It’s summer vacation. Finally. In addition to more time for relaxing with family, cooking decent meals, working out, and attempting to garden, summer also means that I have a stack of books I’ve been meaning to read, reread, or finish reading for a long time.
Yesterday I got through book #1: Yong Zhao’s Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization. ASCD, 2009.
Dr. Zhao was the keynote speaker at the Rowland Foundation Conference at the University of Vermont which I attended last fall after receiving his book at the Teachers for Global Classrooms Global Symposium in February 2015.
One of the questions that he poses in his book is What knowledge is of most worth in the global and digital economy? This is an important question given another of Zhao’s points, “what can we do to help our children live, work, interact with people from different cultures and countries?” Schools need to seriously consider, especially given current presidential campaign rhetoric about “Making America Great Again”, how students develop global perspective and citizenship. Zhao writes on page 113, “As citizens of the globe, they need to be aware of societal issues, to care about people in distant places, to understand the nature of global economic integration, to appreciate the interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples, to respect and protect cultural diversity, to fight for social justice for all, and to protect planet Earth – home for all human beings.” This is a long and difficult list to tackle in most public schools given all of the other pressures teachers face and it certainly can’t be done by social studies teachers alone.
As I continue my summer reading stack, this is the big idea that will continue to be first and foremost in my mind as I plan my courses and student learning experiences for next year.