STUDENT REFLECTIONS ON OUT OF EDEN LEARN AND STORIES OF HUMAN MIGRATION
In this post, I’d like to share some of my English Language Learners’ (ELL) reflections about their recent participation in Out of Eden Learn, Stories of Human Migration, (January to April 2017).
My ELL class consists of seven Chinese girls, aged 15-16, who are studying senior secondary high school at Wilderness School, in Adelaide, South Australia. For some of them, it is their first experience of living outside China and communicating with students in another language.
During our participation, the Out of Eden Learn digital platform enhanced my students’ cross-cultural communication skills and understanding by connecting them to the world and exploring the lives of others through their digital exchange. This learning environment allowed me to teach global competence through creating opportunities to meaningfully engage with people from different backgrounds and to compare and reflect on diverse perspectives.
At the end of our Out of Eden Learn Walk, my class wrote reflections and created videos to document their learning. I have organised their reflections under headings that relate to the global competencies that have particular relevance to Out of Eden Learn.
People around the world all have their own stories of migration. Liliana’s post, a student who is studying in New York, left a deep impression on me. She wrote about a friend of her father’s who had a tough but heartening experience. … and [he] finally achieved his goals. I really wonder what exact things Liliana’s father’s friend has done to succeed because now I’m in a kind of similar situation as him. Anyway, I know that we should work hard, trust ourselves and never give up.
In my post of everyday borders, I wrote that age is a border between my parents and me … Time is a border which separates my parents and me but I can never break it. A student from the United States of America posted that borders are laws which are made to protect us. This gives me some different perspectives of life in America and their recognition of law.
Engaging with people who have different backgrounds and perspectives to their own
Everyone has a story of their own migration, some of them are full of freshness and hope but there are still a lot of migration stories that are frustrating and sad. I noticed a post from a student who is studying in New York. She talked about a person who migrated from Pakistan to the United States… I connected this man’s experience to my father. In China, the eldest brother has the responsibility to take care of his family. When my father was young, he went to Australia to study for a while. At the same time, he had to study, work and make money to support his family in China. Luckily, the stress on him didn’t beat him but made him even more tenacious and strong.
We built upon each other’s knowledge about the world and migration. I like how we freely shared aspects on a personal level by actually conversing with one another. Through, Out of Eden learn, I met students from other cultures and I really enjoyed looking at their photos and reading their personal stories in their post…My favorite conversation that I enjoyed were the comments between Alina, a girl from New York and I about my post on migration.
Reflecting on own stories
I have chosen a post which came from Overland Park, KS USA. By comparing my post and the student post, I have found out that our boundaries are very different. My boundary is that I can’t depend on my parents as we are living in different countries, and the other student’s boundary is to close the blinds to keeps his privacy. After I read this post, I had discovered that setting boundaries doesn’t have to be very big, it can be very simple things.
There are students from different cultural backgrounds … especially in an American school in the Bronx, New York. I found that some of their experiences were different from mine. The diversity of cultures makes me want to study with them.
In the first footstep, we shared our own stories of migration with walking partners and I was moved by an interview by Alina, a student in New York City. She narrates a tough experience in the US that a young immigrant had gotten over and changed his fate. … This story greatly inspires me. As an international student from a privileged family, I should be grateful and responsible for the precious opportunities and work harder to achieve my goals.
Borders and Boundaries are the main topics of Footstep 2. Different people have different conceptions of borders. The border that I selected is set up by nature… Many American students picked borders or boundaries that are human-made. The most unforgettable post is when a student said they have to go through the safety-checking machine before they get into school…is an interesting border and it is also a new discovery for me.
These students’ reflections about their experiences on Out of Eden Learn reveal a reassuring message that young people want to connect and discuss their experiences with openness and respect.
I enjoyed my time with Out of Eden Learn. It challenged my thinking about human migration and pushed me to read more… I will surely miss those conversations I had with an American student about boundaries and borders who said, “Boundaries are dividing lines that limit or enclose a specific area, a subject, or even in a metaphorical sense, a person. Boundaries do not have to be geographical, they can also be psychological.” I read this quote from the American student who commented my post, she points out something I wanted to say and that is, sometimes what locks us up is not a cage, it is ourselves. In conclusion, OOEL is a great place to challenge yourself with new thinking and go beyond any limits.