About Me

My photo
I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Peru and Canada: Making Glocal Connections

One of our Laurier teacher candidates lived in Peru and developed a knowledge of a group of kids who made and sold cards as a way to support their families and their schooling. We purchased 200 of these hand-made Christmas cards a few weeks ago, had them shipped to Canada, and have sold just about all of them. We'll be sending approximately $800 back to their co-op in the next few days!

It's neat to see the glocal connections made here: a student in a Canadian university, previously living in Peru, utilizing digital technologies to re-connect with a group of young people in Peru who provide Canadian students with an opportunity to support their future education. Even further, the cards that were made in Peru meet local Canadian "demand" (Christmas cards) and serve a niche market since they are hand-made. This seems like a solid, sustainable relationship which builds economic and educational capacity. in very authentic glocal way!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

School Culture and Change: Comparative Perspectives

This winter I am teaching a Master of Education course on school culture and change. As I've developed the syllabus, I've tried to incorporate two perspectives which might not normally be seen in such a course in other universities. First, I've built in a focus on 21st century learning - one that focuses on shared building of ideas and new technologies. Second, I've incorporated perspectives from different contexts, including international (e.g. articles from different countries) and local (superintendent and principal guest speakers from local school boards). This comparative perspective will be interesting as we consider what school culture (or climate) looks like and feels like in different contexts. I am also hoping to examine whether there are common elements to healthy school culture which go beyond national boundaries.

Christmas Cards for Peru: Glocal Community Building

This week our Laurier teacher candidates have the opportunity to sell handmade Christmas cards made by a cooperative of students from Peru. One of our Laurier students lived in Peru and developed a relationship with the group. She coordinated the opportunity to ship cards here and sell them. All of the funds that our students raise will go back to support the work of the cooperative in Peru.

It's been great to see the ways in which our Laurier students have actively looked for ways to make a difference in glocal communities. It takes extra effort, no doubt, but developing an active glocal perspective comes from consistently striving to make a difference in these types of ways.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book on Educational Leadership in Comparative Contexts

I've been asked to co-edit a book (and write a chapter) on educational leadership in comparative contexts. The chapter I contribute will be on the Haitian context. It's startling when you compare how much literature we have in North America on educational leadership yet very little has been written in the Haitian context. I will draw on the work I have been doing in Haiti and on the action research (localized) that the principals have been doing with me there. The book will look at educational leadership in a variety of international/comparative contexts.

The glocal connections in such a book are remarkable. After all, educational leadership in/across different contexts shares much in common with our local experiences (e.g. operational and technical experiences, leadership expectations, teaching and learning, etc) although sometimes the level of sophistication and support are very different.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Day Waterloo

It was great to be able to attend We Day Waterloo this year. Over 6,000 young people from the Waterloo Region were there.  A group of Laurier teacher candidates, as well as our dean and another faculty member, joined me as we listened to Dr. James Orbinski (Doctors without Borders),  Magic Johnson (former NBA basketball star), Romeo Dallaire (Canadian general in Rwanda during the genocide), Mia Farrow, and others.  Our teacher candidates are now following up with their schools and supporting activities there. Although We Day events are "shows", it is great to see the excitement of so many students and teachers as they consider how they can make a difference in the world!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Haitian Educational Leadership and Collaboration - Partnership Development Grant

I had an exciting skype meeting with Gaetane Jean Marie from the University of Oklahoma last week.  She is originally from Haiti but has lived in the US most of her life.  She is a well-known academic who has published extensively on educational leadership.  She actually contacted me while I was in Haiti a few weeks ago and we are now looking at ways we can collaborate - my experience with educators in Haiti + her experience with educational leadership.  I'm very optimistic about the possibilities!

The Canadian government, through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), provides grants for universities and other institutions to forge collaborative relationships.  I met with our Laurier research office yesterday and will be developing a grant to establish a network of institutions interested in supporting educational leadership in Haiti.  This will include Laurier, possibly some other Cdn institutions such as University of Guelph, Western, and Alberta, as well as Haitian institutions such as the Ministry of Education and American universities such as Oklahoma.  It's exciting to see these collaborative networks being built!

Milton Lecture: Education and New Technologies in Haiti

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to be part of the Laurier Lecture Series in Milton.  Each month, a different faculty member is featured and provides an hour lecture on a topic which bridges academia with "the real world."  It's really about knowledge mobilization; taking research projects we're passionate about and getting others informed and excited about them as well.  In this case, it's also about building those glocal understandings. The title of my talk is Piti piti: Utilizing new technologies to support education in Haiti.

