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Parentry: Civic sense: Take baby steps

+1 vote

How do you raise a thinking citizen? Start thinking yourself
After two refreshing holidays in cities both cleaner/dirty, organised/messed up than our own, I wondered how we could get kids to think beyond themselves and our own needs.

By Christobelle JosephChristobelle Joseph, Bangalore Mirror Bureau

Our country has been notoriously branded as a nation of selfish people. We get ahead, often, by stepping on everyone else. Mr Dad argued that our sheer numbers make it natural for behaviour such as this. He’d seen amazingly similar (and “extraordinary”) behaviour in London recently, when the public transit system had unexpected problems and people needed to get home – some more urgently than the rest.

In my mind, many South East Asian countries are populous, and yet there is order. They don’t just deface/ruin public property on a whim/habit. Could the secret lie in giving kids an overview of the world we live in? Could a widening of our own view be a step into letting them see their worlds holistically?

Small example. My early a.m. flight, last night, saw many children disrupted and sleep-deprived. Travelling with young children myself, I have immense patience reserved for little ones and a storehouse full of comforting smiles for embarrassed parents; I use them freely.

While there were kids who braved the snakey queues with few inaudible sniffles, heavy eyes and cheeks, others had all-out wriggling-and-screaming fest with their parents. A closer listen revealed to me, in that short social experiment, that the ones who were dealing better, were the ones with communicative parents.

“Why are we waiting?” “I want my toys!” “I need to go to Bangalore!””When can we go home?” seemed questions common to all the children, but while some parents responded with “Do you want to get your bag? Then wait!”, others drew children’s attention to the fact that there was a long line of people who had arrived
before them.

I thought this was fab. Suddenly, it was not about me and MY discomfort, MY late luggage, but about US waiting, a system to follow, and a queue to respect those that had arrived earlier and waited longer.
I’m not sure how much the kids understood, and what impact it will have for life, but I liked that approach better.

posted Jun 7, 2017 by Krinz Kiran

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+2 votes

In a search for solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing people around the world, the second day of the Unite Conference in Rotterdam looked to build bridges from schools to politicians to policies.                               The world and its multitude of problems may appear overwhelming at first glance, but the mood at Education International (EI)’s Unite for Quality Education and Leadership Conference in The Netherlands’ Education City 2017 could be summed up into one word: action.

That was the message conveyed by speakers and ideas stemming from discussions during day two of the three-day event. The tone of the day was set with the powerful and memorable words of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. The champion of children’s rights, and long-time friend of EI, Satyarthi brought current political and social issues to the fore.  

“Before so many walls are constructed around and inside of us, let's unite the world through bridges of compassion,” he said. “Teachers can lead with conscience, courage and compassion to help build a child-friendly world.”                                                                                                                                                                       The Nobel Laureate announced his new 100 Million for 100 Million Campaign, which was fully endorsed and supported by EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. The initiative seeks to see that the world’s 100 million child labourers are set free. Of Satyarthi van Leeuwen said that “his story is one of vocational perseverance, dedication to his values and plain and simple hard work.”

His words were also appropriate on day when the troubling trend of post truth was discussed in the context of education, and how teachers can work to counter the reality of false facts. And the theme of compassion and human connection was also relevant as the contentious issue of standardised testing was put to the debate floor. Steffen Handel of the Norwegian EI affiliate UEN exchanged his views with the OECD’s Yuri Belfali.

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