Friday, May 23, 2014

Preparations for Singapore and Malaysia!

Schools out and it has been quite a long time since my last blog entry.  Time to prepare for summer adventures and experiences that I'll incorporate into my AP World History and AP Human Geography courses next school year.

Earlier this spring, I found out that I had been selected as a teacher-participant for Cultural Vistas' American Youth Leadership Program to Singapore and Malaysia.  For a few weeks in July, I will travel to Singapore and Malaysia with Cultural Vistas' staff, another teacher-participant from Orlando, Florida and 22 high school students from across the country.  I was absolutely ecstatic when I received the good news.  I've never been to Southeast Asia, the skylines of both Singapore and Kaula Lumpur fascinate me, and the region has such a dynamic history and importance as the connection point between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  In addition, the program areas of focus include sustainable development, cultural immersion, and urban development, which align perfectly with major areas of both personal and professional interest for me.

Our travels with the American Youth Leadership Program will take us to Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.

In preparation for our travels to Singapore and Malaysia, I've been doing the typical guidebook reading, map study, survival phrase learning, and general background gathering that I like to do anytime I get ready to travel.  However, Cultural Vistas' staff have also designed a number of small projects that are assisting us in thinking about the major issues facing Singapore and Malaysia, as well as various cultural dynamics that we will no doubt experience.

One of the projects I completed most recently was to create a short video explaining the "Nine Dimensions of Culture" as outlined in The Invisible Elephant: Exploring Cultural Awareness by Tom Verghese.  I wanted to present a framework for understanding cultural perspectives that I use in my own classroom, and that I hope can be useful in our role as cultural explorers while visiting Singapore and Malaysia.  I have to apologize for the length (19:16), but it takes some time to explain the cultural framework.  If you'd like to take a look, here's the video:

Looking forward to posting travel and other summer adventure updates very soon!