Here is an interesting video titled "Mr. Winkle Wakes". It is about Mr. Winkle who awakes from a 100 year slumber. He finds the world drastically changed and is quite uneasy about these changes. He finally comes to a school and walks through the hallways and classrooms. Here he relaxes and feels at home, simply because the school has not changed much from when he remembers it.
Is it a good or bad thing that Mr Winkle feels that he is in a familiar place when he finds a school?
Mr. Winkle finding the school to be so familiar after 100 years, exaggerated as this might be, makes a good point about our education system. This leads me to think about what our education system is set up to accomplish. Is the education system not a place where we are to train and prepare our young people for the world they are living in and will soon be responsible for? If this is the role of our education system than the answer to the above question is that it is a bad that Mr. Winkle feels the way he does.
This would mean that the school is not accepting the changes and the advances the rest of the world is. The school will be stuck to its old ways, old thinking, and old methods where the rest of the world is leaving it in the dust. Where then do our young people gain the experiences and skills they need to be able to contribute and work at the level the rest of the world is working? They will be learning this on their own, outside of school. If that is the case then our students will continue to feel that school is a big waste of time and they will lose respect for it as it will not prepare them for what lies ahead of them.
In the video presentation “The World is Flat” Thomas L. Friedman discusses how the world has flattened with its communication, and collaboration. Businesses and corporations are now able to be linked with others around the globe through the use of technology and it is completely changing the way we do things. Friedman is suggesting that we are at the beginning of major change and the acceleration at which things are changing.
Our schools must be on board with these changes to prepare and train our students to function in this world. If we are not, our students will be crippled and they will be behind in their skills to contribute and collaborate with the rest of the changing world. We need to prepare our students to be “global” citizens more than ever.
Teaching students to become global citizens can begin even in grades 5 & 6, where I’m currently teaching. Here we can stay informed and close to many of the events happening worldwide. We can train our students to be open minded to many different viewpoints. We need to value the perspectives of others more than ever. We need to continue to have compassion and have a desire to help make our world better.
Educational opportunities can be given to our 10 and 11 year olds to utilize this technology and communication tools to give them basic skills as well as having relevant learning opportunities. Why don’t we set up blogs, or discussion boards for our students to discuss topics with other students there age from other countries? Here they can begin to relate to other children and begin to build that International friendship that will be so needed in their future.
At the very least, our educational system can be a springboard to launch our young people into the mindset of being a global citizen. We will never be able to prepare them for what kinds of tools or technology they will be using in the future, but what we can be doing is instilling in them the qualities and values that will help them to respect whoever they will be working alongside with.