I have put off commencing my blog for over one year! Yes, it was a professional goal of mine last academic year and I did not do it. I can certainly say that I do not have the time and I would not be fabricating if I were to use that as an excuse. It is also, I admit, reluctance on my part to take on technological changes. I am constantly pushing changes here at the ES in curriculum or program areas, so why am I hesitant to head into the digital world? Sometimes, we move forward seamlessly and other changes are met with more resistance. That is the nature of change.
But I am also what is called a ‘digital immigrant’, a term coined by Marc Prensky back in 2000. A digital immigrant is defined as someone who was born before the onset of digital technology and has had to adapt to it in later life. A ‘digital native’ on the other hand, is someone who was born during or after the arrival of digital technologies and generally feels comfort and ease in using them. If there were a chronological time line for one traversing the digital evolution, I might be placed quite far to the left on that continuum. Luckily, I work with many enthusiastic digital natives in the Elementary School, who are moving us forward and not allowing me to drag my digital feet! So here I am, finally at the dawn of my own blog…spurred on by some of my more capable and nurturing colleagues… Even digital immigrants can adapt!
To be fair, or in my own defense, the reluctance to get started has also been due to time spent reflecting on what the aim of the blog might be. If you as parents have been (hopefully) following your children’s class blogs, you will see that they communicate well what is happening in the class, or they might give you important information on how the class is working or what homework is due…Our class blogs can be an extraordinary means for communicating with your children about their learning at school. We also live in a world of too much information that we need to sift through. As parents, you get information via email from the class teacher, the class blog, the school-wide newsletter, the ES Newsletter and emails from the ES Office. My blog shouldn’t be more of the same. So, I’ve decided the aim of my blog will be to send you news or articles that I think as parents of young learners in an international setting may be of interest to you.
I hope you will find something of interest in the content of my blog. Here is the first entry for you….
What is a Third Culture Kid?
Are you familiar with this term? It’s not a new one and it has become increasingly known in the global world and in international schools. A Third Culture Kid refers to a person who has spent a good part of their developmental years outside of their home country. Many of our students will be TCK. You know you are a TCK when asked where you are from and there is a hesitation in the answer! Recently the PTA and the entire faculty of ISS was given a presentation by Dr. Ettie Zilber, the Head of our sister school BISS, in Beijing, on the topic of ‘Third Culture Kids’. Dr. Zilber has recently published a book on this subject, entitled, “Third Culture Kids-The Children of Educators in International Schools”. Her book primarily focuses on children of international educators and their role and challenges in being a student in their parent’s workplace, but she also builds a deeper understanding for the reader of how to raise children internationally. As parents and educators living abroad, it is essential that we ourselves build an understanding of how a lifestyle of mobility changes the lives of our students and children, so that we can in turn, support them in understanding the challenges of their diverse lifestyle. No doubt, these TCK will have a great impact on the global world.
The following are a few general characteristics of a TCK:
· A life filled with mobility: traveling is a way of life
· Speak more than one language, often 3 or 4
· Establishes relationships quickly
· Politically astute
· Privileged life style
· More mature in their social skills
· Culturally astute/cross-culturally enriched, less prejudiced
· Adapt quickly to unfamiliar countries and people
· Education achievers
· Excellent observers of other people
The following are a few general challenges of being a TCK:
· The elusive concept of where is home?
· A sense of belonging everywhere and nowhere
· Uncertain cultural identity
· Problems with decision making
· Constant loss of relationships, loss of community/school.
· Feeling different from others
Want to find out more about TCK?
Additional resources for reading:
· Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. David Pollack and Ruth Van Reken, Authors (book).
· Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World. R. Pascoe, Author (book)
· Third Culture Kids- the Children of Educators in International Schools. Dr. Ettie Zilber Author (book).
Or connect to:
· www.tckid.com (website)
· www.tckworld.com (website)