Small Gestures, Big Impact
Much is made of the silo effect in our schools. It would be ideal, of course, to have our teachers working together to ensure our children don't learn content in a vacuum. And there have been some incredible proposals ranging from team teaching and schedule shifts to school buildings entirely re-designed to accommodate a more communal and interdisciplinary faculty. All show great promise...and come with heavy price tags.
But what if it isn't as complicated as we think to bring about a collegial atmosphere to our schools? One of the side conversations with this week's guest, Heather Mattingly, meandered to the idea of designing a school day with a global mindset. Mattingly commented on the number of her colleagues who speak at least some Spanish and how surprised the kids seem to be when an Algebra teacher can greet them the same way she did. 'It shows a level of support for my work when that happens and it shows the kids that we are all learners in many different subjects,' she said. That got us to thinking about how little gestures can have significant impact. If teachers used even a few Spanish words (or Bosnian or Arabic words for that matter) during the school day, how might that shift the general sense of purpose for a student population that, as adults, will have no choice but to engage with the broader world? What if international headlines were streamed on our school library screens instead of national headlines seemingly obsessed only with DC politics?
While we both agreed foreign travel is imperative to successful adults going forward, there are indeed ways to bring the world to them in the meantime. And it can start with the simplest of things...Buenos Dias!