Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Afghanistan & The Taliban & Islamic World

Is the U.S. doing the right thing in Afghanistan?

Student presentations of key terms/concepts:
Mujahedeen - Islamic fighting force --Osama Bin Laden
Deobandi movement- Islamic movement against Western Civilization & teachings - now have grown into madrassas
Madrassa - anti-westernization; Mortensen dislikes their fundamentalist world view; seen as threat by U.S.
Wahabi - Sunni branch of Islam
ISI - Pakistani Intelligence agency; helped create the Taliban; now working to stop the Taliban. Pakistan has a history of supporting Islamic fundamentalism.

Charlie Wilson, US congressman who helped divert millions of dollars towards the Mujahideen in Afghanistan
Questions about new style fundamentalism of the Taliban:
What was the role of Islam in Afghanistan before the Taliban?
What were the major developments/disruptions to Sunni Afghan society 1979-1990 ?
How does Mortensen explain the presence of dictators in many Islamic fundamentalist movements?
What are the arguments for and against the Taliban as a legitimate government for the people of Afghanistan?

How have jihadists used religion to justify war/terrorism?  The true meaning of Islam and the Koran are not reflected by the extreme fundamentalists.
(Americans have a history of fundamentalists:  Puritans, Great Awakening, Evangelicals...)

Video: PBS Frontline: Return of the Taliban in our "classroom of the future" projected on 3 screens.
Peshawar, Pakistan - birthplace of AlQaida; new base of operations for Taliban;
Pakistan has little control in the tribal zones which have never been integrated into the Pakistani state.
Many human rights violations as Taliban terrorize the local populations. Mortensen kidnapped in the tribal area of Waziristan.

Questions to think about for tomorrow:
Is America Islamophobic? Talk to your parents/family about memories of 9/11 tragedy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

Guided Readings for Establishing Geographic, Historical and Cultural Context:

"Pakistan Since Independence"
"Challenging Islam: The New style Fundamentalism of the Taliban"

Select additional readings from the classroom BlackBoard site:
  • "Rising Powers and Global Institutions"
  • "Defining Success in Afghanistan"
  • "The U.S. in Afghanistan"
  • "2-National Theory and Partition"
  • "How Dangerous is the Taliban"
  • "The Future of the U.S. and Pakistan"
How to complete a critical summary:
1. Spend time sourcing/evaluating the articles for their biases and contexts.
2. Identify claims made by the articles or essays. Evaluate the evidence or argumentation used to substantiate.
3. Reflect on how each article/essay interacts with the knowledge or attitudes you previously held on this topic.
4. How do these texts shape your answers to the some of the essential questions we've generated regarding Three Cups of Tea.

Full group Town Hall Meeting

Juniors - Science

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Using Twitter in the Classroom

This short video shows a great way to have "private" online discussions on Twitter.
Pretty easy to set up!

Global Education Conference

Be sure to check out the Global Education Conference.

The conference (online and free) will be held November 15 - 19, 2010, at multiple times and in multiple languages. This innovative conference sounds very exciting. The two co-chairs, Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray, are nationally recognized educators. As you will see, there are numerous opportunities to be involved –as a presenter, on an advisory board, an attendee, etc… and the site is still under development with more information being added regularly.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Education seen through the lens of the children of Korphe and students at New Trier

Discussion centered on Quotations from Three Cups of Tea and our own motivations for education vis a vis the New Trier motto.

p.32 "Can you imagine a fourth grade class in america, alone, without a teacher sitting there quietly and working on their lessons?"

p. 149 "And I remember thinking, if I go to school, maybe one day I can become distinguished, too."

p. 207 "Shakeela is the first girl in all the Hushe Valley to be granted the privilege of a higher education....And now, all the girls of Hushe look up to her her."

p. 209 "Once you educate the boys they tend to leave the villages...But the girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they've learned.  If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygience and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls."

p. 257 "I implore you to dedicate your full effort and commitment to see that all your children are educated. Otherwise, they will merely graze like sheep in the field, at the mercy of nature and the world changing so terrifyingly around us."

p. 312 "Before I met you Dr. Greg, I had no idea what education was," Jahan said, refilling his teacup. "But now I think it is like water. It is important for everything in life."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We're Back.............

Bonding with the new Junior and Senior students! So exciting to meet everyone. We are in the large EPI Center on the 3rd floor as a whole group today.

Colby shared expectations and syllabus and introduced students to our BlackBoard website which includes the student calendar which includes assignments/readings.

First English Essay assigned:
"What in your opinion is the most significant event in Three Cups of Tea?

Breaking out in small groups to do an inquiry activity with Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea.

Next, the super fun outdoor activity which involves creating a human amoeba.

New Trier Organic Garden