How often do you generalize and stereotype people from other countries? How often do you find yourself grouping an entire population of people into a blanket judgement based upon their government or religion?
Over the past week weeks I have been having the most interesting conversations with my students regarding the stereotyping others. The dialogue we've shared has been incredibly transparent and honest, which I believe is the key to peace and understanding around the world. We've discussed our own preconceived notions about the viewpoints each of us hold, and ultimately laughed about how wrong we were in our judgments.
For example, one of my students is a Syrian refugee living in Europe, and I thought for certain he would think that all Americans (myself included) were prejudice and didn't like Muslims. However, I couldn't have been more wrong in my assumptions. My student realized that even though people around the world may live under very diverse governments with polarizing leaders, each person should be treated as individuals instead of followers. He opened my eyes to an unspoken understanding which I believe most teachers and students on Verbling adhere to, which is an understanding founded on respect and open-mindedness. My student realized the love and respect I have for ALL people, and my initial assumptions of how we may judge me were completely wrong.
We are at an advantage while teaching and learning on this platform because we are exposed to different cultures and languages on a daily basis. When we meet someone from another country, we don't automatically label them based upon the negative headline news we see on TV. We realize that each person is unique and holds their own opinions and views of the world, and those opinions may not always coincide with the views of their government.
Verbling is not just an excellent place to learn a new language and make new friends. Verbling is a learning platform which promotes peace, understanding, and a sense of community. It's important for teachers and students to remember that not only are we working towards the same language goals, but we also have the responsibility empower one another to spread cultural awareness and tolerance.
The next time you are going over grammar rules and new vocabulary words, keep an eye out for teachable moments to promote increased cultural competency and personal development. Let's come together to create a more compassionate world through authentic relationships and dialogue, because we have the power to play a small role in peacebuilding solutions worldwide. Verbling is a valuable tool for language education, but the possibilities are endless with regards to the impact it can have on humanity. Be proud of what you are accomplishing on here and the impact you are making on the international community, because YOU are single-handedly making the world a better place...