Sunday, December 13, 2015

Food for Thought: What is International Mindedness to you?

Dear all,

I'd like to start by thanking you for making my first semester as Head of School so enjoyable and fun. The manner in which you have approached energizing, engaging and empowering our students is inspiring and encourages me to think that there will be a day when we are the best school in the universe. I can see that more and more of you are trying new techniques, activities and pedagogies in your classrooms that are transforming teaching and learning at ISHCMC. I have witnessed many things this year that even a year ago would not have been attempted. You should be proud of what you are doing. Thank you for a wonderful semester's work,

My Food for Thought this week relates back to conversations that I have been having with SLTA and interview candidates about how we truly create internationally minded students who have empathy, understanding and tolerance of and for everyone in the world. I know its not an easy task. If we can take Mindfulness to the next level and have it embedded in everything that happens at school then this will help. If all our students truly cared about others and their environment then this would be another step. But as the saying goes, 'you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink.' Is it possible for us to encourage our students to want to understand other cultures and how much do they need to understand to develop compassion for others?


Our complex task is made more difficult because of the perceptions that all of us bring with us to our vision of other people, nationalities, religions etc. When we talk about the idea of international mindedness we all bring a different perspective to this despite the fact that the IB defines it for us and identifies key strands and flows between the programmes. This paper is very long but if you are interested in the IB and what international mindedness could look like it is worth taking a look through. This short video, 'A Portrait with a Twist', demonstrates how perceptions can even change the way a photographer takes a portrait and further emphasizes how our own background, culture, beliefs and social and economic experience influence us all the time in the judgments that we make.

As I have been searching for ideas relating to this topic I came across this lesson plan on the Global Oneness Project site. The lesson could be one that you could use or adapt in homeroom or advisory. . Even if you don't read the lesson plan you should look through the 18 photographs because I think you will find them interesting and maybe you could use one or two occasionally to encourage students to talk about what they see and relate it to their lives and what they do and feel. This would be similar to the TV provocation that is now running near to the entrance to EE. You may also wish to  spend a few minutes browsing the Global Oneness Site, which on its own is very interesting and contains lots of thought provoking information that could be shared with our students to broaden their experiences and thoughts.

Have a good Sunday,