The lecture is Wednesday, November 9 at 7 pm at the Milton Arts Centre for those who are interested.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Glocal Contrasts - from Rideau Hall to PAP

I had the opportunity to attend the Killam Prizes at Rideau Hall (home of the Governor General, pictured with me above) just before going to Haiti.  I was there as a representative of the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada. To go from black tie (or in my case, red tie!) and in the midst of great prosperity to the challenges of making ends meet day-to-day was another reminder of the glocal contrasts we encounter.

Participants in the M.Ed. class - Oct. 2011

Back to Canada ... but with thoughts of Haiti (and generosity)

I returned to Canada on Saturday night with minimal delays and inconvenience.  I'm always reminded of the stark contrasts between Haiti and Canada on these return trips.  Just looking in the windows of the high end shops in Miami airport is enough to bring one to tears after seeing the extreme sacrifices of teachers and principals in Haiti. I know it is a financial struggle for many of the principals just to get a tap-tap (mini busses/trucks which transport people throughout the country) after a week of a course.

And yet, my Haitian colleagues are so generous.  They are generous in their verbal encouragement of each other and me.  They are also financially generous - they pooled funds and bought a beautiful hand-sculptured, Haitian wood carving for me (see picture below).  My colleagues reminded me again of the importance of commitment to a cause - developing a solid educational system in Haiti - but also to never lose sight of being generous in our relationships as we work toward that cause.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Johnny ... more heroes

A week of teaching has wrapped up and I'm exhausted. However, principals like Johnny Philippe motivate me. Johnny is about half way through his MEd while working full time and raising his family with his wife. After we were done today, he was ready to head home ... but the ancient car he was driving wouldn't start. A couple of guys jumped in and, over the next few hours, proceeded to hot wire the car. Johnny had a few hours to go before he'd make it home so hopefully his car made it! These are my heroes.

Last night we had an amazing celebration as 60+ people joined us as 4 MEd students presented their projects and completed the requirements of their MEd ... more heroes!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guava jelly and CocaCola

My morning started with fresh bread from a local bakery and a lovely container of guava jelly - my favourite! Tonight, I'm relaxing with a tall Coke! What a Glocal connection in Haiti!

Yesterday I met with the director for the Nord department of education. We formalized the agreement we have to provide teacher training in his region. Today, the new gov't was installed in Haiti and it has all happened without incident. I am hopeful that a new era of peace and stability has come to Haiti. There is great potential for long-lasting change here and the teacher-training program in the north could be a very significant step in that direction.

Tonight, 4 students who I have supervised for their MEd project provided their presentations. There was about 60 people in the audience so it was quite a powerful evening. I'm hoping to take some of the best projects and developing a book on leadership practices for Haiti. I also met with a group yesterday to talk about establishing a professional teaching magazine or journal in Haiti. I'm quite excited about this possibility!

The materials collected by the WLU students has been distributed and my suitcases are empty of supplies ... It must be time to return home. One more day of teaching and then I shall make the transition back to Canada. I always leave with mixed feelings - I love the passion, questions, and dedication of my colleagues in Haiti ... But there's no place like home!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wilson ... and other heroes

Wilson picked me up at the PAP airport Monday @ 7:30 am. Wilson has given me rides before and I love his driving skills. I would guess that he's in his 60s with a very distinguished beard (and no teeth!). He would appear to be quite well-mannered and gentle ... But put him in a jeep with a tight timeframe and he navigates the back streets of PAP like an Indy race car driver. We pulled into the conference @ 8:30 to the shocked expressions of everyone. We were ready to go right on time!

The past 2 days have been a whirlwind - 8 hours of teaching each day, primarily to 30 principals in a MEd class but also 150 lead teachers at the conference. Then mtgs with former and current MEd student and with participants in the digital mentoring project. Today I meet with the department director for the Ministry of Education who is a key partner in our CIDA grant application. It's been an excellent trip thus far!

Monday, October 17, 2011

On to PAP

After a long day yesterday, I'm on the first flight to Port au Prince this morning. I should arrive at 7:30 am, drive to Fermathe, and start teaching by 9:30. It's going to be a long day but it'll be good to be back in Haiti.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

As Charlie Brown would say, "Argh!" - Flight Delay in Toronto (Haiti Trip Oct 2011 Posting 1)

My trip to Miami has started similarly to some previous ones ... with flight delays from Toronto!  Instead of arriving in Port au Prince today, I'll have to wait until tomorrow and will spend the night in Miami.  It's frustrating to spend months in preparation and then to experience this.  However, in keeping with the Haitian spirit, c'est la vie!

