Innovation @ NIST

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Innovation Spotlight: Going Deeper With The Global Citizenship Diploma

NIST has been supporting students in their desire to complete the Global Citizen Diploma (GCD) since 2015. Recently, however, there has been a push to have a greater number students participate because, we believe, the benefits of going through the process are meant for all. What are those benefits? Well, the main advantage is that students develop the very useful skill of metacognition (awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes ie: thinking about your thinking). Being aware of what you think is an incredibly powerful skill, and it is not always easy to do. To help their peers ‘dive deeper’ into their understanding, the Student Steering Committee of the GCD developed the Metacognition Framework (shown below):

As the text in the middle indicates, it is all about developing new understanding. Most do this by describing an experience, making a connection, comparing it to other experiences, and then exploring other possibilities. Although the process just described is the norm, a student could start from corner of the framework and then link to the other three.

This might sound abstract, and perhaps it is, but it also challenges students to develop another key benefit of completing a GCD post; creating a narrative. It is the story behind the thinking that really brings about a true understanding of one’s thinking…and makes the reading of the posts that much more engaging. Luke, in Y11, wrote about his growth in an Intercultural Communication post that focused on his experience working in his grandparents’ ramen noodle shop in Japan. In his post he shows the significance of how language shapes how he interacted with customers. Anna, also in Y11, spoke frankly about her international education in a Global Understanding post. A self-proclaimed ‘Surfer of the Continents’, she has noted subtle but significant differences in cultures like the understanding of food sharing at the dining table in Asia versus the individual portions found in North America. Hana, in Y10, explored how her switch from gymnastics to dance has really helped her to find happiness in her Wellness post.

If you read one, or all three, of the posts you will get a true sense of what the GCD is all about. These students, and others, have delved deeper into what they have done and have truly grown from awareness of their thinking. That awareness gives them a better sense of self which, in turn, should serve them well in future pursuits, academic or otherwise.

Innovation Spotlight: The Visual Paragraph

The students leaders of both the Student Council and Global Citizen Diploma recently, before the winter break, received some ‘professional development’ with visiting communications expert Kendal Zoeller. Mr. Zoeller focused on what he calls the choreography of presenting using a tool called visual paragraphing. He asked the students to reduce what they wanted to communicate to two or three things, or impact statements, and then physically move to a new position when changing from one impact statement to the next.

To illustrate, the Global Citizen Diploma students have been emphasizing the idea of metacognition (critically thinking about one’s own thinking). While presenting this topic they might:

  • begin on the right side of the room with the definition of metacognition,
  • then move to the left side of the room to provide an experience of how it works,
  • and finally show how the use of metacognition helps in deeply understanding an experience

The students left the session with a greater understanding of the importance of not just what and how you present material, but the significance of considering the manner and positioning when presenting. Our Student Council and GCD students should all benefit as a result.