“Education is the key to addressing inequity and racism in society” and if we are not “working in education to combat racism, we are complicit in maintaining inequity and the status quo,” relayed Professor H. Richard Milner, an expert on the topic of race. He also noted that teachers “can struggle with tools to advance justice-centered curriculum and instructional opportunities that work against racism” and therefore education programs for teachers must support them “in developing knowledge and skills in ways that centralize race so that students can examine both localized and global perspectives and worldviews.”
This month we also asked our millennials around the world to weigh in on this timely question: Do we need to talk more about racism in Education? “Textbooks were created by people who lived in a racist society,” noted Jacob Navarrete. “Any nation that can stomach the principle of caste, which is the most brutal ‘classification’ of human beings based on birth anywhere in the world, cannot help but differentiate, and differentiate repeatedly, on the basis of every parameter society can construct in a desperate and insular bid to separate ‘us’ from ‘them’,” wrote Harmony Siganporia from India. “Nothing short of critical pedagogical interventions which would overhaul what we consider to be the very purpose of our educational system, and the resources to channel these interventions into more meaningful curricular design, can help us change these terms of engagement.” From South Africa, Dominique Dryding explained that “Until educational institutions take the lived experiences of their student bodies seriously and recognize that racism does not only include name calling and physical exclusion, racism in schools and universities will not end.”
In September 2015, 193 countries signed up to support the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals for our planet and the people that live on it. The all-encompassing plan included promises to end poverty, feed everyone, create stability and peace, provide quality education and protect the future of our world. Every man, woman and child on the planet were invited to play their part to turn 17 goals into action and the promises into reality. How are we all doing so far? What have leaders learned from the implementation journey, and as a new school year begins, how can we build on those lessons to improve our efforts to achieve our planet’s plan moving forward? “The SDGs are a shared vision of humanity – they are the missing (vision) piece of our globalisation puzzle!” said Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, who spoke with us this month. “Educators have an essential role in making sure the SDGs become a real social contract with the people.”
How do we better bridge the gap between research and practice to encourage innovation in learning? This month we spoke with Alan Daly, one of the authors of the new book, Future Directions of Educational Change, who believes that in the past, educators have taken a more “knowledge” or “human capital” approach to educational change and what’s missing is the day to day interactions “between and among practitioners as they go about their important work.” Since “education at its core is social work,” Daly believes more focus is needed on the learning that “happens between and among human beings when they interact with one another.”
Cyberbullying and other Internet dangers – what are the world’s teachers doing about it? A recent OECD study of approximately 540,000 students in 72 countries clearly showed that over the last decade, student well-being has seriously declined. In our interview with Andreas Schleicher, he noted that the “most distressing threat to student well-being is bullying, and it can have serious consequences for the victim, the bully and the bystanders.” Our Global Teacher Bloggers are pioneers and innovators in fields such as technology integration, mathematics coaching, special needs education, science instruction, and gender equity. They have founded schools, written curricula, and led classrooms in 16 different countries that stretch across every populated continent on earth. This month they responded to these questions: How do we help instill a sense of global citizenship, of civic-mindedness, and respect on the internet? What are some of the best strategies you have seen in practice in your school communities? “In the classroom, online safety or digital citizenship should not be discussed during a designated month; instead, students should hear it from all teachers and the components should be woven across the curriculum all year long,” writes Shaelynn Farnsworth. “We have formed a Cyber Congress in our school which consists of School Leader, Teacher members, Student members and Parents as members,” notes Rashmi Kathuria in India. She explains that the objective is “to keep a watch on the Internet and to be safe.” And from Finland, Maarit Rossi discusses that country’s recent national competition which challenged all Finnish schools “to invent good ways to use mobile in education.”
Our thanks once again to all our amazing teachers, millennials, other contributors and supporters around the world. We look forward to more of your contributions next month. When it comes to the world of children, there is always more work to be done.
(Photos are courtesy of CMRubinWorld)
C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.
Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld