Posted on February 16, 2015
Mid-Pacific recently hosted three researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Research Schools International. As our partners, the Harvard professors are conducting action research on our campus and with the Mid-Pacific faculty to enhance our already deep understanding of global education in the 21st century.
The week's events were highly successful, ultimately ending with our more than 150 faculty members participating in a Global Education course designed specifically by our Harvard research partners and delivered during their time on campus.
To give you an idea of why the topic of global education is so important for our students, I am including my introductory comments from our Community Forum on Global Education below:
History tells us this: over the course of an 85 - 100 year lifecycle, our world has perennially undergone a series of generational turnovers and changes, each in response to the upheaval and crises in the previous generation.
In previous centuries, those "upheavals" and "crises" were manifested in war, cultural shift, and economic uncertainty. As each generation passed, its successor sought and found solutions to these, and the cycles continued.
Today, thanks to longer lifespans, multiple generations - the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials - co-exist on this planet and have concerns rooted in cyclical events that have turned over at an unprecedented pace. Those of us alive today are both witnesses and participants to global strife, economic uncertainty, and a degree of available and shared information that are driving massive change in this, the final generation of the Millennial lifecycle. And a new generation is being born as we share this time together: "Generation Z."
Need an example of our status as witnesses and participants of unprecedented global change? We - you and I - were part of a massive population growth in the 20th century. 1.6B people leapt to 6B in a few short decades, and within years following that explosion, we watched 6B become 7B over the span of a few short years.
Make no mistake: As members of a massive global community, we are witness to and participants in the multilayered issues that come with a rising population, finite resources, and an interdependent global marketplace.
What does this mean in terms of educating our children? Allow me to explain: we remember education as we experienced it - rote and relatively static, dependent on norms and technologies of centuries past - but we must recognize that the world is radically different now, and with that recognition we must admit: Education in this century must think and act differently than it has in the past.
We are children of the 20th century and we are now responsible for educating our Millennial and Generation Z students. Without taking anything away from our accomplishments and our efforts, we must face this truth: Our children must learn to think differently than we did. There are problems and technologies extant today that did not exist in our youth, and the solutions to those problems lie within the elastic and promising minds of our children.
The good news is that Millennials - young people who are today on the cusp of responsibility - are telling us that is their mission. They recognize the truths of the world that has been created for them, and they are asking us to open the doors and to allow them to reach new solutions by shedding traditional methods of learning and by introducing them to the power of a truly global education, one that embraces a world that is rather than a world some might wish still existed.
With partners like the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Research Schools International, Mid-Pacific is opening to the door to the kind of education I have described here.
Mid-Pacific students, in my opinion, represent the best of the Millennial generation; a generation that is more technologically savvy than any other, a generation that has a strong sense of their local and global communities, and a generation that is open-minded and tolerant of differences of opinion.
They work well in teams, they seek feedback on performance, and they want to be involved in a global environment that is constantly shifting and rejecting the 20th century's status quo because it makes a difference.
To whit, one student's comment stood out for me during the last year's study of Global Education at Mid-Pacific. She implored: "Teach us more about the modern problems in the world. Teach us more about global politics. Give us more opportunities to help other people in the world."
Our world needs more citizens like this girl and her motivated, compassionate peers at Mid-Pacific. Our world needs bold, enlightened citizens willing take action, and I believe education is the only industry capable of preparing members of a global society to do just that: ACT.
As educators it starts with us. Here at home, that includes walking a brilliant path
together with our partners at the Research Schools International.