Human Issues Symposium The World Is A Classroom to Create Global Citizens
January 31, 2008
Panel Discussion Presenters
Dr. Joseph Kennedy, SUNY Canton
Dr. Assis Malaquias, St. Lawrence University
Superintendent with Miss Molly Pressey, Elementary Principal, Han, Gyu Tai, grade 5 student, Ahn, Joon Young, grade 7 student, Caleb Bresette, host family elementary student, Julie Bresette, host family parent, Bill Roome, host family parent, Sophia Roome, host family elementary student
SUNY Canton (referred to as Planet Canton)
|Dr. Joseph Kennedy: Dr. Kennedy felt that globalization has been put in a negative context, but that it is here to stay. In his youth, his family was a Chevy family, American steel for American wheels. Today, his car is German-made. As he partially disrobed, he read the labels from his jacket (tailored in the USA), watch (Taiwan), shoes (China), belt (Argentina). Articles of clothing are made all over the world. Cars, banking, and, yes even education have become global. SUNY Canton currently has almost 150 international students and expects to double that number next year.|
|Dr. Molly Mott: Dr. Mott teaches a course on Canine and Feline Behavior. In her traditional class, students intake information by reading text, listening to lectures, observing behavior of animals, and hearing an occasional guest speaker. In the more global, online classroom, her students viewed a video-clip of a dingo which she downloaded from the web. Then, her students participated in conversation with world wide experts on a blog which was a fascinating experience. One SUNY Canton professor teaches Chinese History and Culture while he lives in China. While other students were reading about the Chinese New Year, his students viewed nearly live videos and were engaged in conversations. Online learning is an authentic experience which is not possible in a traditional classroom. It is a powerful medium that brings people together, anytime, anywhere. English is the language of online learning.|
Ms. Pauline Graveline: Scholars from around the world come to teach at SUNY Canton. One, from China, wanted to do something for his home town. Students in China are slated for a particular educational path at an early age and cant change the inevitable. They then enter the workforce based upon that education. He wanted to add opportunities for students who were not the elite, selected for the university path, but perhaps the technical path. SUNY Canton representatives were very well received at four campuses as they talked about how they could work together. They met with hundreds of students. The first students will enroll in virtual and face-to-face classes in the fall. They now have hope that a different path can be attained. We are becoming Planet Canton.
St. Lawrence University
Dr. Assis Malaquias: Dr. Malaquias feels that the title of the symposium defines his job supporting students to develop skills necessary for global citizenry while engaged in a liberal arts program. St. Lawrence University is known for its international connections which began after the Cold War with trips to Canada. Now, students study overseas in nineteen countries. Kenya was suspended due to internal strife. There is the strong belief that students need to learn globally to participate as global citizens. Their graduating students have little choice but to interact with people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Three components of all on campus programs include knowledge of regions, cultures and global issues, interaction skills across cultural boundaries, and the values of respect and concern for others. Overseas and on campus opportunities provide two avenues to expose students and support them as they go on to work globally, across regions and languages.
Adam Kyamatere: While Kenyan by birth, Adam has lived in many countries. The value of international study is peer to peer student meetings. Conversations have the much greater affect of breaking down barriers than classroom learning. He added that for Americans to compete, we must become well versed in other cultures and languages. International students can help break down stereotypes. He said, given the fact that he has lived in many countries, Borders are useless.
Neil Coutinho: Ugandan by birth, Neil has also lived in several countries, some due to war and strife while others due to opportunity. He said, There is a depth to this topic. Am I a global citizen? Do I perceive the world as a classroom? He is a physics major, but was raised by two humanitarian parents. He feels a strong need to do more than just Physics with people from around the world. Although studying a subject he also engages with others in the campus classroom and the community where he is involved in leadership opportunities and serves dinners to the poor. International students have the potential to change lives wherever they are.
Madrid-Waddington Central School
Lynn Roy: After listening to others, she said that No matter what Homeland Security says, we have no borders. This year she has a foreign exchange student from Germany, Mi Ling. Mi Lings grandparent went to China and had a child who then went to Vietnam. When Saigon fell, the family went to Germany where Mi Ling was born. As with Adam and Neil, she is a global citizen. As a Spanish teacher, Mrs. Roy preached for years about early language acquisition ability. What she presented, she now realizes was not relevant. At middle and high school levels, languages other than English come to life with travel and exchange programs, but that opportunity is limited to secondary students. Madrid-Waddington has participated in a well-established elementary Korean student exchange program for five years. It teaches tolerance and understanding of different cultures at the elementary / middle levels, where values are established.
Molly Pressey: The elementary Korean student exchange program was started by Dr. Andrew Ha, SUNY Potsdam, who was unable to attend due to illness. He brought Korean graduate students to SUNY Potsdam. He visited area school districts asking if they wanted to host elementary Korean students and potentially a parent. Annually, Madrid-Waddington hosts two or three students with other students participating in neighboring districts (e.g. Norwood-Norfolk and Ogdensburg). She added that one of the best parts is that Madrid-Waddington elementary students learn about the culture, language, and foods of the Korean culture. Students remain with their host families for nine to twelve weeks, and have been as young as first grade. Actually, Joon is the oldest student that they have hosted. For example, a little first grade student was accompanied by his mother, but most students are accompanied from Korea to their host families by Su Hil Park who then leaves the youngster with the host family. Korean students then spoke about the similarities and differences in homes, foods, schools, and why they wanted to come to America. The host family students spoke about family life with young Korean exchange students.
Julie Bressette: As a host mom, she has three boys of her own, ages 20, 15, and 8. Fifth grader, Gyu has broadened her horizons. He talks about Korean history. They dont speak of North or South Korea, but rather, the Republic of Korea. One of the things she finds interesting is that age is counted from conception. Gyu and his American brothers are typical youngsters who wrestle and fight over video games. It is a true family experience for Gyu.
Question and Answer: The Question / Answer session quickly turned into a conversation.
Dr. Graveline discussed the slides that had been showing throughout the discussion on the PowerPoint presentation of SUNY Canton trips. There are so many similarities of experience. Students said, We all listen to the same kind of music and enjoy the same art. Hemingway is everywhere.
University cliques and experience with ones own kind brought the conversation together. Universities are supposed to support a diversity of culture, but there are cliques. Political correctness doesnt seem to be a problem here in the North Country. Students said, You take a little bit of something from everyone you meet. On the other hand, it is clear that it is how it is handled. One student said someone asked him when he learned English. He asked the person when he/she learned English (to an American). A host family member said that individuals mattered and that they had the power to interact or stay together as a clique. It put it all into perspective.
Most American students first experience with someone from another culture happens at college level. Outreach endeavors from area colleges are available to local schools with faculty members serving as a resource. The SUNY Canton online program and the St. Lawrence University First Year Program were touted as local-international immediate sense of community experiences for students.
Summary: A professor said, we need to break intercultural and international barriers as early as possible. From a student, I dont think it is a melting pot. I think it is a salad bowl. We add our own things and it picks up the flavor. And from a professor, If you look at the North Country from a United States perspective, we are remote. But, if you look at it from a Canadian perspective, we are central. It is all a matter of perspective. Geography is not critical.
In total, individual efforts have a great effect on the world. We all live in it together and must work together to make the world a classroom to create global citizens.