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Teaching Reflections from Mawlamyine

This post also appears on the Fort Wayne Sister Cities blog.

Mawlamyine

My time in Mawlamyine has been very valuable for me as a young educator. I’m always learning something new about the teaching and learning process and the strengths and weaknesses in my teaching. Some people have asked, since I had a chance to work with a very diverse group of students (and teachers), how did I approach my classes? After all, it is not easy to teach when there is linguistic and cultural diversity in the classroom. Although this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, these are typical components of my classes:

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Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Young Leaders and the SDGs

Being a young leader doesn’t mean one is powerless, even if certain powers make it seem that way. This past summer I taught a high school leadership class for a summer program with the hope that the students will grow into strong leaders in their own ways and in their own time. I decided to incorporate my studies (IEDP) into my lessons and dedicate some time in discussing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with my students. It was an experiment in some ways. I wanted to see how they would react to the content and stir discussions that they may not be used to having in their public schools. We centered our discussions on Goal # 4 Quality Education and Goal # 5 Gender Equality.

UN_Sustainable_Development_Goals

The students got a sample of the realities that exist beyond their local community and the challenges of international development. It was very fascinating to hear what they had to say when I showed them stories of youth around the world who overcame some horrific situations, fought for their right to education, and still found the strength to give back to their communities (for some examples see the International Children’s Peace Prize winners). We also discussed the limitations that girls and women face because of their cultural and religious beliefs and how boys and men also play a role in attaining 50/50 leadership. (By the way, the boys were quite supportive of the girls during our discussions.)

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Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Food on the Discussion Table: A Source for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Global Education

school lunches around the world - sweetgreen's tumblr

Food has the power to impact our lives both emotionally and physically and create bonds among people. When Sweetgreen published a series of photos under the title “School Lunches Around the World,” the collection elicited a range of reactions. Although the photos are, according to Sweetgreen, “not intended to be exact representations of school lunches, but instead, are meant to portray different types of foods found in cafeterias around the world,” they nevertheless raise several questions regarding the quality and nutritional value of cafeteria food and the impact of that food on the wellness of children. A child, who is hungry and malnourished, will most likely perform at a suboptimal level compared to a child who is well fed and healthy. At the other end of the spectrum, children who are obese can also have health complications that may affect their well-being beyond their school years. These concerns continue to stir a melting pot of discussions that go beyond figuring out the types of food and how many calories we consume.

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Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Financial Education in the Era of SDGs

Wealth formula-FLM_Social_Media_Infograpics-01There is a general consensus that financial education is necessary. The global financial crises during 2000-01 and 2007-08 pushed the international community to better educate the population on how to manage their finances. Several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to promote a robust economy while narrowing the socioeconomic gaps within and across the nations. While April is considered as Financial Literacy Month in the U.S., financial education is a lifelong process. After all, the economic landscape is always changing.

The long-term effects of having a financially illiterate population may prove to be more damaging than the recent economic recession if there are no interventions in place. Hastings, Madrian, and Skimmyhorn (2012) highlighted an array of financial mistakes that people have made and continue to make, such as irresponsible credit card usage, inadequate diversification of assets, and failure to refinance fixed rate mortgages during a time of declining interest rates. Individually, these mistakes are already costly; collectively, they create a complex web of economic problems.

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Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.