Fortunately, I can catch an early morning flight from Miami tomorrow which will get me into PAP by 7:30 am.  By the time we drive up into the mountain where I'll be located on this trip, the morning class I'm teaching should only have to be delayed by an hour or two.

I'll update the blog as frequently as I can over the next week.  It will be a jam-packed week of lectures, meetings with M.Ed. students and Ministry of Education officials, and completing the evaluation component of a research project I began on my last trip.

School Supplies for Haiti

This is a suitcase full of school supplies for Haiti.  Students from the Faculty of Education at WLU and from Victoria Cross public school in Mount Forest, Ontario (a former students of mine is a teacher there) collected the supplies including pencils, chalk, toothpaste, French posters and soccer balls!  I'll deliver these to a principal of a rural school when I'm in Haiti for distribution to children in his school.

Ride for Refuge

Our glocal team from WLU raised over $1000 in the Ride for Refuge event! Some of the riders are pictured above. We raised funds for Life Change Adventures, a Waterloo based charity helping to make a difference in the world both locally and globally. Despite the rain, wind, and cold weather, we had a great time!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A different type of mobile learning (India)

This is a great story about "mobile technology" in Delhi, India.  The video is approximately 5 minutes long:

India's Mobile Schools (from The Guardian, London)

Educational Training in the North Department, Haiti

The final touches are being put on our CIDA grant application to establish a comprehensive teacher and school administrator training program in the North Department of Haiti.  The North Department is in the north (ironic, eh?!) of Haiti, includes the 2nd largest city in Haiti (Cap Haitien), and is largely rural.  The director of education for that department (equivalent to a Minister of Education for a province in Canada) is partnering with Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph to develop this educational training program. 

We just got news this week that the national Ministry of Education has also given the project its support!  Now we have to wait to see if CIDA provides the finances to make this a reality.  Unfortunately, this takes about 6 months so it will be some time before we find out.

Haiti Trip - October 2011

I'm off to Haiti again in just over a week.  There are a number of key parts to this trip:

1. Teaching a group of 40 directors (principals) in a school supervision course.
2. Two half-days of teaching a group of about 300 lead teachers.
3. Supervising the presentations of 4 Master of Education students who are completing their major research project.
4.  Meeting with one of my former M.Ed. students who is the director of a department (there are 10 departments/regions in Haiti) in the Ministry of Education about a teacher-training project we are planning for his region.
5.  Evaluating the pilot project we have been engaged in regarding digital mentoring.

It's going to be an extremely busy time.  I will update the blog as I have Internet access, electricity, and time!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We Day Waterloo

This Friday, I am meeting with the director of programs for Me to We, the organization founded by Craig and Marc Kielburger.  Me to We and Free the Children support opportunities for children around the world to be free of poverty and slavery.  I am hoping to have some of our Laurier teacher candidates attend some of the workshops they will be doing in partnership with our local school boards over the coming months.  Also, on Nov. 16, We Day Waterloo will be held and I've received 10 guest passes for our Laurier students to participate.  Last year, 6000+ local students (including two of my children) were able to attend and hear speakers like Al Gore and Jesse Jackson.  It's a great opportunity for young people to learn more about the world in which we live and to explore opportunities for service and action.

Today, We Day Toronto, with some 18,000 students is taking place!  You can watch the event live (click on the link here): We Day Toronto Live Webcast

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ride for Refuge

For those interested in joining the WLU Glocal team on October 1, here is the link:


Here is where you can sign up to join our team:


You'll go through a few steps - choose Waterloo as location, sign off on the waiver - then Join a Team (either search for Steve Sider as the captain or for WLU Glocal).

Our first glocal meeting @ WLU

Today, I met with Laurier teacher candidates who are interested in raising awareness and funds to support glocal education.  It was encouraging to have over 20 students there!  They provided some amazing ideas of things we might be able to do this year.  We're going to have our next meeting at the aboriginal resource centre here at Laurier and find out more about how teachers can support First Nations students in our classrooms.  It looks like our first event will be the Ride For Refuge on Laurier's Homecoming weekend.  Stay tuned for more details!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bread, naan, pita, bannock...

