Global Horizons project at CIE
Reported by Mohammad Mahboob Morshed
The Global Horizons project at the Center for International Education strives to promote a greater awareness of the world community in Massachusetts’ K-12 schools by providing global and multicultural education curriculum resources and training to educators throughout the Western Massachusetts region. The Massachusetts Global Education consortium under the Massachusetts Department of Education has funded the project for more than a decade. There are two major activities i.e. (i) offering weekend workshops for K-12 educators, and ii) operating a global and multicultural education curriculum resource center.
The weekend workshops for educators offer a range of topics that reflect global issues and culture such as multiculturalism, global citizenship, immigration and refugee issues, identity, tolerance, technology and social media, gender issues, environmental issues and so on. Registration is free for all K-12 educators including student teachers and the participants receive a stipend for attending the workshop. Facilitators having expertise on specific topics of global interest conduct the workshops. Facilitators make every effort to provide participants with participatory, hands-on and experiential learning experiences.
A recent workshop in November, 2013 focused on Immigration and Belonging: Building Inclusive and Supportive Classrooms. Seventeen teachers from K-12 schools of Belchertown, Amherst, Hadley and Springfield area attended. The facilitators were Alison Morse and Deb Krivoy who work for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization that engages students in an examination of racism and prejudice to promote a more civil society. The workshop addressed important questions such as what does it mean to be American, and how do immigrant groups secure a place for themselves in the society as Americans.
This workshop helped educators breathe a new life into social and civic studies by examining immigration in the US. Participants learned a variety of engaging teaching strategies to spark meaningful conversations on issues of identity, history and the diverse population of the US. Through a mix of short films and experiential activities, participants addressed important questions about how members of the school community can act in ways that foster empathy and inclusivity. A bibliography of relevant resources for the classroom was also provided
AID Effectiveness and Capacity Building
Reported by Mei Lan Frame
Ash Hartwell together with CIE members Jacob Carter and Stephen Richardson led an interactive session based on their literature review of aid effectiveness USAID as part of a process to develop guidance and training on 'Government to Government' (G2G) aid in education. G2G, the key approach for aid under the Obama administration, is part of the US government’s initiative to become the world’s leading donor. Part of the team’s effort was to provide a toolkit for people in the field to use new aid modalities, and address the question, “What is effective aid with budgetary support?”
Ash began with a discussion of key concepts in the field, engaging the audience by asking them to define well-known acronyms in the field. Through this he began an introduction to different modalities of aid, structural aid frameworks and policies, before summarizing the architecture of international aid to Education during the past fifteen years He then discussed how G2G plays out in regard to USAID's current priorities in the domain of education, which is shifting to change aid modalities.
Jacob Carter then led an activity about planning, based on major themes identified in documents and literature that he had reviewed. Jacob passed out these themes on slips of paper, and the audience was asked to work in pairs to discuss their reactions to their theme. Then members of the audience shared statements and what they discussed, as well as anecdotes about their experiences in with capacity-building, the impact of cultural conditions, and policy development.
Following that, Stephen Richardson led an activity centered on the challenge of developing capacity. He created an imaginary scenario of a donor country and a recipient country and asked the audience for input on how to conduct assessment, and how to raise awareness of conditions for acceptance of aid. This activity served to segue towards a definition of capacity, which Stephen showed in a visual model that included core capacity, technical capacity, and enabling environment.
The session ended with a question: “What is future of CIE (and all of us) if aid is moving more towards government to government funding rather than project-based?” This left the audience much to think about, in regards to future work on projects, future career paths, as well as implications for further research.
As we do every fall, students and faculty of CIE went on a two-day retreat. This year’s retreat was held at Angel’s Rest in a beautiful rural setting in the foothills of the Berkshires. The retreat combined fun with serious discussions.
This year’s retreat focused on CIE’s espoused goal of producing “Scholar Practitioners” in its programs. During the retreat, a variety of exercises were used to help the 30 participants articulate their thoughts on the meaning of Scholar-Practitioner and to then suggest ways in which classes, activities and colleagues could help CIE better work to develop Scholar-Practitioners.
The retreat also included a variety of community-building exercises such as a Directed Drawing activity, a Raging River exercise, and a treasure-hunt-style quiz testing participants’ knowledge of fun facts. A great time was had by all. The retreat kept alive the 45 year tradition of Fall retreats as an integral part of the experience of being at CIE.