Monday, January 26, 2009

10 Days, 8 Teachers: An Educational Journey to Japan

The town of Concord has a Japanese sister, and her name is Nanae. I had the extraordinary opportunity to visit Nanae with a delegation of Concord Public K-5 and CCHS teachers last June, and join the ranks of previous delegations and student trips to Japan. This relationship is known as the Concord - Nanae Network.
Thanks to the generosity of the Ruettgers Family endowement, I was able to share this experience with colleagues and students in a lecture of my trip. The challenge lay in that I wasn't just telling my story, but that of the rich sister-city relationship, and the journey I shared with my colleagues.
As an educator this was a transformational experience. I was totally dependent, unable to read, write, speak or navigate on my own on this new culture. The gift of travelling with colleagues and talk about learning, while I was learning new things every minute of every day, was amazing. Our conversationsons during the bus rides were challenging and deeply instructional.
The bigger issue was the importance of our trip. What does global education look like, and what is global citizenship? How can technology help us bridge the hurdles?
The following 5 minute video starts with Mr. David Nurenberg talking about the value of these exchanges, with his wonderful eloquent vision. Bobby Kargulla, Concord's most recent appointee to Nanae, is formally hired as Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) and accepts his new position. Seeing the Nanae delegation teach 200+ people how to do the Ika (Squid) Dance is an opportunity not to be missed. The video concludes with the unique Concord - Nanae parting ceremony.
Arigato gozaimas!

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