Global Perspectives in Middle School

Global Perspectives in Middle School

Class 6 has 70 minutes allotted to GP every week. To introduce the subject teachers carried out a number of activities to illustrate the idea of perspective and the term global. On the 26th of September students began their first Challenge: Culture, Tradition and Identity, which tied in well with what they are currently studying in Social Studies. They are looking at the Indus Valley Civilization and part of the work on it highlights the trade of goods and exchange of ideas. This will lead into a discussion of the excerpt from Martin Luther King and the activities that follow.

Students will be introduced to the term globalization and look at the ways different cultures and communities celebrate New Year. They will have an opportunity to do pair and group activities; it is hoped that in this process they will learn the important skills of communication, cooperation and collaboration. They will have plenty of opportunity to express their point of view and look at issues from multiple perspectives. They will begin to identify bias in different resource material and videos that they are shown and have an opportunity for debate. Bigger questions about cultural relativity and the idea that, perhaps with globalization, different communities and cultures may be in danger of losing their identity will also make for interesting discussion.

Class 7 has one 35 minute lesson allotted to GP each week. Currently students are looking at Buddhism in their history lessons and will be doing the Challenge: Belief Systems beginning next week (3rd October). Teachers plan to begin with a general discussion by asking,What do we mean when we talk about our belief about something?,Where do these beliefs come from? After a discussion about these points it will be clear that many factors play into why we feel a certain way about a particular matter or why we have the opinions and/or prejudices/biases that we do and where they stem from. Teachers then plan to focus on beliefs about food. We hope to be able to collaborate with Lomas High School in Argentina and Imagine Prep Surprise in the US on this topic.

In Class 8 we have decided to begin the History curriculum with the Challenge: Conflict Resolution. They don’t have any time allotted specifically to GP during the week, so this challenge will be covered in their history lessons. After doing the activities related to this challenge students will look at particular conflicts in history as case studies. They will look at one local issue, one dispute in which Pakistan is involved at a national level and then choose a few global conflicts to study. All the conflicts chosen will be based on issues arising from shared resources.

So far the students have made individual posters based on the donkey problem highlighting different ways to resolve conflicts. They have also carried out the extension activity on river crossing which they found interesting and challenging. The purpose of this activity was to highlight the need for cooperation, compromise, communication and collaboration when working together for a common cause/purpose. It also illustrated that sharing limited resources can give rise to conflict.

Recently we invited an enterprising young woman who runs a program called BullyProof to our school for a workshop. This workshop tied in very well with what students had been discussing in their GP class about the different kinds of conflicts that arise in school, and although those conflicts were discussed in light of shared resources, this workshop allowed them to discuss more personal and immediate issues or conflicts they may have been confronting.

We are very pleased with how the Global Perspectives Pilot Program is unfolding and plan to continue to update parents and Cambridge about it.