Tuesday, August 21, 2012

International Journey, Africa

Day II -- Africa

Today was considered the official kick-off day, which featured welcome addresses from various Prime Ministers of Africa and Former and Present Political Leaders of Africa as well.  The welcome addresses provided each stakeholder's vision, agenda and perspectives ... and because I prefer to stay as objective as I possible can in my own blog, I will not identify who was who,  but I will discuss my views on what was disclosed.  My reason(s) for doing this is not because I do or do not believe in what they are campaigning for, I just want to ensure my readers are afforded the ability to authentically communicate their views without having a predisposed bias about an individual they've heard about before.  

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea is well-documented as being a gloomy country that's underdeveloped despite there being an oil industry that has consistently flourished in recent years.  Speaking to  my latter acknowledgement this was brought up numerous times throughout the opening orations ... and if I tap into my economics (minute, but sufficient enough to believe there's validity) I would have to say that having access to oil is synonymous with having $$$.  Therefore, when I hear verbiage that speaks about wealth and ensuring progress for people and the country, but there are displaced tangible resemblance in the streets, roads and homes I've witnessed as I've traveled to immaculate constructed buildings that are tightly secured even after driving through a check point where the passengers are required to walk 15 feet to be manually checked while the vehicle goes through a security sensor, I'm simply perplexed.  

Yes, I know and believe that success is a process, especially when one is referring to restructuring a country ... however, can success be attainable when there is spoken language that hears  "If you don't like what we're doing ... This is how we do things ..."?  Upon hearing these statements and giving the respect that because there's an obvious foundational element in that there's the expectation one understanding of the needs are far deeper than my own analysis, I still miss heard diplomacy.  Therefore, I'm conflicted on whether or not capitalism is the priority and the well-being of the direct stakeholders and beneficiaries are subsequent.   

In closing, there's the reality that  what we're facing in today's world is that we all need each other in some form or fashion.  Not to say that we're all handicapped by one another, I'm simply  indicating that one's country inability is another country's ability.  To this end, I'm challenged to think of the handicaps I possess during the reconstruction of my desires to improve my own abilities to professionally and socially positively impact my community, society, and those individuals I encounter.

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea 5:50 pm  (+5 hours EST). 

"As Always, Stay Inspired..."  

Monday, August 20, 2012

The International Experience I

Day I - Africa

So far so good considering the various logistical occurrences that have happened.  For starters, my initial perspective revolves around the access to water, the mere notion that as an American, I have not taken the opportunity to become fluent in another language and my first exposure to how some individuals here are living.  

 "I am humbled" about how water is highly revered here and to think how we/I take for granted that the water we use to simply brush our teeth is safe to use.  Here, the water is considered unsafe and could be detrimental to one's health.  Thus far, I have gone through the day asking myself "how will I get enough water to drink and use today that will be sufficient enough to serve my various needs"?  My one solution has been to heat my water up in the coffee pot in my room and reuse one of my recycled water bottles,  by refilling the container with the hot water, so that by the time I needed to use the water, the water would at least be at room temp.  While this is a hurdle that can be slightly curtailed, my inability to effectively and efficiently communicate with the countrymen is troublesome to me.  

The common language spoken here is Spanish while French is another tongue that is secondarily used.  In short, if there are individuals who speak various languages and I only speak one, how can I really compete and be effective in an interdependent world that is constantly evolving?  

Lastly, I'm Staying at the Hilton Hotel which is located a few meters (1/4 mile) away from the country's International Airport (an airport that's measurably small) is nicely built and quite charming with fairly good security.  However, right across the street from the hotel there's a two-story home/hut/shack where the occupants are constantly seen outside in an unemotional stare that could be considered dire, hopeless, and institutionalized.  The occupants provision have various windows on the first floor, where the inside is visibly hallow and from a distance feels cold.  The second floor is covered from atop, but is surrounded by the country's climate and is accessed by a 10-foot ladder that is housed outside.  To bare witness to this, is... (speechless).  

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea 11:10 am (+5 hours EST). 

"As Always, Stay Inspired..."  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Education...?

Growing up in a country where free education is available for students between the ages of 5-18, I am perplexed at the notion that in many instances education is not valued by students in America as much as schooling is valued by students in other countries. The premise of this blog stems from a few things I've observed as an Academic Professional and a few things I've observed during my current Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership. 

"I don't need to know this...!!!  Why (are) we learning this...???  I can't see how this is going to help me in the future," are some of the responses I get when I am encouraging students to value the benefits of being educated -- especially in an era of high stakes assessment exams and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.   

There's no secret that NCLB has been the focal point of this country's K-12 educational system for the past decade ... and although I grasp and applaud the ideology associated with NCLB, I find the methodology to be faulty in some capacity ... but because I will refrain from my soap-box about the things I find troublesome about NCLB, I will note that literature has shown that NCLB has had a positive impact (depending on which lens one is looking out of) on the students this legislation was drafted for.

In noting the aforementioned while speaking from my perspective as an adjunct professor and my time in today's urban high school settings, I must say the reality of my latter sentence is quite challenging to believe, but that's for another blog.  In short I find a good portion of today's secondary educated students lacking a variety of soft skills and academic aptitude, but more importantly, I find them lacking the zeal and fervor to go beyond status quo.  Needless to say this is problematic for a number a reasons, but more or so due to the fact that without some type of post-secondary education these students will become another statistic to what society predicts for individuals who have no skill sets and aspirations of positively contributing to their community.

One of my pedagogy platforms revolves around 21st Century Learning and assuring I am concurrently socially and academically enriching students while also ensuring I am educating them as opposed to teaching them (recognize the difference between the two).  I tell my students all the time that because we are living in a world that is interdependent and constantly evolving, individual success is heavily dependent on one's mental capacity, and his ability to think critically.

In theory, the reality is if one is to ask "Why Education", I would simply say, "Knowledge is an intangible source of income that is immeasurably PROFITABLE!"

As always, stay inspired..!!