This year I'm creating a variety of glocal lesson plans that teachers can use, either as "one-off" lessons or as part of a curriculum unit connected to the Ontario Ministry of Education.  My first one is on helping students realize that many cultures around the world share bread as a part of the diet.  The lesson plan provides activities looking at different kinds of bread, where ingredients might come from (globally and locally), providing opportunities for students to consider why bread is so important (and what happens when it becomes too expensive or hard to get) and, of course, a chance to sample different kinds of breads! Younger children can learn how to make a Kenyan bread (Mama Panya's Pancakes) while older children could read Deborah Ellis' The Breadwinner (What does the term mean? What gender-related issues are involved with providing "bread" i.e. support to your family).  Email me if you'd like to contribute an idea or lesson or to get copies of the ones I'm working on.  Once I have a variety, I'll publish them here or on my Laurier web-site.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Glocal @ Laurier

Last year, we initiated a number of glocal projects at Laurier.  One of the teacher candidates had worked in Ghana and was interested in supporting an orphanage there.  She, and a number of classmates, encouraged other Laurier students (and students in local schools) to contribute milk bags which were then shredded and woven to be used as sleeping mats in Ghana.  We also had a number of activities for Haiti including a "change for change" fund-raiser where students contributed small amounts of change to support a project involving a young man's efforts to be re-trained after having a leg amputated from the Jan '10 earthquake.

This year, I am hoping to provide more structure to Glocal.  We will have a September launch activity which will have a focus on aboriginal understandings.  There will also be opportunities for teacher candidates to be involved in:
1. Ride for Refuge - bike-a-than to raise funds to support local and global efforts for the displaced and vulnerable Ride for Refuge Waterloo
2. Road to Hope - running event to raise funds to support project in Haiti and in inner-city Hamilton Road to Hope
3. Suitcase for Haiti - I'll take an extra suitcase to Haiti in October, filled with materials for school children there

Digital Mentoring Update

I continue to work on the grant application for the CIDA Partners for Development project in Haiti.  The key aspects of the grant application are:  developing teaching/leadership modules which will be delivered to people's cell-phones, establishing digital hubs where these modules can be developed and delivered, and establishing a model school which can serve as a base for training and resource development.  Two partners in Haiti who are working with me on the project are Baptist Haiti Mission and Project Teach/Konbit Pwof.  The grant due date is October 13, just before I leave for a block of training in Fermathe, Haiti.  If you have suggestions, ideas, or connections that you think would be valuable for me as I develop the proposal, please email me: ssider@wlu.ca

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Digital mentoring Haiti update

Work has been continuing with the digital mentoring project in Haiti. I have been working with our partners in Haiti since returning from the May trip to work through what the project might look like. We are talking about establishing a digital hub in Haiti where leadership and teaching modules could be developed and delivered. This would support the sustainability of the project and would provide job and technical skills in Haiti.

I have also met with 2 profs from the University of Guelph about a cellphone-teaching project they have in India and Ghana. We are hoping to collaborate in Haiti. They have reminded me of the importance of using the structures which are currently in place (I.e. Cellphones) as a stepping stone to more significant teaching technologies such as smartphones and tablets. I am working on a CIDA (Cdn International Development Agency) grant proposal with them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Global Perspectives in Education Conference - Fredericton, NB

Last week, I gave two presentations at a conference which brought together 7,000 scholars from across Canada and around the world.  The focus of my first presentation was on the significant difference between how universities and high schools conceptualize "internationalization" and what it looks like in practice; often our goals are lofty but our practices are market driven.  The second presentation was based on research I did on how a professional development course on global education can impact classroom practice.  I received good feed-back on the presentation and will be turning it into a paper to submit for publication this summer.

I was amazed at how many different times people talked about connecting the global and the local.  I started counting references to this concept over the four days of the conference and stopped counting once I reached 20.  It's evident that people are thinking along these lines - making the connection between what happens "there" with what happens "here" (t/here), understanding that traveling to other countries does not necessarily make you a global citizen (and that some can be global citizens while never leaving their local community), and recognizing that within local communities are injustices which mirror those which take place in more distant contexts.  One of the draw-backs of a conference is that there is lots of talk.  We need to continually be reminded that a changed mind/heart needs to be "operationalized" by a changed lifestyle.

UNICEF and Free the Children

I've just finished some conversations with UNICEF Canada about working together to deliver workshops to our teacher candidates at Laurier regarding global citizenship.  I'm meeting with Free the Children (founded by Craig Kielburger) next week to talk about how we might work together as well.  One of the exciting things about global/glocal education is the willingness of people and groups to work together.

