ACPA16 Pecha Kucha: Stephanie Muehlethaler, Home and Abroad: Global Citizenship Identity

Do you know the Muppets? Have you heard of the Muppets? I know they used to have, like a little person, singing “Do-do-do-do-do, Do-do-do-do-do, Pecha Kucha. Do-do-do-do-do. Pecha Kucha is a Japanese word for chit chat and is the name for a presentation format created in Japan in 2003 by two architects looking for a way to share their work quickly and simply to the public. Since then the idea has spread to over 700 cities around the world. Pecha Kucha, a fast fun format. Every Pecha Kucha night creative thinkers come together and share their ideas with twenty images shown in twenty seconds each. Find a location, join the conversation (MUSIC) Hi everyone I’m very excited to speak to
all of you today about my work around Global Citizen Identity Development and how that relates to service-learning, specifically in a Canadian college
context. So this is a lot of the work that I’ve been working through over the
past few years, but have also struggled with quite a bit. So for those of you
that I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, I will reintroduce myself. Hi,
my name is Stephanie Muehlethaler. I’m a learner. I’m an explorer. And I’m a
dreamer. I call both Canada and Switzerland home and during the week you
can also find me at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. So this topic of
Global Citizen Identity Development really sparked for me at NASPA a few years
ago in 2011. I was in a session about internationalization that was
facilitated by Braskamp and Chickering. Like, THE Chickering so I was just geeking out
hardcore. And so in this session they talked to us about, “Hey, did you know that
you can all be global citizens? You never have to leave your own country?” And my
mind at this point is blown. No, no, no, no. A global citizen is someone who has a
passport full of stamps. It is someone who knows, not one, not two, but three or four
languages. And so then I knew at the end of that session and conference, I needed
to go back home and really reevaluate how I identified as a global citizen. I
needed to create a new map and a new understanding. And I did just that. I
looked at and read so much about the competencies, the skills, the knowledge,
the attitudes and the way we look at global citizenship. I needed to
contextualize it in an environment that we all know very, very well to understand
what it meant for me. And so I looked up postsecondary education and spent a lot
of time literally reading hundreds of vision statements, mission statements, and strategic plans from
institutions all around the world. And it was awesome. I was humbled. These schools
are talking about, “Hey we’re going to develop global citizens.” That’s their
mandate. I thought that was awesome. I had so many questions. The first being, “How on
earth did you all get on the same page about what it means to be a global
citizen?” Spoiler alert: they didn’t. So instead of focusing on the disconnect, I looked at the commonalities, and thought there’s got to be a thread that is woven
throughout all these definitions and there was. It was experiential learning.
So we’re going way back to 1930 with Kolb and with Dewey and looking at
how institutions are re-creating experiential learning opportunities for
students really make meaning from their experiences on their
pathway towards global citizenship. Study abroad. That was one of the main ways
research talked about that we can become global citizens. So many of these
competencies that they develop are similar to those of being a global
citizen but that went against everything that Chickering and Braskamp were
talking about. This was going abroad, not looking in our own country and so then I
focused on service-learning but got frustrated very quickly because there
are so many inconsistencies. What does it mean to serve? What’s better
co-curricular or curricular? How does critical reflection look like? And as I’m
struggling I’m talking to a lot of the students who then just are vulnerable to
me and talking about their own obstacles on their path towards global citizenship.
So prior to my time at Trent, which has been all of seven days, I was the
Director of Residence Life at campus living centers and have worked with over
19 of the 24 colleges in Ontario. So I’ve spent a lot of time talking to college
students and they have been very honest to me about two main obstacles. The first
being time. A lot of the service learning opportunities that exist, at least in
Ontario right now, are curricular learning opportunities and for a college
student that’s only there for a year or two doing welding , or underwater skills, or
aviation this is just not an opportunity for them right now. The second major
challenge that students talk to me was about money. Some of these trips especially the
international ones are thousands of dollars and just not accessible to
students. And so I started thinking to myself. As educators, are we creating
these pathways towards global citizenship that is not accessible to
all of our students? Are we creating more barriers and
boundaries than actual bridges and when it comes to service learning and social
justice with such a huge part of that, why are we not doing more of this work
at home? We live, or at least some of us do, in one of the most diverse,
multicultural, beautiful, awesome countries in this world. Let’s do… Thank
you. Let’s do more of this work at home. And so I knew then that we needed to
start digging, creating and implementing something new and innovative. And that’s
when a fellow Residence Life coordinator really stepped up and said, “Hey I’m gonna
create, not one, but two service learning opportunities that will be accessible to
all of our students. So these were not one week alternative break trips. These were
trips, these were experiences that lasted over four months where students
can engage in critical reflection, building relationships. They were funded,
as well, and they really understood reciprocity and so one trip went to the
Dominican Republic and the second trip went up to Moose Factory in Moosonee
which is in Northern Ontario that worked with a group of indigenous folks. And
there they really had the time to educate themselves and explore their own
identities and understand who they were over a longer period of time and it was
truly beautiful and special on this is our third year doing these two trips. So a
lot of you are probably thinking that’s awesome Steph, but where do you fit into
all of this? Well hopefully you can tell I’m a little
bit passionate about this and so I thought, “Hey if i’m gonna put this much
time and effort into it, I might as well make it my doctoral dissertation.” so this
is where I.. thank you.. this is where I’m at I’m going through the data and it’s
really fascinating especially looking at some of the opportunities and
development that students are making in terms of global citizenship in our own
country. So before I end off I just wanted to say “thank you to all the
practitioners that are doing this work, that are creating pathways towards
global citizenship.” It’s really, really hard. There’s a lot of ambiguity and there’s
not a lot of resources and it’s tough but it is so important and so
transformational. So I challenge all of you that are doing this
work. Look at the opportunities that you’re creating and make sure that they’re available to
each and every single one of our students. Like I said before, this work is
so important and so transformational. The work we’re doing in terms of developing
global citizens is changing our world. Thank you very much.

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