way, has no soccer field.  We took some soccer balls to the school- a request that came directly from this gentleman.

 

Buddhist Teachings

Cambodia and Laos-a travelling experience

It wasn’t easy to explain my visit to Cambodia and Laos, in fact I found it tricky to know exactly what I’d be involved with. I wasn’t disappointed in the opportunities to support those with less opportunity in life than I have.  I am truly blessed. Thank you Robyn and Uniting Journeys.

Cambodia

Once upon a time, some years back, I travelled with a slightly cynical perspective. I’d observe and retell, often in humourous guise, the societal and cultural differences I noticed with a view that my ‘world’ was the marker by which everything I saw was measured.
Call it ageing, maturity or just eating humble pie, we in the west have a lot to learn from other cultures and people. My visit to Cambodia and Laos, and in particular, to a village about 30 kms out of Siem Reap, has given me plenty to think about.

I came home with so much more than I took-no not luggage, but learning.  I’ve written entries and will publish them every few days. Watch out for my entries and feel free to comment.

They thought they would be hailed as heroes-connecting health, history and culture

It has been mEbola and death practiceore than a year since Liberia, a deeply religious country, embraced one of its biggest taboos, cremating bodies-to rein in the rampaging Ebola pandemic. Thirty young men have been shunned by their community.

http://nyti.ms/1mcDdAs

Find out more about burial practice, culture and Ebola with some discussion and critical thinking to explore at http://bit.ly/1IYEakQ

 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

With all due respect to the dancing dolls in Anaheim, it really isn’t a small world.  It is a complex, multifaceted, diverse, and complicated world. Continue reading

3 reasons for adding global perspectives to ALL learning areas

Capture

The advantage of bringing global perspectives to history, geography, civics and citizenship, humanities, art, drama, physical education, social education, philosophy, literacy-in fact, to all learning areas not defined is being noticed by increasing numbers of educators. So what dispositions are being developed? Continue reading

How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm?

fishery farming

Did you know that there are 570 million farms around the world and 500 million of them are owned by families?
These families live in both developing and developed countries.
Did you know that floods that occurred every 100 years are predicted to occur every 25 to 50 years?

Family farming

So it makes sense to not only acknowledge the work these families do, but to also think about the ways we can continue to support them to continue feeding themselves and us.

When you plan a unit of inquiry around food, add a global perspective and look at families, farming, affect of the climate and our connections. In this way we can foster insight, understanding, empathy and the learning needed to find sustainable ways to overcome the challenges that face us.

Take a Virtual Farm Visit linking to the Australian Curriculum Year 4 – 7 Technologies Curriculum and Year 4 and 5 Geography

Activities for Investigating agriculture in Australia can be found at AgriFoods

Behind the brands explores the connection between big companies, sugar and land grabs

Food for thought is a game for learning about small scale farmers and fairness in the global food system

Take action at Aussi Smart

-Keep me posted with your units centred around food.  Dig deeper, think wider and send me your global reach with your unit of inquiry.