With people increasingly on the move, either voluntarily or through forced migration, the implications of such movements are evident in even the most rural classrooms, where the glocal provides both challenges and opportunities. It is against this background of change that my own teaching practice developed. Struggling to engage with a diverse cohort of young people where real cultural, linguistic, religious and gender chasms emerged between us, I realised I needed an alternative approach.
This reflection prompted trips to northern Albania, followed by Turkey, Germany, Poland and East Africa; the results of which were transformative. For example, in Tropaja in northern Albania I witnessed the strength of familial ties, which helped to situate my students’ challenges of integrating within a neoliberal framework in more clarity. Witnessing parents overwhelming desire to ensure their children are educated, even for one term, was humbling. Humility turns to irony in the realisation that UK schools are increasingly known for behavioural challenges. Watching children use their entire community as a playground draws comparisons to the growing numbers of children in the UK who are not allowed to play outdoors due to safety concerns.
There were other positive changes. I started collaborating with others outside of education to develop teaching and learning resources. The first was a collaboration with an architect to design an interactive house suitable for emerging of new technologies. I then developed an iOS app to support young learners with the academic language of school and used the imagery to teach visual literacy. As we move towards global collaboration, I have been working with teachers in rural Uganda to examine what such collaborations will look like when both resource-rich and resource-poor contexts meet. These samples offer a flavour of my work, all of which are informed by social justice in education.