I love learning new concepts and ways of thinking because there's always some "aha" moment, and then it becomes impossible to turn back to the way I thought before.
As a world language teacher, one could say that I've always taught through a global education lens. Perspectives, practices and products of the target language culture is always something I've considered important to teach about, but after completing the State Department's Teachers for Global Classrooms fellowship program, my lens became magnified.
Learning a second language is not just a gateway to the countries that speak that language, it is a gateway to the world. While I absolutely want my students to gain an understanding of the products and practices of the Spanish-speaking world, I want them to be able to apply the skills they've gained to the world at large (learning to appreciate other perspectives, a desire to understand perspectives different from one's own, and seeing that one's personal way of life isn't the only way).
Since the Teachers for Global Classrooms program has ended, I've expanded my teaching to exploring the whole globe, in Spanish. Recently, students were learning how to describe daily routines (getting ready for school, the school day, and afternoon and nightly activities). Each student investigated daily life in any country in the world, and presented to their classmates what life was like for a teenager there. We learned about daily life in various countries within Africa, about daily life in Afghanistan, Brazil, Australia, Norway, Ireland, and Indonesia, to name just a handful. Actually, out of 55 students or so, only 5 or so picked a country where the official language was Spanish! I think that's quite telling as to the curiosity of these teens. Music from the country was featured during the presentations, and in many of them, we learned about typical lunch and dinner dishes. We also sometimes were able to explore gender differences. The presentations led to many conversations outside of just vocabulary and grammar. If it weren't for all the snow days lately, we could have done even so much more.
In the past, I think education has been thought of as a preparation for the world after graduation. I think it's time to re-frame, and grow. Why only prepare students for the world in 18 years? We must bring the world to our learners, today.
I have been a language teacher for fifteen years now and I am intensely passionate about language learning and helping students grow as global citizens. I'm so happy you are here!