At a time when some say the United States is looking inward, middle school students in Broward are looking outward. Kids in the Global Scholars program are learning how common issues link them to students around the world.
“It is very, very important in this time in our history for us to be global citizens,” said Camille Edwards, who coordinates the program for the Broward County school district.
As part of the Global Scholars program, seventh and eighth graders make videos addressing an issue or a problem and share them with their peers in Spain, India, Poland, Colombia, and with schools in the United States, including some in Miami-Dade County.
“It allows the students to discuss, in a safe environment, things that they see and hear and for them to gain their own opinions,” Edwards said.
We watched a Global Scholars class at Pioneer Middle School in Cooper City. It’s an elective program, and kids who choose to take it get a real feeling for what school and life is like in other countries, without paying airfare. For example, at the beginning of the school year, students send each other videos describing their schools and their cities.
“I’m learning about their culture and how they’re different from us and like their country and how they live compared to how we live,” said Ashley Ferrelli, a seventh grader.
“I’ve learned about how to communicate using technology and how technology helps connect different parts of the world and allows for easier communication,” added Tyler Flowers, an eighth grader.
For the assignment on fighting cyber bullying, the kids at Pioneer Middle made a rap video. That’s how this generation communicates, peer to peer across boundaries.
“I think it opens their eyes and i think that’s one of benefits of the program is that it increases their perspective, broadens their perspective on today’s problems all around the world,” said Michael Consaul, principal of Pioneer Middle.
The Global Scholars program started last year with four schools, now 16 Broward middle schools are participating, with more to come.