Monday, June 29, 2009

Global Work at the DMV

Do your students tell you, "oh, I don't need to know all that global stuff to get a job. I'm going to work right here in North Carolina"?

Tell them to think again.

Last week I went to the local DMV office to renew my driver's license. (Always a thrill, of course.) While sitting on a hard plastic chair and reviewing the road signs, I saw some significant global interaction.

People from Asia, Europe, and Latin America were in the office to get their North Carolina driver's license. Some were still perfecting their English-speaking skills, or still getting used to living in another country. (And let's all take a minute to think about how we'd feel as we tried to get our license in, say, Brazil.)

The license examiner explained the procedure carefully and helped each person to find the necessary identification in their passports and immigration documents. She was not only professional, but friendly and supportive in serving each customer.

Understanding international bureaucracy. Coping with language challenges. Being sensitive to cultural differences. Our students will need these skills everywhere they work. Tell them about it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Windows on Iran

A short post to alert you to a great resource in following the events in Iran. Fatemeh Keshavarz, who teaches at Washington University at St. Louis, has been blogging about post-election developments.

Windows on Iran began a year or so ago as a series of emails about contemporary cultural life in Iran. I signed up for them when I heard Keshavarz read from her insightful book Jasmine and Stars in Chapel Hill. Now, of course, Keshavarz is focusing on the crisis in Iran following the election, as well as responses from the rest of the world.

Keshavarz's blog is a clear and thoughtful call in a time of chaos. Well worth following.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer at the Library

School's out. Time to head for your local library. We give students that good advice. But do you take it yourself?

This week, go to your community library and check out their global resources. Preview the illustrated books on countries you'll be featuring next year. Take some time to read more about a country or world region you've always wanted to teach. Look for CDs with international music (Putamayo offers a great selection of music from all over the world). And take some language-learning recordings home with you. Learn some greetings in French and German and Chinese and Spanish and Russian. Good way to start the new school year!

Find out, as well, what online resources your library can offer you remotely, from your computer at home. You may be able to download music, articles, even language lessons. Ask a librarian what's available, and how you can take advantage of it. They're happy to help. And it's free.

See you at the library!