Reply to: Understanding Culture(s)

This blog is a reply to a post on Out of Eden Learn’s  Blog, Understanding Culture(s): Promises and pitfalls of Out of Eden learn and other intercultural exchange programs.

The discussion in Understanding Cultures, was very timely as my ELL Year 11 class has just started the Out of Eden Learn Stories of Human Migration.

Below, I use the headings from Understanding Cultures, to share how I’ve used thinking routines as my class activities and the student responses.


CONNECT AND CARE. Such programs (Out of Eden Learn) can foster respectful curiosity, a sense of connection to or solidarity with other young people, an appreciation for and knowledge of other cultures, and a desire to connect with peers across different cultural contexts.

In our first exchange on the Out of Eden Learn online platform, one of my students made a connection with another student’s story.  She connected and cared about their mother’s migration from Mexico and related it to her father’s story of migration in China. Here is an excerpt from her reply,

I connect with your mom’s experience because my dad has a quite same experience as your mom. When my dad was six, his mom died, so he, his sisters and their dad had to move to another place to found relatives that they can get support. Even though just a distance from a countryside to another countryside, they walked for really long time to get his uncle’s home. Because they didn’t have money, they had to live in temple which didn’t have roof. Quite a hard time, isn’t it?


BECOME MORE SELF-AWARE. Programs like Out of Eden Learn can become vehicles for promoting students’ self-awareness of their own perspectives and why and how they might be similar and/or different to those of people living in other cultural contexts.

To promote students’ self-awareness we examined different perspectives using the resource video, Between Borders, and the global thinking routine, Step In, Step Out, Step Back. 

This Padlet shows some of the discussion that followed. Please scroll over the Padlet to read student comments.

Made with Padlet


In preparation for our next online global conversation, “Footstep two”, on the topic of borders I used Paul’s audio on Borders, recorded from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in December 2016 and the transcript of the audio along with the thinking routine, the Leaderless Discussion. This thinking routine extended ELL comprehension and language analysis on a deeper level to develop complexity on the concept of borders.

See Culture Everywhere

SEE CULTURE EVERYWHERE. Being exposed to a range of firsthand stories and perspectives can expand young people’s view of what “culture” means: they can come to see it as a complex, fluid, phenomenon of which they are a part, and as something deeply individual and personal as well as something associated with particular geographies or communities.

The discussion on boarders took on a personal tone as a result of listening to Paul’s recording and the following discussion. Student questions and summaries can read below and on this Google doc.

What do you think Paul means by “borders divide, but being edges, they also stitch people together too.”?

I found this question interesting because it says borders divide but stitch people together. Borders divide people in different countries, but some people like migrants cross the borders and they get to understand each other.

Borders can decide which country I am in. If I step into a border of another country, this could open my mind to new experiences new culture and new environment and change my life.

I wonder about student responses to the next online conversation on Out of Eden Learn using slow observation to notice everyday borders.


Global Thinking: An ID_Global Bundle to Foster Global Thinking Dispositions through Global Thinking Routines. Developer of the Global thinking Bundle: Veronica Boix Mansilla

Understanding Culture(s): Promises and pitfalls of Out of Eden learn and other intercultural exchange programs. By 






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