Hi! I’m Jessie Voigts, and I’m passionate about international education. So much so, that I got my PhD in International Education! For me, learning about the world is as integral to life as breathing.
I was born in Michigan, and after many years spent traveling and living in lovely places (Minneapolis, London, Tokyo), am back in Michigan. We live on a lake – not surprisingly, since I am always drawn to water, whether it is at home, or while we travel. In fact, we plan our travels around the proximity to bodies of water, as well as good food.
I am the publisher of a travel site for global educators, WanderingEducators.com and a travel site about Scotland , JourneyToScotland.com, founded the Family Travel Bloggers Association, and most importantly, direct and teach in our Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. There’s something about young global travelers that inspires hope and joy – from their passion in experiencing all the world has to offer, to their excellent writing, photography, and communication skills.
My Mission for Teach Through Educational Travel
I’m so excited to be writing this weekly column on teaching through educational travel. Why am I excited, you may ask? Well, I firmly believe that international education – that teaching about the world – is an integral part of learning. If you’re going to teach about math, why not include different systems of counting around the world? Teaching about current events? Include global events! And if your students are interested in history, get inside history and explore – anywhere in the world.
For our students are no longer going to participate in the workforce that their parents and grandparents did. The global economy is just that – global. Our neighbors don’t only live on our block, they live around the world. Our friends are not localized, but globalized. We can thank technology for this – from classrooms connecting and discussing events via Skype or G+ hangouts, to being able to learn of the minutiae that make up daily life for all people in the world. We can learn what someone had for breakfast in Vietnam, visually explore a safari in the Serengeti, and get the latest news from Argentina, all in a few moments. While technology can be overused, it also can be a force for good – supporting education for girls in Nepal, easing the ability to do research on any topic under the sun, and even finding lost children. Our students are already working in the global economy, and it is important to teach to that. The world is our classroom, whether we are physically there or not.
How can you, as an educator, utilize international education in your classroom? We’ll provide weekly tips, based around a photo or theme. Take these as a jumping off point for your students’ explorations. And encourage a global mindset in your classroom – from the books they read, to the slant they take on topics for their assignments. Instead of a book report on a classic novel from your own culture, find classic novels in other cultures and languages, and read and report on those. A paper on architectural structures can encompass many buildings, around the world; a report on current events can include music or videos (and the cultural concepts behind them). And always, encourage cultural diversity and cultural ethnorelativism. These students are the leaders of tomorrow – and should be educated as such. Come along with us for the ride – we’ll share some tips on globalizing your classroom. And, we welcome your feedback!
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