More on how we might work with UNICEF and Free the Children in future blogs!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Haiti School Rebuilding Video

Emily put this video together from some of the video footage she captured while in Haiti.  It includes snapshots of a school which was rebuilt through funds raised in Canadian schools and video footage from some of the schools we visited while there:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Madame DuDu and Chef Jean Claude

Madame DuDu
Chef Jean Claude

Some more Haiti pics - Carrefour Tin Tin

Emily at Carrefour Tin Tin:

The road to Carrefour Tin Tin:

Teacher at Carrefour Tin Tin:

Final Thoughts on the May Haiti Trip

There were a number of key outcomes of the trip:

1. Five M.Ed. students completed their project presentations and now have final editorial changes to make before completing their Masters of Education.  Key message: there is a new generation of school leaders in Haiti which is desiring to build strong schools.

2. The opportunity to see a number of schools and communities, some of which have been re-built following the earthquake.  Key message: people's donations to earthquake relief ARE making a difference, particularly amongst the smaller NGOs.

3. Discussions around the new digital mentoring project were met with great enthusiasm and interest.  Key message:  we have the opportunity to equip and engage school leaders in Haiti and Canada in a way not done before.

Next Steps May-October:
1. Complete the supervision of those who are doing M.Ed. degrees.
2. Continue the digital mentoring pilot project.
3. Return to Haiti in mid-October for meetings with Cap Haitien University, the Ministry of Education, and the Haitian Institute for Studies in Education as well as delivering a M.Ed. course.
4. Prepare for a major grant proposal around digital mentoring and capacity building in Haiti.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Madame Dudu & Chef Jean-Claude


Today we started off the day with yummy Haitian cinnamon buns and Haitian coffee (which I've really come to enjoy!) for breakfast and a surprisingly warm shower for me. Dad supervised the first of five Masters' presentations while I stayed back and read/attempted some more homework.

Dad took a break between presentations this morning and we visited the day care located right outside Baptist Haiti Mission, where we were quite literally swarmed by more than fifty preschool aged Haitian children, who all wanted their picture taken and to hold our hands. Dad returned to his presentations after a very difficult escape from the sea of children.

We ate a lunch of rice and beans cooked by Madame Dudu, the cook at the mission.  She prepares amazing meals over a wheel drum (a stove made from a tire rim).  Today's added bonus was that we each got a hot dog with our rice and beans!

Dad spend the rest of the afternoon supervising the rest of the Master of Education presentations - each one was an hour so it kept him busy. The day was concluded with every principal giving a ten minute summary of their Masters presentations for everyone to watch (about 60 or 70 people). After officially finishing their presentations, everyone celebrated with h'orderves prepared by Chef Jean-Claude. It was an incredible spread he prepared.  As he confessed later, he had to travel "far and wide" in the Port au Prince area to find all the special ingredients he needed.  We got an autographed copy of his cookbook so we're pretty excited about trying some of his recipes. All-in-all, it was a very exciting end to an incredible week.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Carrefour tin tin (Crazy Crossroads)


What an amazing journey we had today to Carrefour tin tin, a rural community accessible by a rock/mud path.  From where we're located at Fermathe (about an hour from Port-au-Prince), we took a Honda scooter (like a John Deere Gator) on the winding paths through the mountains of Haiti. We arrived at the school after an eternity of bumpy twists and turns, where we captured some great footage of students from preschool to grade 6. Soon we found  we were just taking pictures so the kids could see themselves on the screen, which they all seemed to really enjoy. Dad and Chris even took on a couple Haitian students in soccer (where they failed quite miserable, I may add - a highlight was Dad getting a soccer ball to the backside). The journey back was just as bumpy and dangerous but the view down to Port-au-Prince was gorgeous. Chris pointed out some houses on the mountainsides that Baptist Haiti Mission had helped rebuild after the earthquake.  The journey ended in the rain, but a few cheeseburgers took care of our hunger (but not my sunburn).

Dad concluded the afternoon with some meetings with principals while I attempted to get some homework done. Dad met with another principal tonight while I spent the evening with Brianna, Abbie and the kids next door watching "In the Beginning" from Sight and Sound.  Probably the favourite day so far!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mountain Maid

Between workshops and interviews today, we took a few minutes and went to Mountain Maid.  This is a store that sells products made by Haitians.  A favourite purchase of Steve's, when he comes to Haiti, is vanilla.  We bought 20 (!) 0.5 litres containers of vanilla as well as some books on Creole.

