Ah, those middle school years! Middle school is often a time when children, as humans in the making, are least difficult to comprehend. As children gain increasing exposure in a globalized world and absorb its positives and negatives – as well as the cognitive abilities to make sense of it – one may often wonder if the child one is meeting today is the child one knew yesterday.
Over the past several years as a teacher-researcher, I’ve conducted professional data gathering through interviews, work analyses, conferences, and collaboration with families. The most prevalent theme that arose was the search for personhood in an increasingly visual, digital, and connected world.
Students of the 21st century are saturated with information; the need to make sense of information overload is their greatest challenge.
It’s those middle school MYP years version 4.0!
A former mentor of mine and social-emotional specialist once said that students must “reflect, even when [they] don’t want to.” This, I believe, is central to the pedagogy of the future and our main entry points into the type of critical thinking that the MYP program encourages us to do, and that students deserve to be their best selves.
As Adam Y. wrote recently, “spreading culture is teaching other people what your culture is, but creating culture is making a new thing that you just started. It is a positive thing for my identity because I can learn more from them and not just use things I have now.”
In our MYP program, we aspire to give children the space to ask the difficult questions, provide overexposure to perspectives they may not be considering, integrate the important “who are you” questions into collaborative efforts, and face the facts, ideas, and figures, that guide us as we make sense of our lives. It is in the safe spaces of classrooms that the courageous work of the middle school education lives. Embedding academic and soft skills into this exploratory mission is our skillset.
The middle school years is a phase of life where every young person deserves the opportunity to emerge stronger, more well-rounded, and optimistic than when they entered it. Indeed, they will continue to question, explore and test the boundaries of personhood. Classrooms are spaces where we can make it safe for them.
Below are a compilation of highlights from a recent post-formative reflection activity. We are learning about multinational companies in our globalization unit and its intersection with identity. Our students generate brilliant ideas, right where they should be – in a safe, nurturing, environment. How we turn these ideas into actions will be the challenge of our summative assessment in our Individuals and Societies Year 2 course.
Thank you for joining us in the adventure!
Please click below to see the following reflections about globalization from:
Multinational and transnational companies have changed us in ways such as the way we think about their brands and what we wear due to their advertisements. For example, many people now think that having brands like Ralph Lauren and other luxury brands make them look rich and professional in certain countries. multinational and transnational companies have also changed who we are by using celebrities as walking advertisements. Thus, making many people believe that they could just be like them if they wear those brands ( basically messing up our thinking of what is good or bad).
A great example is the UTE in Australia. Somebody famous declared the only “ real men drive UTE”. After that, the sales of UTE increased so much that it was impossible to order. Basically, that means that one sentence from a celebrity could literally spin people into buying this company. I severely disagree with this idea because I just don’t get how people would do whatever a celebrity does, especially if he/she is only advertising. But this shows how people would do whatever a celebrity says, including spending money on a product a celebrity is wearing/using.
Spreading culture is when somebody shares their ideas, religion, and beliefs with others that could lead to more people believing in the culture. Creating a culture is when you create your own unique religion and beliefs and ideas. The “culture” that companies are trying to establish is basically something along the lines of: ” buy our products and you will feel that you are better than other people without this product.” This has been seen through the major sales of major brands and how people think that they are better than others by just wearing rich brands like Rolex and channel and they think they are “cooler” or “better”.
This is not a positive spread/invention of culture since the companies are only inventing it to make money and to make people hook up with their brands and that is not good since that would just make more people think that buying the specific brand is better. Thus making them spend more money on it. People who don’t believe the company’s culture often get bullied by the people that do believe it. For example, Many fortnite players thought that spending money on fortnite and getting skins make them look cool. And the kids that do not play or didn’t spend money would get bullied and called a default But the thing is that skins cost about 300 TWD each and some people don’t want to spend money. And then they would get bullied because they are not cool and are defaults. It basically means that you would be bullied by the “ cool” kids that have skins because you don’t have one since you don’t want to pay the company. In my opinion, this type of marketing strategy is very bad since it could turn non purchasers into targets and victims of purchasers since they are “not as good”.
Many often think ( companies make many think) that they need to be up to date once a company makes a new product. For example, many people would rush to buy the newest Apple product the day it is out and would just “ ditch” the old phones they have owned so they could get the new one. This shows how people would get another newer version of a product because of their want to get the newest on and stay up to date. I severely disagree with this practice of staying up to date because unless the new products have some new important features in it that could help me. It isn’t worth it to buy a product just to keep up to date since I believe in the reliability of the product. Not its ability to boast because it is new ( many people buy the product just for that purpose). All these show that the invention of culture in multinational companies is negative and the only sole purpose of the invention of that culture is to brainwash people to think that they need to buy the product to keep up with the community.
Admittedly, there are many negatives to the advertising of multinational companies. But on the other hand, we can now get things globally of the same brand and could get many of the same things in the same country ( basically meaning that we can have everything if we have the money thanks to globalization.). Advertising could also mean more money and for advertising and a boost for production from the factories that make the product, thus benefiting many people in many countries.
I am a person that wears brands such as Nike and Adidas not because I want to be like some athletes but because they are comfortable. To follow that up, I am not a person that likes sports alot and would much prefer to just read and do math in my free time. I also do not have any sort of beliefs so I would not spread or create any. I am sometimes also unemotional or emotional depending on the event and I am semi-good with controlling/hiding my feelings. I am also a person that doesn’t like to have products to boast but much more for reliability and durability. Finally, I am a person that has these things because there are multinational companies and that gives me the ability to get many things that are provided by multinational and transnational companies and is bought by my parents. I do not support multi and transnational corporations because I do not like the way they operate and sell products to customers and consumers although the rest of my family are quite different. But in general, we are all consumers that depend on many different companies and even some multinational companies. Basically, I have been changed by multinational companies because of their convenience in which I have many of the things I “own” now. It has also changed the way I believe in things since the way they operate makes me wonder what their true purpose is, thus not believing in their culture. All in all, Multinational companies have changed us all no matter if they change the way we think or the convenience they offer us.
Disclaimer: Please note these informal reflections have not undergone the writing process, so they are complete ideas that still in development!