by Lee Parker, Individuals & Societies teacher & Global Citizen Diploma Coordinator
Last week, Grade 9 students were encouraged to begin telling their own stories of personal experiences inside and outside of school as part of their induction to the Global Citizen Diploma (GCD). The room came alive with the sound of laughter as students shared their personal experiences with each other, and discussed how these chosen events had shaped their lives.
The GCD provides our students with an opportunity to create an online profile containing a combination of written and multi-media reflections to tell their own stories in their own words. As such the GCD is a qualitative credential that recognizes the personal growth of each student based upon their understanding of themselves as global citizens.
Reflection is at the heart of the GCD, and this provides students with a profound learning opportunity. Well-respected educational reformer, John Dewey, stated that “we do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” By engaging with the GCD criteria students are given the opportunity to do just that - to reflect upon their daily experiences and consider how they have grown.
Global understanding, intercultural communication and community engagement not only underpin the GCD, but they are also at the core of who we are as a community. By the end of Grade 12, all students will have had the opportunity to have created an individual profile that they believe tells their story. As every student is unique, students have agency over how they structure their ‘chapters’ and over which chapters are relevant to them.
As Coordinator of the Global Citizen Diploma, I have enjoyed being part of exciting conversations around the future of learning, and how schools can best celebrate the success of the ‘whole student’. More importantly, I have enjoyed learning about our students, as they learn more about themselves.
Upon completion of her Global Citizen Certificate, a Grade 11 student told me last week that engaging with the program had made her think about her own experiences on a deeper level, and that she had realized things about herself that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. As a result, she will definitely be continuing onward to complete the Global Citizen Diploma. You will be hearing more from this student about her GCD experience in a future article.
It is clear that students are excited to have the opportunity to tell their own story in their own words, demonstrating that at the end of their time at YIS, they are indeed “more than just a number”.