This was an expression I repeated throughout the day on Wednesday, when 10 bilingual schools and 220 kids came together in Madrid for the Global Classrooms Model UN conference. Spanish students argued, discussed, and crafted a resolution about the best manner of fighting and preventing "Malaria, TB, and other infectious diseases" around the globe. 13 and 14 year olds, dressed in suits and dresses, acting as delegates from their respective countries, using problem solving skills and cooperating with people they had never met before to form solutions, all in a foreign language.
Feeling inspired? I am.
What I and and other TAs have learned this year is that the Spanish school system can tend to be a bit rigid. It is based more on memorization and tests than papers and activities. Problem solving skills and cooperation are not emphazised as much and you are evaluated in different ways. All in all it is a fairly stark contrast to the American school system. I've been the crazy American girl, therefore implementing group activities and creative thinking questions into the classrooms. This Global Classrooms exericise is great for the students, if only to improve their autonomy, letting them feel like they have accomplished something without having the teacher force feed it. Thinking outside of the box and not getting penalized for it.
There was an awards ceremony that day and I saw the faces of my kids drop as the awards went to students that had been there for two years already or who had a higher level of English. But, hopefully, they realize what an amazing thing they have accomplished.