Wrapping up Research

One of the most difficult parts about writing the final report on my project has been there are so many aspects to it! There is the teacher to student communication side, there is student to student, there is linguistics, there is educational policy, there is cultural classroom protocol – all of these tie into what I learned in Bosnia this summer. In my attempts to capsulate my research and experience, I will focus on what will be most helpful to a future teacher/tutor entering a similar classroom setting – one of cultural diversity. I hope this report will be a resource for tutors in the Williamsburg community as well as the future Bosnia Project volunteers.

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Learning from Partners

One of my greatest research resources has been my coteacher in my Bosnian classroom – the students from the University of Sarajevo. Our relationship with our co-teachers has had its share of communication issues, but we see them every day and have a fun working relationship as well as friendship. We have so much fun with our co-teachers that sometimes it is hard to concentrate on work together – and also, with the culture more focused on human interaction than work, the co-teachers are rarely the ones to initiate the planning. From these relationships I am learning more about how Bosnian education culture is different than the United States. Even seeing their struggles with their college professors makes me reflect differently on my own interactions and experiences at college that I have left unexamined. I take for granted the good and the bad because I forget there may be other ways. Working with the co-teachers has been an eye-opening experience into the different styles of education in the world and how this can have ripple effects on the workforce, the social and political attitudes, etc.

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Linguistic Aspects of NVC

Nonviolent communication faces its own linguistic challenges in what to call itself and how those terms relate to older and current research terms. Confusion between the specific NVC model, non-violent communication as a concept, and other related topics such as conflict resolution, can all create different shadings of words that are interpreted differently. Additionally, the term “violence” is often associated with physical violence rather than recognizing the ability of words to create atmospheres that hurt mentally and can lead to this physical violence. [Read more…]

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.

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Goals and Objectives

A significant part in developing a basis for my research will be my own personal experience as an individual and a team member of the Bosnia Project. These experiences will create a foundation for me to explore the areas I found to be a significant factor in influencing education abroad.

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