During my ITC course we also looked a lot at Third Culture Kids (TCKs). These are generally students who move country a lot or have parents from different countries, but TCKs come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, many international teachers who move from place to place also have many similarities with TCKs.
Ruth Van Rekenwww.tckworld.com/ describes TCKS saying, “A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture. The third culture kid builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the third culture kid’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background, other TCKs.”.
Living in many countries or being the child of immigrants gives you many benefits. You get to experience different cultures, often learn new languages, make connections across the globe and more. However it also can come with several problems, which are important for international educators to help support students with. One of the big issues is not having a sense of belonging, one place to call home and even having difficulty when asked the question, 'So where are you from?'.
This video, So Where’s Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity, by Adrian Bautista explores some of this ideas wonderfully.
I also think this video "What Kind of Asian Are You?" sums up some of the frustrations third culture kids can have. It also reminds me of some of the problems I have when someone firsts meets me, finds out I'm British and just wants to talk to me about the Royal Family or Fish N Chips...
Here are some great images to help your students explore ideas of being Third Culture Kids in your classroom. I will use these with my advisory at the start of the school year in August:
During the ITC workshop we also looked at Identity Icebergs:
Creating your own identity iceberg is a great way to help your peers and students understand more about you. At the start of the year I will have my students do this and we will also create a huge mind map style poster with branches showing all different aspects of every individuals identity but all pulled together.
The Iceberg activity reminded me of a great session I did when attending a Facing History Workshop.Facing History focusses on the way that everyone has a shared responsibility for the way history unfolds and gets people to analyze the reasons behind different individuals choices. When I did this activity we were all given a short paragraph about a different person living in pre-Nazi Germany, including shop keepers, school teachers and politicians. We then used the iceberg to look at different reasons why they would of or would have not voted for the Nazi Party. You could do a similar activity for any election, including the upcoming election.
You can find out more about the Facing History Iceberg session here. They also have an identity chart resource here.
How much does your identity tie in to the country you were raised in/live in? How much does this impact your day to day decisions? What are the most important elements that make up your identity? What assumptions to people make about you based on your appearance, accent or where you live/have lived? Leave your answers in the comments below.
I've now been living in America for exactly a year and have not had too much culture shock, (I've lived here before and spent a lot of time here). However, I have had small pangs of culture surprise.. This includes having to change my order of 'water' to 'war-dar' so people can understand me, and also the first time I saw someone carrying a gun my husband and I immediately left the burger joint we are in! I also had no idea how much of a big role 'fish and chips' play in Americans' views of English people. Overall I have felt very welcome, at home and have settled in to life in the states easily.
On my ITC course we talked a lot about culture shock, focussing mostly on students transitioning to a new country. However we also talked about people going through the exact same stages during any big transition, including moving from primary to secondary school, becoming a teenager, moving jobs and more.
Here are some great visuals showing the different stages of culture shock. When looking up at them imagine the experience of moving to a new country, but then also think about other transitions, like moving from primary to secondary school. As an adult it is definitely a process I go through when moving jobs, not just moving to my current job in a new country, but moving from any position.
It is important to let your students know that these feelings are totally normal and also to show them that things do get better! I will be a Grade 7 advisor this year, but will show these graphics to my students and ask them if they remember going through these during their first year of middle school, Grade 6. If we have time, I may also get students to make short animations or infographics to share with new students in the school.
Newseum is one of the rad resources which stood out to me at ISTE. Not just because they gave me an awesome poster...but because I can see many uses for this in my classroom and my colleague's classrooms!
Newseum has a physical museum space in Washington DC, but their online resources all work independently. I am attending a conference in Washington in October, so will hopefully be able to nip into Newseum at that time too!
Through Newseum you get access to great primary sources, as well as teaching support, including free PD and lesson plans. Of course there are many places to get access to free primary sources online, but Newseum makes it teacher and student friendly by curating their resources into different collections.
A collection which is very useful and relevant currently is the Civil Rights Movement collection:
The collection contains interactive maps, legal documents, newspaper articles, Government documents, photographs and more. The lessons that go with each collection break up the information, but also focus on supporting students in developing different skills, like media literacy or research skills. For IB teachers this is a great way to support you teaching the Approaches to Learning (ATLs). The lessons also support students in creating resources and taking action!
If you don't want anything as structured as the lesson plans, you can also look at their Ed Ideas. These include everything from collection highlights through to classroom ideas. Lots of these ideas can fit into your existing units and also they focus on getting students to create or develop important skills (ATLs). Here are some examples:
Lastly, there are also Educational Classes and Training, but at the moment these seem to only take place at the center. What's really nice about this section is that the courses are made for professionals, educators and students, often with courses being aimed at all three groups. It's always great to model to your students that you are a life long learner and also to learn along side them, and this section helps facilitate this.
Although I missed my chance this summer, they also offer free summer PD - I might take advantage of this next year! If you work in the Washington DC area they will even come to your school.
I have just started the International Teaching Certificate (ITC) and recently attended a three day workshop to familiarize myself with the course. One of the focusses was on language. As I work in international education language is important for many reasons.
We have lots of students joining us with little to no English, as well as parents and we also have many who are bilingual or multilingual. This is the same for teachers and I have many colleagues with mother tongues that are not English. It's also increasingly important in a global world that we are able to communicate with others, so having an additional language is very important. It also helps us understand different cultures and helps us build empathy and connect with people.
I will share more about the importance of teaching different languages, as well as the important of having an understanding of people's different language backgrounds when I work more on that area of my ITC course.
For now, enjoy these videos and images that were shared in the workshop and that I have stumbled upon:
Also...not the most academic link I am going to share...but check out how many of these points are related to language in Buzzfeed's 22 Signs You Were An International School Kid.