Pushing to Become More Globally Literate

Choose one outside your comfort zone. Learn. Be aware of your thinking patterns, learning style, metacognition, reflect and share.

NOW Literacies. This is a new term that was introduced to me this year. What does it mean to be literate? And what does it mean to be a literate educator?

On my first day working with Silvia, I came across this quote by Alvin Toffler.

This quote has stuck with me throughout the year as I have been learning so many new skills and literacies. Being able to read and write a book, an essay, even an article, is no longer enough. Did you know that the underlined words in this post are actually hyperlinks that will bring you to other sites to continue a side discussion and discovery? Reading and Writing (in English) is no longer just from left to right, top to bottom. Silvia showed us that being literate today means being able to read and write, understand and follow information in many different ways. It also means being aware of these literacies and constantly thinking about which you are using and which still need to be improved upon. These Now Literacies are:

  • Basic Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Information Literacy
  • Network Literacy
  • Global Literacy
  • Digital Citizenship

Global Literacy is one I feel I am the least comfortable with at this point in time. I’d like to believe that I am aware of what is going on in the world. I think that I am a tolerant person who is aware and respectful of beliefs and opinions that are different than my own. But I’ve never really taken a step back to consider how my own culture and experiences affect the things I believe and share.

I have been teaching since 2007. In these years, I’ve taught in 3 different cities in Canada, however I’ve ONLY taught in private Jewish Day Schools. I’ve never taught in the public system, other than the weeks I spent student teaching in Montreal during my B.Ed. I’ve taught in 3 different cities, 2 different provinces, but they’ve all been Canadian. I’ve never taught in any other country. How could this NOT affect the things I believe to be possible in education?

In the summer of 2018 I took a course around Indigenous Education in Canada. One important discussion was how can we teach a history that we have not experienced ourselves? The suggestion was to bring in Elders to teach specific lessons, understanding that their perspective would be much more appropriate for sharing such an important piece of history.

I think Global Literacy is important as a leader as well. You need to be aware of who the teachers in your building are, what perspectives they may be coming with, and how will those perspectives be different from your perspectives? How will you lead and motivate not from a place of demanding, but by inspiring?

Before then though, how can I bring this Global Literacy into my classroom? It can’t simply be about teaching them about other cultures and telling them they need to be sensitive. They need to actually experience it. My colleague, Bethany, has been doing Mystery Skypes with her students. She recently asked us what value Mystery Skypes have. If I think about it from a Global Literacy perspective, students will first need to know how to ask the questions. Can they speak in their own language? Do they need to do some research? How will they react if they hear an answer that may be surprising to them. What will they do or say if they disagree with the group they are Skyping with? How will each experience help them with all the future Mystery Skypes they do?

And as I said in my recent #breakingsterotypes, I don’t know everything…and that’s GREAT! Global Literacy means that I will be able to create, collaborate, connect, communicate and think critically to amplify my learning and the learning of my students.

 

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