Look local Go global!

Catching up over Skype

People often ask where they can find global connections. Too often we forget to look within our own local and school community. Unfortunately, our school is isolated geographically and culturally, but many other teachers could look for:-

  1.  parents of students from other cultures or find relatives that may live overseas. They can be keen to share their culture, backgrounds, experiences, food etc with the students. 
  2. Major towns and cities will have Chinese, Indian, Thai, Portuese, African, Italian, Greek etc restaurants and shops. These also make a starting point.
  3. Students within the school may be overseas on holidays or on an exchange program and that is one that we were able to use,  as one of our year 10 students is over in Canada for 6 months. Emma was keen to connect with her friends back at school via skype and videoconferencing, so this week we set up a connection with four of her friends.

Despite Canada seemingly being similar to our culture, Emma is experiencing so many different things to what she would be back here on the farm. It is snowing there and she has been skiiing, dog sledding, skating on the larges skate rink in the world etc. Her school is bigger, she now lives in a town etc. The sports are different. Tuesday morning this week was Monday evening, Emma’s time.  We used skype. Some of the questions our students asked were thoughtful and reflected their curiousity and a real interest in her life over there. Although they keep in constant touch via facebook, the videoconference brings an intimacy on a higher level. Emma took us on a virtual tour of her Canadian home and into  the snow laden backyard. The girls were also able to ask questions of the family members in Canada.

Emma and girlsresized

Here is some of the conversation:

  1.  Why aren’t you at school? (Reflected lack of knowledge of time zones)
  2. Do you do much homework?
  3. What are you doing in maths? – voting procedures
  4. What subjects do you do that are different to here?
  5. How many students in your class (20-25)
  6. Are you still doing drama?
  7. What is the weather
  8. What is the time?
  9. Do you stay with the same family for 6 mths (yes)
  10. Does it feel like home? (yes)
  11. Describe your house- (3 storeys – basement ground floor and first story)
  12. Do you do anything with your friends after school ?
  13. What different foods have you had?–(poutin – French fries with gravy and cheese curd.  Bagels for brekkie, beaver tails = cinnamon toast.)
  14. Does any one speak French? (French is their second language)
  15. Show us your school uniform (Emma’s school has no uniform)
  16. Do they have cheer leaders
  17. What are the popular winter sports – ice hockey, volleyball and basketball
  18. Do you go on camps or work experience (no)
  19. Do you have holidays? (Just had one week holiday break – this is first week back. Easter another break. In summer will be 2 months)
  20. Do any of your friends have jobs? (Leah has a job and works at a pizza place.)
  21. How do you get the snow off the road –( add salt to the roads to make it melt.)
  22. Do they have a big back yard? – this question resulted in a virtual tour of the yard
  23. Can you show us some money?
  24. How hot does it get it Canada?
  25. Do you go to the beach? (On the Great Lakes – not the ocean)
A Canadian coin

A Canadian coin

  • Have you videoconferenced back to exchange students or use relatives and connections from the local community to bring textbooks to life?
  • Have you brought in any of your local community to give students a global perspective? If so, how?
  • Have you taken your students out into a cultural neighbourhood?


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