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Signature Summer Institutes Address Complex Global Issues

17 September 2014

Teachers working

It was a busy summer at Primary Source as we welcomed hundreds of K-12 educators across our programs, including 1 and 2-day workshops, online courses, and our two signature summer institutes Teaching for Global Understanding in the 21st Century and Cultural Proficiency for Today's Diverse Schools. Held in July, these two courses gave teachers a chance to spend a week collaborating with their peers and gaining new perspectives on how to create globally-focused classrooms.

Teaching for Global Understanding 2014Now in its 7th year, Teaching for Global Understanding gave educators the opportunity to examine a different global theme each day, including the global economy, the environment, health, human rights, and the globalization of culture. "It can be difficult to conceptualize how to integrate global content into pre-existing curriculum," says Program Director Ann Marie Gleeson. "This course allows teachers to gain new ideas and strategies for addressing complex global issues in a meaningful but accessible manner for their students across grade levels and disciplines." Through keynote presentations, collaborative breakout groups, and panel discussions, participants explored the importance of developing key skills in their students such as global awareness, critical thinking, media literacy, collaboration, intercultural communication, technological ability, and civic engagement. "I am totally re-invigorated as a teacher by this course," said one middle school educator. "The informative breakout sessions gave me concrete activities to take and use with my students that focused on global mindfulness and economy."

Cultural Proficiency for Today's Diverse Schools, now in its 3rd year, brought teachers together to discuss the rich diversity of our schools. "At Primary Source, we believe that cultural proficiency is not a to-do list you can check off," says Program Director Susan Zeiger. "It's a long-term process; a commitment to examining your teaching practice and working to make your school and your classroom a place that's truly inclusive for students of all backgrounds." With a focus on classroom practices and school policies, participants examined religion, culture, and language; student and school culture and peer relationships; families, parents, and school involvement; and the legal and socioeconomic challenges facing refugee and immigrant youth and communities. "Though I consider myself a culturally responsive teacher, this course opened my thinking to a higher level," said one elementary school educator. "It made me reflect on who I am as a teacher of culturally diverse students."

At Primary Source, our staff is passionate about promoting global understanding, and responses like these from our program participants remind us why we do what we do. "There's a reason these summer institutes feel so collaborative and vital," says Susan Zeiger. "Because we're all in this work together."

 

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