I’ve always thought it would be cool to have contact with a class from another country. When I was in middle school, I had the opportunity to sign up for a Spanish-speaking pen pal. It was part of a project to help us students practice our Spanish in an authentic manner.
That’s one of the things we strive for as educators, isn’t it? Teaching and learning in an authentic way.
Recently in class, I had the chance to look at the website ePals Global Community. This website allows classrooms from across the globe to connect with each other. Maybe it came as a result of going to school in a small community, but I found that oftentimes schools are a bit isolating in terms of exposing kids to diversity of thoughts and opinions. For instance, imagine being able to consider the American Revolutionary War from the perspective of your own class, as well as a class in England. Obviously, you’re going to perceive events differently. While students are learning about these historical events, they also have the opportunity to learn about forming their own opinions and respectful arguments. Students will learn about different cultures while learning the invaluable lesson that people will have different opinions, and that’s OK. All of this can be learned from their own school.