Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Families in Global Transition Conference 2010 notes (highlights) AND upcoming 2011 plans

As some of you know, I attended last year's Families in Global Transitions Conference on a full scholarship and also presented my session "The Expat Experience through the Arts" in which I did a mini-dance workshop for the attendees in my session. I found some of the notes I took during the conference and wanted to share with you some highlights:

From Joyce Bennett's "The Multicultural Self in the Intercultural World" session:

When we adapt…. We adapt a lot. Adapting to all those difference, then you realize one day when you wake up…. Who am I?

Living on the edge of two cultures.

“I will never be a part of these cultures… I will always be on the edge”

Being the dominant culture during the day and then going home to a different culture.

Bringing in your multi-cultural self to the office to gain more productivity

Impact of going overseas and then come back:

- The shocking find some people that hated going abroad and then came back with less cultural sensitivity

- When you go educate the person in that country the result is a lot more positive

- Getting people a safe place gives them more learning in that context – going to their “home” while they are abroad so they can compare notes

From Ruth Van Reken's "Teaching Locally, Thinking Globally: Helping School Educators Understand the Third Culture Kid Experience" session:

Academic learning may suffer if student doesn’t understand expectations of new school

What happens if educators don’t recognize these often hidden cross-cultural experiences among students?

- Social interactions may be misinterpretated

- Students can be shamed in many ways

o Stories may not be trusted

o May be accused of bragging

o Even teacher’s teasing can shame (story of DW)

- The wealth of what they know through life itself is lost to the class

- Child can be placed in wrong grade

- Learning disabilities may be overlooked

What are some obstacles to their awareness?

- Many teachers in local schools have not knowingly lived among different cultural worlds

- If acknowledged, TCKs may be seen as “elite few”

- Often cultural diversity of TCKs is invisible

- Old diversity models not adequate for today’s changing world

Immigrants are also having TCK-like experiences because they juggle between world

Educating teachers – tell the story by listening to the childrens’ story what they had to say and have them discuss amongst themselves so that every one can discuss where their story comes from

Diversity is not simply a difference in the visible layers of culture

How do you transition within your culture?

I'll be presenting again at this year's FIGT conference in Washington DC this week and I'll be taking notes, blogging, tweeting, posting pics, and maybe if I have time some vlogging too.

Here are my session descriptions:

Kitchen Table Conversations 1:

Building a TCK Community Through the Arts
Alaine Handa

I spent the past year developing and showcasing my multi-disciplinary arts project, Chameleon. Every person involved in the project is either a TCK or CCK. The support from the TCK community has been wonderful. In this table conversation, I want to show you short video clips of the responses from our community-based activities. The TCK community can be united outside of the School-Church-University club setting, even with our busy lives.

Kitchen Table Alternatives 2:

Unleashing Your Creative Potential Through the Arts
Alaine Handa

Do you get a “block” trying to write your article/book, choreograph a dance, paint a picture, design an outfit, etc.? In this session, mini-activities using movement, character writing, art therapy, and free-write will be introduced, to help you unlock creative potential that can become material for your work. TCKs are rich with unconscious thoughts that may or may not have been repressed. By unleashing these vulnerable thoughts, we let go of what we have kept “locked” inside and can use it as material to move on with our mobile lives.

I hope you check out Families in Global Transitions Conference and follow my live tweets @ahdancecompany (to follow other folks at the conference who will be live tweeting search for #FIGTConf)

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