Steve's work with the principals who are completing their Master of Education project is coming well.  Five are scheduled to complete their project and defend their work on Thursday.  Five more will be done when Steve returns in October.  There is some amazing work being done by these principals - from projects which capture histories of schools to projects which examine how to develop listening skills in children.  We are investigating the possibility of pulling these projects together into a book which can be used throughout Haiti.

Steve also met with some principals about the digital mentoring project today. One of the participants in the M.Ed. works with the Ministry of Education as well as a university in the north (Cap Haitien).  Steve and he have been talking about a partnership with Laurier to facilitate the digital mentoring project.

Emily spent the morning video-taping workshops and doing homework in the afternoon.  We'll be taking a couple of hours tomorrow to drive to some rural schools and give Emily a chance to see what schools in these areas are like.  Hopefully the heavy rain we experienced today will not repeat itself tomorrow or she will also get a chance to experience wash outs!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cockroaches and Computers

We arrived in Haiti yesterday after an uneventful trip from Toronto.  Port-au-Prince airport was damaged in the earthquake so a temporary building is being used for customs/immigration.  We met Chris and Johny, our driver/host, when we got out of the airport and eventually made our way up the mountain to Fermathe, just about an hour from the airport, overlooking PAP.  The first site outside of the airport were the tent cities. Chris pointed out numerous buildings which had recently been rebuilt after the earthquake.  It was Sunday, late afternoon, so the markets were still going full swing.

We enjoyed supper, a time of fellowship with old friends (and some new ones), and then made our way back to the small house where we're staying.  Emily was particularly impressed with the cockroaches we were able to kill before heading to bed!

Today was a busy day.  Steve led a number of writing workshops in the morning with 10 principals who are completing their Master of Education.  Emily videoed the workshops and helped with setting up the room.  Thanks to Laurier for supplying memory sticks, pens, post it notes, and lanyards - the principals all seemed to really enjoy these gifts.  We also brought 4 used laptops with us so that principals could use them for their writing if they didn't have access to a computer.

Lunch with the principals was rice and chicken - a real treat!  Steve spent the afternoon working one-on-one with principals.  We wrapped things up around 5:30 and enjoyed a lovely dinner.  We have a special treat this week - Billy Graham's chef, just retired, is spending some time in Haiti and is on the same compound.  He made dinner and it was a real treat.  He's also making a special dessert for Thursday night when the principals who finish their chapters will be able to invite family in for a celebration.

Steve met with Chris this evening to brainstorm on the digital mentoring project.  They discussed the various modules which need to be developed and how the iPads and Playbooks might be most effectively utilized.  Amazing how technology might make a difference here.  A great, busy day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Connecting Buffalo and South Korea

Here's another example of how students (university in this case) are making glocal connections.  I've been thinking of ways we can incorporate some micro-credit ideas into my work in Haiti and this article speaks to this as well.  The work I have been doing around using digital technologies to develop educational leadership capacity in Haiti requires financial support from the north (the university and private donors to this point). We need to be able to make this work sustainable and that will require helping Haitian school leaders to find ways to support the training.  If you have creative ideas of ways that we could use micro-credit concepts to support Haitian educational leaders in this way, please let me know (ssider@wlu.ca)!

Click on the link below to read the article:

Buffalo and South Korea

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Article in local paper

Here is an article in our local paper (Woolwich Observer) regarding the work in Haiti (click on the title below):

Making things better, a bit at a time

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Technology to Teach in Bihar, India

Bihar is where I grew up.  It's considered one of the poorest parts of India.  I found this article incredible - it describes how Skype is being used to teach children in this impoverished province of India:

Skype connects New Delhi to Bihar

Houston, BC

I'm just about to leave Houston, BC (northern BC) after spending a few absolutely delightful days here.  A workshop on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on Thursday night was well received with about 25 parents and teachers in the audience.  Burns Lake, just a short distance away, has the highest prevalence of FASD in Canada.  In many ways, FASD is a disaster within our own land, particularly amongst our First Nations brothers and sisters.

