The personal learning network for educators
Here is an updated version of a presentation CULTIVATING HUMANITY IN A SCHOOL.ppt that I gave at my school in 2005. The title was inspired by Martha Nussbaum's book.
Although the presentation was prepared with the help and support of a few colleagues, it went down in flames because it was so badly timed. It came right after a workshop conducted at my school by two of the foremost authorities in international education, but which did little to generate any enthusiasm for international mindedness, and in fact aroused a good deal of antipathy because the presenters made no allowance for the cultural particularities of a good deal of their audience. My audience had just one message, communicated across a wide-ranging discussion that lasted over thirty minutes: "We know all this, so why are you wasting our time rehashing all these wonderful ideas for which we have no opportunity or support to put into practice!"
I was utterly unprepared for a hostile reaction of this kind (led mainly by the international faculty), and also felt unsupported by the administrators of my school who were in the audience. They had asked me to do the presentation, and in my naivete, I had enthusiastically accepted. But through most of the discussion, they remained silent while I struggled with some kind of mollifying response along the lines of: "Yes, I am perfectly aware of the unavoidable constraints we all work under, but this presentation was mainly intended as a way of raising our awareness of how we can practice global mindedness in our school, not just as an optional extra, but as an integral part of the curriculum." At the end, I pointedly referred to the appointment of our new director as an opportunity to chart out a new direction, which was a cue for him to say something. He did make some placatory gestures, and brought the workshop to a merciful end.
I was also present at an international conference in August 2008 where I watched a presenter plagiarising from this presentation in her own, and was very defensive and embarrassed when I pointed out that some of the words she had used were in fact taken from a presentation. She said that she had found it by googling "international mindedness", but there was no author mentioned. (That's true, although she could have quoted the source which was my blog - clearly mentioned in the Google entry. Also, the presentation in its earlier form used the words ïnternaitonal mindedness" instead of "global mindedness".)
Anywhere, here it is, for whatever it is worth. I only place it here to generate some discussion, because many of the ideas remain relevant, even more urgently so than ever. I hope it attracts less vitriol and bile this time.
O the irony of it all...!