Building better leaders through global education

By Kevin Yaley, Head of Francis Parker School

Everywhere we look these days – from newspaper headlines to TV to Facebook – we are constantly reminded of the truly interdependent nature of our very small, inherently connected world. And whether they’re learning about the global implications of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Myanmar or the United Nations summit on climate change, today’s students – tomorrow’s leaders – are perhaps the most important audience of all.

As future presidents and prime ministers, business owners and educators, our students must achieve a deep understanding of and appreciation for global interaction. Not only that, they must cultivate a worldview that will help them comprehend and respect the great diversity that surrounds us all. Faced with this responsibility, today’s educators must think beyond the basics: we must recognize and embrace the role of

global education

in our children’s lives, and foster the understanding, compassion and awareness that will enable our young people to take the lead in the years to come as informed citizens of the world.

To this end, schools must do their part by providing innovative curricula that bring students face to face with the realities of our rapidly evolving global society. By building connections with local businesses and universities, and offering teachers the resources necessary to extend everyday learning beyond the classroom walls, today’s institutions have the power to bridge the global gap – and to prepare today’s youth for life in the world of the future.

Experiential learning abroad: the key to global citizenship

At

Francis Parker School

, we undertake to provide our students with a school which, to quote our founder Francis W. Parker,

“…by its environment, its methods, and its opportunities, would develop the child for participation in citizenship – the world’s work.”

In keeping with this aim, we offer both our Middle School and Upper School students the chance to learn about conflict resolution, cross-cultural relationship building and international goodwill firsthand in the form of Global Experiential Learning Opportunities -- trips designed to invigorate and challenge the mind while building character, compassion and leadership capabilities in the process. Our destinations and trip objectives change from year to year; but all students are given their choice between several different locales and educational programs ranging from language immersion and home stays to service learning and academic field study. This year’s trips for 2012 include programs in Vietnam, The Philippines, Turkey and Columbia; but no matter where our students travel, they inevitably return with a reinvigorated view of the world – and a broadened perspective that, from an educational standpoint, we believe to be invaluable to life and learning in the 21

st

century.

Global Experiential Learning Opportunities are among the most exciting and effective ways in which to teach students about the world beyond our city walls; but they are also only one of the many methods through which the teachers at Francis Parker School cultivate academic excellence, strength of character and global citizenship in our students. To learn more about the full range of

progressive teaching programs

at Parker, we encourage prospective students and their parents to visit us online at

www.francisparker.org

.

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