Alex McMillan

VIA20

South Korea

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Challenge

My challenge is about a culture of inclusion of all learners. More specifically, on one hand, international schools want cultural diversity to be celebrated. However, there are a growing number of international schools with a large local population which can lead to students grouping together based on their ethnicity. I recently read a booked titled Confucius Meets Piaget. In it, Dr. Jonathan Borden writes, "the natural tendency of any group of children (or adults) of any nationality when there are more than four or five in a class is to begin to segregate themselves socially..." As a result of Korean students grouping together so tightly, it excluded non-Korean students. My international students reported that Korean students often make them feel ostracized, gossiped about, and generally disliked. And that is my challenge. My students also reported that it's essential that it not be forced; it should be authentic that Korean students should want to be more inclusive of international students. The questions I find I ask myself include: - Does might one influence a culture? Home culture? School culture? Classroom culture? - How might we honor Korean kids' culture while also encouraging inclusion of all students' cultures? - In what ways might we model the behavior we hope to see in our students? - What effective strategies might we use to help students learn in diverse groups even when the class has a large number of local students?

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