A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of keynoting and leading workshops at the EARCOS (East Asia Regional Council of Schools) international teachers’ conference in Shanghai, China. Eleven hundred teachers from across east Asia gathered together to learn, show, and grow, and I have never met a wiser, more compassionate, or more enthusiastic group of teachers in one place at one time.
I was so heartened and hopeful about the future, knowing that so many young people were learning from these amazing teachers. In my next few blog posts I’m going to share some of what I learned from them.
One of the highlights of the conference was meeting and attending workshops with Mike Johnston, the middle school principal at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore. He has co-created an educational movement known as EduCare. EduCare helps lead schools toward better environmental, global issues, and service learning education. Mr. Johnston has moved schools forward by presenting in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia at regional conferences. He has led workshops for teachers and administrators around the world on sustainability, global curriculum K-12, and how service learning should not just be what you do, but who you are as a school. He has dedicated much of his time to not only ensuring students are properly prepared for the world’s most pressing issues, but that they have the skills and desire to take action.
In the first workshop that I attended, Mike shared a diagram of how school curricula is currently structured and provided a vision of how they should and could be structured. Instead of having a school’s mission statement and the global reality standing apart from the curricula (as is the case almost everywhere), he suggests that our global reality – all the issues that humane education covers – be the overarching influence on both the mission of a school and the curricula that’s provided to the students.
With just a slight shift in perspective, our schools could reframe and refocus so that curricula served the real needs of our students and the world, not the needs of meeting IB or AP or standardized test requirements that themselves have been separated from what he refers to as the global reality. Simple, right? Wise, right?
Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, parent, or concerned citizen, spread this idea. It’s just common sense, and it could do a world of good.
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm; Above All, Be Kind; and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach“
My TEDxConejo talk: “Solutionaries”
My TEDxYouth@CEHS “How to Be a Solutionary”
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Filed under: humane education | Tagged: Asia, environmental education, global ethical issues, humane education, international education, service learning, solutionaries, Sustainability, teachers | 5 Comments »