Globalised students at Windermere School
29 January 2021
How would we define what a globalised student looks like? Is it one who learns about other cultures and countries in their lessons? Perhaps one who learns other languages or becomes friendly with those from other countries? Or someone who develops a tolerance and understanding for viewpoints outside their cultural range? Or is it someone who actually goes to another country to live and learn? I would say my definition includes all of the above but there is one more dimension that I have experienced recently. And this dimension is one that now defines a Windermere school student.
Given our most recent UK lockdown, our students of Windermere school are all now at home learning online. For me, this normally involves remaining in the UK while my students are logging on around the world. Before we broke up for Christmas many of my lessons were conducted in my classroom and some from home in Windermere and it felt quite normal to conduct my lesson from school and radiate the lesson outside of school. In other words, I was working from the ‘head office’ if you like and taught my students online to their mini offices at home.
Yet recently this all changed. Just before Christmas my father became ill and so I flew out to Australia to help my family with his recovery. I packed my laptop just in case and some basic coursebooks and realised that the time difference could still allow me to teach from my parents’ home in Australia. It turns out this is exactly what happened. So from 5.30 pm until midnight I log on to my world classroom and deliver my lessons remotely just as I would do from Windermere. For the first time in my life technology has enabled a teacher to truly teach from anywhere in the world. And it works. My classroom is the same; it is only the context that differs. Instead of cold snow and dark evenings, I now have warm heat and bright sunshine; instead of the sound of robins tweeting and dogs barking I now have the familiar cries of kookaburras and magpies and instead of early morning starts I have afternoon preparations and late-night drinks to keep me going…
As I said to my tutor group they have now officially become global students. They speak to their tutor in Australia in the morning, their teachers in the UK in the afternoon, and with their fellow international tutees and classmates during the day. When I started teaching ( many years ago!) I would never have thought this was possible and when I began teaching at Windermere School I also thought the idea of working from the other side of the world simply inconceivable. It is remarkable how change can happen slowly or in an instant and how you can go from chalk and talk one day to uploading and sharing screens within what effectively is only a few years. I take my hat off to our remarkable IT department and School management for making this happen and to our generation of Windermere students who perhaps have hardly noticed the change in their future at all…
So what is a global student? A Windermere School Student!
– Mrs Bennett