|WHAT IS THE CLASSROOM?...
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
Cultures are maps of meaning through which the world is made intelligible.
-Peter Jackson, Geographer, 1989
Cultures might be maps of meaning by which we can attempt
to understand the world, as geographer Peter Jackson states,
however, we often need assistance in translating those maps to
a language of our own. Just as Chinese might sound like nonsense
to most English-speaking individuals, foreign cultures often
present us with the same problem: they differ from our way of
doing things, and therefore do not make sense. As the world today
is becoming smaller due to technological advances, it is important
that we make an effort to make sense of foreign cultures. Coming
to an agreement on the right way to function in the world
is not the issue. Rather, coming to an understanding of
each other's perspective is the issue. Our goal is to foster
students' understanding about the world and world cultures through
exploration. Our interactive classroom allowed students to
explore foreign countries with therewewere writers, while also exploring the amazing opportunities that information technology offers.
Students took a wholly collaborative approach to learning
about issues in world culture. They utilized an array of
selected reading materials as background references to the topics
that we introduced online during our travels abroad. Students
were expected to closely read the assigned materials for class,
as they were directly related to questions/issues that we
asked them to discuss or write about. Using both therewewere's travel journals, and the assigned reading about a certain culture or topic, students might have been asked to:
* enter an on-line discussion forum with students from other
participating classrooms across the US, and therewewere leaders abroad
* post a 1-2 page thought paper on the web-site, or to turn into their teacher
* enter a formal on-line debate session
* devise a long-term research project about a culture of interest
Some assignments consisted of individual work while other
assignments utilized students separated into research teams.
In addition, therewewere encouraged students
to ask questions about everyday issues in traveling that travelers
deal with daily, such as: language barriers, travel budgeting,
foreign food, travel companions, etc.
For more information on how your class can be apart of therewewere's Classroom click here.