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Archive for August, 2013

Global Education Curriculum for Secondary Schools

Global education curriculum are underway, as promoted by Harvard Project Zero, the International Baccalaureate, Facing History and Ourselves, and Oxfam, and spelled out in The Asia Society’s eBook Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World.[i] The authors define global competence as 1) knowing how to do research about world issues and 2) recognizing that we have a subjective rather than objective perspective and identity. Students learn to identify and appreciate perspectives of others and how our views are shaped by our gender, religion, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, etc.. 3) This awareness enables students to communicate with diverse groups of people. For example, as a teacher I sometimes sit on the table in front of the classroom but I was unaware when I did this teaching workshops in Japan that this was very rude. Also, no one is addressed by their first name without a title of respect added, as in Gayle-san or Gayle-sensei, it’s OK to slurp soup, and of course you bow rather than shake hands and take off your shoes before entering a home or temple. 4) Global knowledge gives students the incentive to take positive action. The authors recommend connecting students to international youth organizations such as Bridges to Understanding, Take ITGlobal, World Savvy, and iEARN, and partnering with schools in other countries.

[i] Veronica Box Mansilla and Anthony Jackson. Educating for Global Competence. Asia Society and Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011.



Short short story about the origins of the universe

History of the World in 600 words


The universe is tricky; about 46 billion light years in size, you’d think its origins were vast.  But, no, a dense tiny egg hatched 14 billion years ago into quarks: charmed, top, bottom, and strange. From this button-sized womb, heat scrambled it all into galaxies along lines of cold dark matter, flying out in the Big Bang faster and farther. Human egg and all else cooked in the star furnace. You wouldn’t think our life depends on stardust or plants like algae, would you? But around 1.8 billion years ago bacteria learned to eat sunlight in photosynthesis and send oxygen into the atmosphere that we can breathe. Ocean algae produce most of our oxygen.

Even harder to grasp, Lewis Carroll was unto something when he wrote about Alice falling through the hole to another dimension. The mathematicians who developed superstring theory figured out there are 10 dimensions and it’s possible to travel through black holes to another dimension. I identify with the brilliant kid in the movie “Good Will Hunting” who secretly solves math problems working at Harvard, only I worked as a teaching assistant–not a janitor, and not at Harvard. Being young and foolish, I got the idea to test out my professor’s theory. I can’t begin to describe what it’s like going through a black hole; it’s not fun. Now I’m stuck in a dimension where I can’t figure out how to get back. All I can do is channel when someone like you is writing on the computer. Could you contact professor Kaku and ask him how I can return? This isn’t a trick.

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