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My Ethic for Global Learning

Tool Objectives: 
  1. To analyze typical attitudes and behaviors of some U.S. students and travelers so as to recognize and challenge hedonistic tendencies in contemporary education abroad practices.
  2. To consider the potential positive and negative effects of student travel and tourism on host communities and the environment.
  3. To articulate your personal ethic for global learning and engagement. 
Tool Description: 

This tool will facilitate the process of recognizing the potential positive and negative effects of international educational travel on host communities and the environment. Through classroom discussion, supplemental readings and video instruction, students will confront the hedonistic tendencies within education abroad by bringing student attitudes and behaviors to conscious awareness. Students will develop a personal “Ethic for Global Learning.” 

Tool Procedures: 

1.   Schedule class time to show the video Cannibal Tours (1987).  Directed by Dennis O’Rourke, the video is approximately 80 minutes in length, but it is not necessary to watch the entire footage.  The viewing guide will help students begin to recognize the ethical issues involved in global travel. Penn State’s Media & Technology Support Services has only one VHS copy.  Alternative films could include the 2001 documentary Life and Debt, which examines the economic and social situation in Jamaica, or the popular mainstream film, The Beach, which tells the story of an American backpacker in Thailand.  

2.   Students should be required to read three related articles, as follows:

  • McLaren, D., “Tourism Development in the Local Community.” Rethinking Tourism and Ecotravel.
  • Ogden, A., “The View from the Veranda: Understanding Today’s Colonial Student.”  Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad.
  • Slimbach, R.,  “The Mindful Traveler.”  World Wise: Global Learning for the Common Good.

3.   After students have viewed Cannibal Tours and read the three related articles, allow at least one class period to discuss the impact of international educational travel. Facilitate a discussion of how to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the positive effects of your scheduled group travel abroad.  Potential topics of discussion may also include perceptions of American tourists abroad, ethics of tourism, and the WTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Assign students to write a 3-5 page personal ethic for global learning.

4.   Optional: Consider having students revise their personal ethic after the international travel component, or to write a supplemental reflection paper on their international experience in relation to their personal ethic for global learning.

Tool Evaluation: 

Students should submit a 3-5 page “Ethic for Global Learning” within two weeks of the international travel component.  Details of this assignment should be written into the course syllabus and account for a predetermined course grade percentage, preferably 20% of the final course grade.  Grading should be based on completion of the assignment as specified.

Tool Time Requirement: 

One or two class sessions (pre-departure)

Tool Author(s): 

R. Slimbach & A. Ogden, 2009

Tool Handouts [.doc or .docx]: 

Site copyright 2012, University of Kentucky, Education Abroad.
Toolkit Authors: Duarte Morais, Ph.D., Anthony C. Ogden, Ph.D., & Christine Buzinde, Ph.D.
More information about the toolkit authors.

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