Going Upriver

For the Computer Supported Learning course, I wrote an essay about how to develop Global Citizenship Education (GSE) through activism and participatory media. GSE “equips learners with the knowledge, skills and values to navigate and live together in an increasingly interdependent world and to work collectively toward solutions to the planet’s pressing problems” (Truong-White & McLean, 2015). I want to share two metaphors that came from the research for this paper. The starfish thrower, based on a story by Loren Eiseley, essentially helps justify helping the ONE starfish by throwing it back in the sea, even though there are thousands on the beach that will die in the sun, because even though it will not make a difference, it makes a difference for that ONE starfish. But what if that starfish, in its infinite natural wisdom, knew that it was time for it to die and did not want to be saved? Another metaphor is the story of children drowning in a river with a strong current. Of course, unlike the starfish, we know for certain that children do not want to drown. We try to save them. But then we look upriver and see boats with people throwing children into the river and there are more and more boats coming. What do we do? Andreotti and Pashby (2013) describe 4 responses: “rescuing the children in the water, stopping the boats from throwing the children in the water, going to the villages of the boat crew to understand why this is happening in the first place, and collecting the bodies of those who have died to grieve and raise awareness of what happened.” They call this “going upriver” to find the root cause of the problem. The added complication to today’s GCE-oriented teacher is that viral media usually means there is no context for issues that are spread around the world and they are almost certainly shared without questioning what the people are doing to help themselves and how they want to be supported? Perhaps they are satisfied with their culture (not dying children, of course) and find fulfillment in a different way of living. Going upriver. It’s complicated. 6/100 #100LSreflections #100dayproject

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