Three keynote sessions yesterday focused on glocal perspective building. I provided some of my favourite activities to stimulate dialogue on how we can engage our students in expanding their ideas and knowledge of the world:  maps of Bangladesh, perspective pictures, cross the line, etc.  There was some great dialogue and lots of positive feedback.  Three other highlights of the day were:  a panel discussion (conservative Mennonite, east India, and Carrier First Nation), an international cuisine lunch (featuring bannock and salmon, perogies, butter chicken, samosas, sausage and saurkraut sp? - all favourites of mine!), and a number of dances by gr. 4 students of the Carrier First Nation.  What a lovely day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Presentations on Haiti this week

This week I'm doing seven presentations in Waterloo schools regarding the digital mentoring project in Haiti!  This, combined with presentations at two universities in the past month, has really increased interest in the project.  Next week, I'm talking to a group of interested adults in Toronto. 

As momentum builds, we are working on the leadership modules which will be electronically available as of May.  We've received a number of the iPads and are considering how we can most effectively use them.  I'm starting to hear from my principal colleagues in Haiti too and excitement is building there too!

Skype in the classroom

Skype has introduced a great new resource to connect teachers (and schools) globally.  Check it out: http://education.skype.com/

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buddy, can you spare a dime (x100?!)

I had challenged the Laurier teacher candidates to each donate a dime over a five week period to a centre for the disabled outside of Port au Prince.  We have spent the term looking at special education in Ontario and the many services/programs available here.  By donating to the centre in Haiti, the teacher candidates were contributing to the most basic of supports for those with special needs. The candidates took on the challenge and regularly caught me in the halls at Laurier and asked me where the change cup was where they could put their dimes.

Well, the dimes all added up ... the candidates donated just over $200!  I will personally deliver the donation when I'm in Haiti in May.  What a great reminder that (very) small steps can lead to significant change (so to speak!).

Upcoming work in Haiti - May 2011

I'll be in Haiti for the first part of May. The focus will be on 10 Haitian school principals who are involved in a Masters of Education program.  They have all completed research as part of their culminating project and will spend the week writing the chapters.  I will be doing 2-3 workshops each day on different aspects of writing.  I have developed a workbook to guide the week which is currently being translated into French.  It will serve as a resource for future M.Ed. research methods courses in Haiti.

I am delighted that my oldest daughter, Emily, will be joining me for this trip.  Her focus will be on video-taping each of the workshops.  She will then edit the videos and prepare them for posting to a resource web-site where other principals can access them.  She will also be putting together a short promotional video to highlight the kind of work I have been doing in Haiti.  Lastly, she will be responsible for updating this blog so stay tuned!

Monday, February 21, 2011

We Day Waterloo

Our two daughters participated in We Day this past week.  They both came home inspired after hearing messages from the Kielburger brothers, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and others.  Check out this link:

We Day Waterloo CTV News

50 students from the Waterloo Region are being given trips, sponsored by RIM, to work in school projects overseas.  What an amazing opportunity!  I'm curious what the long-term impact of We Day events are...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Program for Cdn Teachers Overseas Cancelled

I found this announcement disheartening - CIDA is canceling funding for a program which supported Canadian teachers volunteering overseas.  It seems to me that one of the best ways to support glocal learning and understanding is for Cdn teachers to experience education in other parts of the world.  Not only do Canadian teachers learn from these experiences but they also contribute to the development of improved educational settings and systems in the countries in which they serve.  The program utilized volunteers so the costs were minimal.

Read the full story on the (click): Globe and Mail

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Last night, I read the inspiring story of Esaue Joachim (click on his name to read the story).  He was trapped in his school in last year's earthquake in Haiti.  He was eventually rescued and then had a leg amputated.  He has since become involved with an organization for the handicapped.

I read his story at 10 pm last night, just 10 hours before teaching a course on special education (physical disabilities was to be one of the topics) the next day.  I started to wonder if his story would "end" when I went to sleep and that there would be no long-term impact on my life.  After a few minutes of thought, I decided to see if my students in  the Faculty of Education would be moved by his story and an idea I had...

Today, I shared the story with them and then said that for the next 5 weeks (before they leave for teaching practicum) I would have a container in which they could put a dime.  I figured that if every student and faculty (about 150) would put a dime in the container for each of the next five weeks, we would have $75 to provide to the organization Esaue had found help in.  I told the students that I didn't want anything bigger than dimes - in other words, I didn't want them to feel the "pinch" by giving money.  I want to demonstrate that something so insignificant as a dime can add up to make a significant difference.  What could $75 do in Haiti?

It could put a child in school for a term... it could feed a family for three months ... it could provide a source of incomce (chicken, goat, small stocked fish pond) for a family .... it could provide a micro-credit loan to someone disabled in the earthquake.

