Ripple effects of transformational travel by Dr. Dolores Battle

When you drop a pebble in a bucket of water, you never really know how far the rings will spread.  I have had a professional interest in diversity in our country for a long time. More recent events have made me think about diversity and multicultural perspective in a global sense. The world is so vast yet so small. In order to understand our neighbors across the street, it is important to experience our neighbors across the globe. We need to understand who they are and where they came from in order to understand what they value and what they want to be, rather than let those decisions be ours based on our perspectives and our views of the world.

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In the last several years, I have travelled to China, Peru, South Africa and Cuba with Nanda Journeys.  As an educator and speech language pathologist, I never really thought about how enriching my life would in turn enrich the lives of generations of students that would follow me.

I recently received an email from a former colleague that talked about preparing teacher education students to be global citizens. It made me think about how one person can influence so many others for generations.  Dr. Wendy Paterson, Dean of the School of Education at SUNY Buffalo State, wrote:

 “I have been thinking of you a lot lately. As I have been reviewing some of my faculty for tenure and promotion, I remembered all that you did for me as you helped me attain the full professorship. Today I was reading the book 21st Century Skills and read two statements that immediately made me think of you: 1) “Diversity is one thing we all have in common.” 2) The skills to become socially adept, cross-culturally fluent global learners and citizens are more important than ever.”

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I wonder if you know how far-reaching your global initiative took us…we embarked on a process to emphasize the importance of global attitudes and multicultural knowledge for teachers.  In those first years, we engaged with some of our globally active faculty and were able to establish new PDS school contacts in Zambia and Chile. We are now on five continents with 6-8 active school sites where our students and faculty learn about education on a global scale. This has transformed Childhood and Exceptional Education…I just want you to see what you started.  As we say in teacher education, ‘The teacher will never know how much she (he) affects the future, only that she (he) will.’  You have most certainly had an impact on my life and on the lives of so many of our marvelous students.”

As one of her students said: “Travel is the one thing you spend money on, that actually can make you richer.” {Original author unknown}

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