Listen then ask. Living there, how might you feel?

What are some of the greatest challenges in education today? Dig deeper – In education, what is the most urgent challenge we face?


I don’t have enough experience or initials after my name to give a definitive answer. Einstein’s thought, surely, should be enough for us to start…

As I see it, though, from my own experience and eyes, apathy is our greatest foe.  So in answering the question, how can we embrace globally collaborative projects in our curricular areas to address this facet of 21st century learning, I look to my gut.

My gut, keeping in mind its rich history of false fire drills and miscues, suggests that we can’t lose in trying to grow students up with roots soaked-wet in empathy and international mindedness.

Would you agree or disagree?

With that, I look to my curricular area – the IBO –  for guidance in delivering a message to students. The message says open your mind, right?  Other people, in different places and cultures, can be right, too.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to get on a plane and experience a different culture, different food, different thought patterns, etc, etc. Most of us, if we’re lucky enough, are able to meet a few people here and there from different countries. Of course, with the Internet, it’s far easier to connect with people from all over the world in less than a minute through social media.

How can I use the Internet, this tool that connects and tears down walls, in educating students about empathy and global mindedness?  As you can see from the link, the opportunities are there. I had no idea.

As a librarian who wants to inspire reading, I have connected with @MaddyLaVoe in New Jersey to participate in The Global Read Aloud. We agree for our students to share thoughts and reflections on a padlet, while reading A Long Walk to Water. We plan on sorting out more details once we know our classes better. If you’d like to join us, please connect with Maddy or me.

long walk to water

This will, I hope, promote perspective, empathy, and global mindedness.

As an IB educator, I hope to find a teacher at my new school here in Qingdao, China, with whom I can share The Global Lives Project.

This project aims to share culture, perspective, and empathy from all walks of life on earth. There are lessons available and ready to be delivered. Essentially, there’s a library of videos that have recorded people’s lives over a 24 hour period. What I like most about this (I’ve only watched one video, though) , the recordings don’t share these monumental, life altering moments. Instead, it shows the small, everyday happenings from the life of another.

It’s the small things in life, often overlooked, that carry the most weight.

With the Global Lives project my goal is to convey a message to students that we are all equal and different.

At the core of this project is finding one’s own identity and values. With this, I hope students will not only discover little things about the world, but also little things about themselves. Then, perhaps, we can share our story with video library on the Global Lives Project site.

Who knows, right?



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One Response to Listen then ask. Living there, how might you feel?

  1. Ryan Harwood says:

    Great resources here Mike. I love the idea of the Global Read Aloud and have tried to get our MS involved in the past. I believe some of our ES classes have participated. I had not heard of the Global Lives Project. I’m excited to check that out. I think you might also be interested in TeachSDGs. Its a growing movement to incorporate the UN Sustainable Development Goals into our curriculums.

    It always makes me happy and hopeful to see educators encouraging learning beyond the classroom and with the goal of a better world in mind.


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