Saturday, 30 July 2016

Global Education: from the ONE to the MANY.

By: Marie Lardino

B.A. B.Ed. M.Ed. Ed. Admin (P1)
Voice Integrative School
Distillery District
Toronto, Canada

Global Education, suddenly awakened again around the world, seems to be a model that is sadly becoming misinterpreted and over simplified. Global Ed. is a layered, interconnected philosophy of thinking, learning and teaching; and within the context of practice, Global Education's integrative approach remains difficult to describe. It entails the theoretical as well as  the experiential articulation and ongoing evaluation of a (not so new) tranformative educational model. 

Its spatial relationships and interrelated concepts/approaches must be viewed as interdependent and practiced through the same lens. I am not speaking about any of the following ideas in isolation; i.e., "student voice, international education, anti-bullying lessons, student centred learning, or multicultural education", etc. In general, these are very worthy ideas that inherently apply to Global Education; however, in isolation they remain add-on's. No one can (or should) describe an integrative paradigm as being any of the above ideas on their own. 

My work with Global Ed. began at OISE/UT in the mid 1990’s as a Master of Ed. student (and collaborator with 
Dr. David Selby and Dr. Graham Pike); and later, despite academic skepticism about the theory's practical viability, this philosophy became a successful school-wide model in 2000 at Voice Integrative School in Toronto. To this day, there is no other school that was founded in the spirit, principles, hopes and in collaboration with global ed's innovators. 

What I can say today, is that after 18 years of practice building VIS through a firm belief in its mandate, Global Education works. It fosters critical thinkers. It creates academics. It enables kids to envision probable and preferred futures. Global Ed. transforms students into change agents. And as is our school's motto, I see our alumni becoming "responsible citizens" in a world that requires change through action, intellect, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking and compassion.  

Finally, practical knowledge counts. No educational theory is yet viable without having been through the trials and tribulations of practice. That said, let’s acknowledge the theorist, ask the practitioner; and give equal credit to both. And when it comes to marketing schemes that take others’ ideas and sell them as their own, question deeply.

In this (2014) photo: with Dr. Graham Pike who is now Dean of International Studies at VIU. He, along with Dr. David Selby, were the theory behind Global Education philosophy in the 1980's. Voice Integrative School's mandate could never have come into practice today without the work of Dr. Pike and Dr. Selby who gave me a voice to articulate my story as an educator and my original hope of what education could be.