by: Stavroula Salouros, Physical Education Teacher, Elementary School, ACS Athens
Ethos Magazine, Winter 2013, Vol 8, Issue 1
At ACS Athens Elementary School, the educational system is built on equity and justice so that all youth will have the opportunity to become competent, active and honorable citizens. It is our goal to ensure that all learners will be involved in engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society. Therefore, our ACS Athens’ mission is to “empower individuals to transform the world as architects of their own learning.”
Being an international school, ACS Athens is enriched in diverse cultural heritage, ethics and traditions. To empower my students with global knowledge and make them more appropriately aware citizens, I decided to produce a United Nations Show. My main purpose for putting on the show was to showcase the unity, the diversity, and cultural appreciation we all demonstrate on a daily basis in our classrooms. Building a multicultural society takes time. Just as successive waves of migration helped shape our multicultural heritage over generations, so do the virtues of mutual respect and acceptance develop over time. Education is a catalyst for this understanding. It was Mark Twain who said, ‘If you think knowledge is dangerous, try ignorance.’ It’s a message that underlines the critical role that schools play in our community.
As key inﬂuencers, educators raise awareness and advance knowledge and understanding about cultural and religious diversity; our schools can be harbingers of social harmony. By promoting knowledge of people’s cultures and inclusive attitudes, educators can help prepare students for their roles and responsibilities as global citizens with an appreciation of the inherent benefits of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity.
As an educator, I decided that a great way to showcase this behavior and attitude and simultaneously empower my students to transform their global thinking was to unite and build cultural bridges through folk dances and songs. Therefore, the United Nations Show was created, and students were taught that diversity is different individuals valuing each other regardless of skin, intellect, talents, or years. They gained knowledge and insight into various cultural ethnicities, and they all gained an appreciation of all the unique individuals that surround them on a daily basis.
In conclusion, my United Nations Show, “Building Bridges,” empowered the students with the knowledge needed to be honorable, global and respectful citizens of our diverse school community and of the world. It taught them that we are all unique in our own special way and that diversity should bloom in everyday life, and not be hindered by reality, but rather blossom by the greatness of love.
- Middle School United Nations Day 2013: “Creating a Human Rights Community”
- Writing in Action