What We’re Doing

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Gibran and I have set out on a yearlong journey to learn from the best educational systems in the world. We are using the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores to help guide our trip. We are in Finland for the month of September, China for October, and Singapore for November. From there, our loose plan is to visit Central and South America during the winter, West Africa in early spring, and back to Asia for the rest of the school-year.

Cross-cultural learning is not a simple task, and that’s because education is inextricably tied to culture. Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish educator and scholar, uses the metaphor of uprooting an indigenous plant: “Education systems are complex cultural, organic entities like plants or trees that grow well only in the home soil and climate.” A quick example: It is quite difficult to bring student-centered approaches to culturally hierarchical societies. For some cultures, the idea of children speaking more than the teacher is simply unacceptable.

STILL, we believe there are some teaching techniques and strategies that have the potential to transfer successfully from one culture to another. Returning to the plant metaphor, regardless of the biodiversity, there are essentials that the vast majority of plants share: food, water, air. And, we are hoping to find those practices, the transferable ones, to share and hopefully bring home to put into practice.

We are going to share what we’re learning through writing and video. Gibran is going to make mini-documentaries, and I am going to write blog posts as we go. We’re excited to learn and equally excited to share. Thanks for being part of our journey.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. You two are such amazing and admirable young people. I’m so grateful that we met and had many unforgettable moments not only in the educational field but also in the freetime. I shall never forget Gibran’s fenomenal nine points in Trivia Be Quiz on the last round and Emily’s delight when coming from sauna and after eating a kotaburger. We will miss you and I hope that our friendship lasts forever. You are the best cause for the first trip ever to th US: I miss you both <3

    1. Gibran

      Pauliina! Your words are really special. As people, friends, and trivia players we think the world of you and Aki. It was incredible to see you teach, and even better to call you a friend. Next time for sure in the US. Much love.

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