International Education

Education is my “issue of choice” – if you want to call it that – because in incorporates so many social issues into one. You can’t talk about improving education without addressing community infrastructure (which can affect transportation to and from school), health and hunger (school lunch programs, lack of nutrition at home affecting school performance), social justice (segregation in schools), and a wide array of other socio-economic-political issues. Education is the starting and ending point of many of these dynamics. Schools are the place where an exchange of people and ideas can come together to create a better community; hey are the safe-havens of former war zones. Education is the barrier and the gateway to a better life.

Education around the world is plagued with issues – but underpaid teachers, culturally-sensitive curriculum, and segregation are three issues that I have found in all of the countries I have studied so far (if you find one where these three issues aren’t a part of the problems, please let me know!) This is why I find it so important to travel and study the education system of different countries. All around the United States and the world, you are finding creative solutions to these problems. If we keep exchanging ideas, maybe someday we can unlock the right combination. But on the other hand, I also don’t believe there will ever be a perfectly packaged solution to education – becaues each community has its own unmet needs. This only furthers my resolve to study education around the world – because no matter what schools will always need new, creative innovations to the system.

Through my article research and conversations with Bosnian educators, I’ve found several educational departments that link to nonviolent communication in education. First of all, NVC can be used as both the end goal of teaching or a means of teaching. Because many people lack the proper training in NVC to be able to teach it in the classroom, my research has mainly  focused on how teachers can use it in their own dialogue about academic coursework and addressing social dynamics in the classroom. A non-profit in Bosnia called OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) focuses on a few of these areas for education in their departments: Diversity and Education in Schools, Community Engagement, Educational Institutions, and Policy. NVC is facilitated and enhanced by each of these areas. This can even be seen in the wording of educational policy and its descriptions of minority groups, or in how the education institution determines curriculum choice and content.

Another way my project has begun to become more specified is that I have chosen also to look at how teachers are trained in Bosnia – years of education, years of practical experience, and anecdotal evidence from students at the University of Sarajevo who are training to become teachers. Their responses, as well as the examples from my own service trip teammates in incorporating aspects of NVC into the classroom, will add an important layer to the heaps of academic articles and such already included in my Project.

Comments

  1. Hey Anna,

    I really liked how you focused on education as your “issue of choice.” I feel that the importance of a quality education is often an overlooked and undervalued issue. I completely agree with your point that education is tangled with other social problems such as lack of infrastructure, healthcare, and other resources. This reminds me of the long debates in sociology classes about which is the starting point in the cause and effect chain of poor quality of life. While poor education can lead to an unskilled work force it can also be the result of limited resources. I think it’s important for people understand that.

    I am interested to hear your findings about what the education system is like in different countries. From your experience in what ways are other countries’ education systems better or worse than the one in the United States? I feel that a lot of people ignore the fact the three problems you mentioned still very much do exist in our country. I really like your idea of exchanging ideas on how to fix education problems but keeping in mind each community’s own unique needs. It sounds like a good starting place for any community looking to improve its education system. Good luck with the rest of your research and I look forward to hearing about your findings!

    -Kacie