Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Perspective on Culture over Time


See how my perspective on culture  has changed throughout my life, or has it really changed?

1950's world culture...when technology meant having a clear channel radio station...When listening to a podcast meant sitting on your bed, on a Saturday evening, looking out the window and listening to "Peter Pan" on the radio...coming to you from many, many miles away over Clear Channel Radio. What an invention to marvel--the radio!

1960s world culture...It was probably a Scouting Badge. Brownie Scouts was the greatest. We made pen pal friendships from across the ocean. How fun to gather up  pictures of self, compose a letter, and send this introductory piece to your new friend across the sea, who of course, knew English. This sounds like today's resume or portfolio work! Once prepared, the thin packet of writing and goodies had to be handled with care by the post office and stamped "airmail" for speedy delivery! Waiting was horrendous, as it took days and weeks to hear back from your pen pal. At Christmas, another round of letters were exchanged! Usually, a special treat was included that represented your country or family talents! This exchange of culture lead to a fascination with stamp collecting. What a great way to learn about culture by gathering stamps from other countries. The queens and kings were boring; the nature stamps were the best! And of course, this lead to a discussion on the coins and currency from these countries.

Culture of the 70s...Food! Food! Food! Maybe a friend or family would travel across the world or to a China Town in a major city and bring back a mother-of-pearl  or plastic set of chopsticks. Everyone should learn the proper way of eating with chopsticks!  My interests in this culture lead  me to reading stories of world travel with my own children. We took a magic carpet around the world through the pages of a book. This was often done at bedtime, so as dreams could continue our stories. How many nursery rhymes, jumprope songs, and children's songs of a global nature have been handed down in your family?

Culture 80s style...Cooking as a hobby calls for a study on traditional recipes! In my circle of friendship, we experimented German style sauerbraten, French crepes, Chinese eggrolls, and Japanese tempura...and the list goes on. In those days , the calories didn't seem to count! It seems like the best way to celebrate culture though was to take a cruise! Let's go! The ship sails in less than an hour--for ports unknown. Maybe Alaska, Porta Rico, Venezuela, Europe, and more!

In the 90s...Ah, the birth of WWW. Now we can begin to access global encyclopedias and learn more about culture. Maps are starting to appear that equal the quality in books and on the globe! Bookmark that one! Books of URL's and lessons will take give you great ideas on traveling right on the computer. A brand new search engine, Google, might be handy to keyword search  a country! Just think? Those early URL's from the late 90's are probably non-existent today!

And before we know it...a new millennium has arrived. Oh, and all our clocks are continuing to tick. And the computers still work! By now, those computers dated 2000 are probably antiquated! It is fun to learn about countries from our books, research more on the WWW, connect what we are learning with literature, and then write or illustrate cultural thoughts! EPals are popping up everywhere and virtual global quests are at our fingertips!

The best way to learn though is a face to face visit by a cultural friend. With the turn of the century, there are more exchange students coming to America to share their stories. Many governments ask their teens to share good cheer, spirit, and knowledge about their countries in the American schools. We welcome them with open arms, handshakes, and our American culture!

As this new decade marches on...the world is giant but yet it is small. Travel is more accessible and affordable. Take a look at global culture and learning brought to our American schools by an International Focus on Teen Culture in this Iowa high school... Culture
Thanks American Councils for International Education
in helping to make this event a reality!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

International Focus on Teen Culture

We are the World!Today's crew...exchange students, SEPHS moderators of Q/A session, guest student blogger, teacher librarianOk! Everyone focus!Our mission?Focused on global connectionsInternational Focus on Teen Culture
A Taste of the NationsExchange studentsHappy Exchange StudentsSwitzerladn, Thailand, Germany, China and ArmeniaA Taste of the Nations!Pretzels - a German treat
Bangladesh vegetable soup!Chinese DumplingsThailand SatayA Taste of the NationArmenian, Italian, and Brazilian desertsLots happening: tweets, bloggers, active listening!
Tweeting allowed!Germany exchange studentWelcome students from Baxter High SchoolGreat students from China, Bangladesh, Armenia, and Iowa!Italy?International Focus on Teen Culture

A wonderful day of sharing with an international audience in a high school library!

May 3, 2012