I had to meet with the Middle School Head to discuss my teaching goals for the year. He asked us to frame our goals around three themes: globalization, authentic learning and integrated and collaborative learning experiences for our students. I really struggled with focusing on a goal for globalization. Haven’t we heard the word global or flat world too much these days? It’s almost as overused as “21st Century Skills” and “STEM.”
I stumbled onto a TED Talk by author and storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her story and talk was about the danger of only understanding someone based on a single story. That we, and really most of the people in the world, believe a version of what we hear about a culture or nationality and we believe it to be 100% true. Her talk really made me think about myself and how I view the world. I viewed her TED talk with a student, and we had an excellent discussion about the message she delivered. He felt that she could have been more forceful, bluntly putting out a call to action. For the world to change, we all need to see others for more than the stereotypes that define us or them. We talked about stereotypes and the truths that lie within them and how dangerous they are, and how stereotypes themselves are the single story that usually defines what we know about a people, race, culture or nationality.
I had found my globalization goal:
Author and TED speaker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, describes that for many people our reality is only made up of a single story about a given person. You can’t truly understand that person if you interpret everything about them based on one story. The same can be said with understanding cultures. I want to make sure my students don’t trust a single story, and that they are always looking to understand more than what they have heard or seen about a particular group, culture, religion or person.
I hope you enjoy her talk as much as I did.