So, the container was put out and I expected just a few dimes to show up today.  I was thrilled when the students took it upon themselves to pass the container around ... by the time I picked it up at the end of the class, it was full!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Digital Mentoring Project in Haiti

A number of people have asked me recently about the pilot project I am working on in Haiti.  The project combines "reciprocal mentoring" (Canadian and Haitian principals), digital technology (iPads, Blackberries, web-based resources), and leadership training.  I am excited that Conestoga College students are planning to develop a documentary film around the project!

The project has incredible potential so if you would like to find more, click below:

Haiti Digital Mentoring Project

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Glocal Leadership - Imagine the Power

I often wonder why we focus so much on the local (provincial) landscape regarding educational issues in Ontario.  Our pre-service (B.Ed.) and graduate programs don't seem to take nearly as global of perspective on education-related issues as often occurs in places such as Australia, Singapore, and Southeast Asia.  Ontario has a strong school system but we do a dis-service to our teachers, principals, and system administrators when we don't adequately consider how our local educational realities are situated within the broader world.  In the end, our students lose.  They perpetuate a system which thinks of itself as the centre of the universe.

Instead, imagine the power of a school system which provided an opportunity to learn multiple world languages, coordinated service and learning experiences to diverse areas of the world (including diverse parts of Ontario), raised awareness of glocal social justices issues, and intentionally incorporated literature, arts, and social study lessons which had an "inter-cultural" focus.  Sounds something like the International Baccalaureate (IB) program but, I would argue, could be accomplished minus the high cost or sporadic availability of IB.  We live in an ideal province to provide this kind of powerful learning experience - solid school systems, diverse populations, and a commitment to equity and diversity.

We should be able to provide this kind of glocal education in every school; we just need the vision and commitment to do so.

Resources for Teachers

If you are a teacher and looking for resources to stimulate glocal thoughts and actions within your students, check out the resources at the top right of the blog under Favourite Links.

Organizations to Promote Glocal Micro-Credit

We have provided mciro-credit loans through Kiva for the past number of years.  This is a great way to develop glocal perspectives since you can see where your loan is going in (pretty close to) real time. Click on the name below


Another micro-credit organization doing very cool work in Haiti is Fonkoze.  Check them out:


Waterloo Region District School Board and Glocal Citizenship

On Friday, I met with one of the superintendents of the WRDSB and discussed my hope of developing glocal perspective building.  He was quite excited about the potential of working together as they explore this area for their school board.  They are hosting a "Me to We" day (Free the Children) with Al Gore, Jesse Jackson... in mid-February and that's a great start!  Click below to see more details:

Me to We Day - Kitchener Waterloo

I've done a number of presentations in local schools about glocal and see great potential for the future!

Haiti Educational Leadership Capacity Building

For the past 5+ years, I have been working with school principals in Haiti.  More than 500 principals have gone through training courses with me. I feel like I have learned much more from my colleagues in Haiti than I have been able to impart. Frankly, it has been a shared journey learning from each other.

This week, I received exciting news.  I had put an application together to receive some seed money to develop a leadership program for Haiti utilizing digital technology. The application was approved and I'm now putting together the components.  We'll be starting with five administrators, three in Haiti and two in Ontario. The concept includes a number of components:

1. Coordinating leadership resources (videos, wikis, web-links, pdfs) which will be developed by Bruce Alexander (school principal @ Keatsway PS in Waterloo) and myself with support from the Ontario Principal Council.  Conestoga College tech students will develop a video to accompany each leadership module and we anticipate using a platform developed by ClevrU, another Waterloo-based company.
2. Principals will have an iPad or Blackberry to access the materials.  They will also use the device to have the ability to be in real-time communication with an educational partner (either in Haiti or Canada).

I'm excited about what I'm calling "reciprocal mentoring."  The partnership will support the development of leadership abilities in Haitian principals who are often separated geographically (or economically) from the opportunity to access training.  It will also support the development of global perspective building in Canadian principals.

I will be piloting the project this winter and spring with a trip or two planned to Haiti to study the effectiveness of the model in April/May.  More details to follow!

Getting Started

I've been thinking glocal for a long time.

Growing up in India, traveling through Latin America, being educated in Canada, and working in Haiti have reinforced that our world is very interconnected.  My hope in this blog is to think through how we can help each other understand our glocal realities.  That is, that everything we do is in some way connected with the broader world. 

As important to me as the thinking about these realities is the acting on this awareness.  Thinking and acting glocally - developing this global citizenship seems to me to be a critical path for our shared futures.

So if you share some of these wonderments, then please join me in the journey!