When I taught middle school language arts a few years ago, one of the major projects I had my students participate in was a Global Read Aloud. The concept was introduced to me by a teacher from another country who created the G.R.A. The concept was simple–a novel was chosen. Teachers and students across the country would read the book, reflect and answer questions about the novel using various online platforms. Any platform with collaboration options will work. Students created videos, prezis, blogs, and artwork. This proved to be a great way to increase fluency and comprehension while challenging students to think critically.
From experience, teachers can struggle with authentically incorporating global awareness into their classrooms on a daily basis; but, it is actually quite simpler than most would think. Incorporating global awareness doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. Teachers should think of something they are already doing with their students like reading and amp it up to keep their students interested. Incorporating technology, class competitions, or social media is a plus. But, be careful. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to incorporate a piece of technology just for the sake of “incorporating technology.” Doing so can cause the students to focus solely on the technology and not the skills they should be learning with the technology. Teachers should also be aware of their school division’s social media policies before having students use it for assignments. A general rule of thumb is if the technology does not enhance the lesson or make it more engaging, save it for another time.
Side note: My classes were only allowed to check out laptop carts once or twice a week so our interaction was somewhat limited in the G.R.A. We were not a 1:1 school, but we were still able to participate and complete the novel. Many students found time to post while at home. I encourage educators to work through obstacles that can potentially hinder your progress towards becoming a global teacher. You are only limited by your own thinking. If you think it can be done, then figure out a way to make it happen. Like creating this blog, taking the first step is all it takes.
Happy teaching and learning!
© 2017 Bryan A. Ruffin