Educators and business leaders have long ago realized that the 21st century global community will require citizens of all nations to be knowledgable about other cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking. In order for American students to be able to compete in the global marketplace, or even just to be good citizens, they need to know about cultures outside of the West. Unfortunately, our public schools seldom are able to provide them opportunities for international education, not when funding is so tight and what little resources are available usually go towards test preparation and adherence to narrowly defined standards that nearly always include humanities education solely about the USA and Western Europe.
I would like to address this problem by creating and teaching an after-school class for high school students about learning some of the non-Western history and literature required for effective Global Citizenship.
I am a Massachusetts state certified high school teacher in English and Social Studies with 13 years of in-the-classroom experience, as well an adjunct professor in the Education department of a local university. I hold a Ph.D. in Educational Studies, and both a B.A. and M.A. in Literature. I have actually already designed, and taught, this Global Citizenship course for 8 years to high schoolers as part of a school curriculum in a high-powered suburban high school. I now want to expand this class, and make it an after-school offering open to students from around the Boston area, in urban as well as suburban schools.
This class is designed not only to engage students with international content (history, literature, language, cuisine), but is also structured, pedagogically, to address multiple kinds of student ability levels, needs and interests (this is called “Differentiated Instruction,” for those who like Edspeak). The class uses not only traditional pedagogical methods like discussions, textual analysis, and lectures, but also features a heavy independent component where students research international issues of their own choosing, and teach each other (and me!) about them.
The class will be open to any student from grades 9-12, although there will be an application process where students need to write a short essay explaining why they want to take the course and how they know they can meet the responsibilities. I will cap the class at 20, and use these essays as admissions criteria in the event that interest exceeds capacity.
The class will begin in the Fall of 2013. Why so late? I need time to ensure funding, then start advertising and recruiting students, who will sign up in the Spring of 2013. This is the normal cycle of how class signups work. Once the class begins, it will meet once a week, after school, for two hours at a centrally located classroom between the participating neighborhoods, accessible via public transportation (I have several local university campuses as candidates). The class will last for either one semester or one year, depending on funding (at the current level, I am asking for one semester's worth of funding). Alternatively, I might run the class as a summer session, beginning in either July of 2013 or 2014. The class will have an online component to accommodate distance learning.
Upon completion of the course, I will attempt (but cannot guarantee at this point) to have the students' individual schools confer course credit. At the very least, I will write the students letters for their college application file.
Here is a breakdown of how the funding will be used:
Books: $10 a book x 5 books for the course x 20 students = $1000
Facility rental space for the classroom: $1000
Transportation (reimbursing students for bus passes, trainfare, gas money, etc): $5 a student x 20 students x 15 class sessions = $1500
Food (pizza & soft drinks, plus napkins and utensils, for each class session): $40 x 15 class sessions = $600
Teacher stipend = $2500 (This is very, very cheap - as a full time high school teacher with my qualifications and experience, a one semester course as a part of my contract would earn me about $11,000)
Should the project be overfunded, I will distribute the excess among all of these budget items.
Any questions, feel free to email me: [email protected]
Thank you in advance for your pledge!