As I watched and listened to the presentation, Julie Lindsay & Vicki Davis on “Flattening Classrooms”, I could not help but reflect on how their flattened classroom really presents an opportunity for students to develop and broaden their respectful and ethical minds (Gardner, 2008). I also realized that the “Brick to Click” theme discussed in the presentation allowed for others to examine the abuses of the respectful and ethical mind. Earlier this year, my students threw a curveball my way and I honestly was not able to think of an answer. We were focused citing and making sure that the appropriate people were given credit for their work, and a huge plagiarism scandal hit the news. My students were angry. They wanted to know why this person was exempt from the “rules” that they had to work so hard to maintain. We talked about integrity and pride in your work as well as a job well done, but it was challenging. In a world that seems to increasingly try to push the limits on what is acceptable, we need to focus on what is right, respectful and ethical.
Presenters Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis (2014) discussed how flattening the classroom really leads to a global experience. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to several countries in my life. I also have had the unique pleasure of traveling as a hearing person in the Deaf world when I attended an international conference of Deaf Education in South Africa. While I was there, I not only learned about the world around me in which I was unaware, I also learned more about the Deaf world and culture. Additionally, I learned how this small part of the world viewed me as an American. I was asked more than once by students what Michael Jordan was really like in person. Students did not understand I did not know him, they thought all Americans knew famous people. That really touched home when they discussed how a young student from the southern United States addressed her teacher as “sir”, a huge sign of respect, but to the teacher, it was a sign of disrespect. I have attached this Youtube video showing how “BATHROOM” is signed in American Sign Language (ASL) and in Japanese Sign Language (JSL). While ASL is the most commonly used and understood of the world’s sign language, due to the fact that the only university for the Deaf is in the United States and all students must sign ASL to attend, the sign for “BATHROOM” in ASL is considered a vulgar sign in most countries, therefore the “WC” sign is more acceptable. I learned this the hard way, but it was a lesson that has stayed with me. Every aspect of the flattened classroom is pre-planned, but these moments of global misunderstanding and understandings occur and are learning experiences. If we stay in an isolated bubble, does true learning really happen? As educators, we need to prepare our students for the global experience, the jobs of tomorrow. Working across cultures is one way to do it. The more I listened to this presentation, the more intrigued I became. I know that I need to start out small, but this idea of joining one of the programs is of great interest to me. I know what I will be looking into this summer. My students are already behind the eight ball, they need all the help they can get. Not only does a “flattened classroom” provide for worldly access, it presents language in a meaningful way, which in turn provides access to a greater ethical and respectful mind.
Gardner, H. (2008). Five minds for the future [Kindle]. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
Jslvideodayo. (2012, May 09). Lesson 28/ bathroom/ Japanese Sign Language 日本の手話. Retrieved April 12,
2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka-uZrxodkU
Thefutureofeducation.com. (2014, January 16). Julie Lindsay & Vicki Davis on “Flattening Classrooms. [Video
File]. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVZuwIhjQvA