Meet the Natives Series
‘Meet the Natives Series
In line with our overall mission, The ‘Meet the Natives and its sister series ‘Learn with a Native’ and ‘Create with a Native’ provides the unique opportunity for children to engage with cultures different from their own. It is based on the learning gained in response to the Through Other Eyes (TOE) initiative. The focus of this series is on intercultural learning between child and adult natives from around the world. This online series typically runs for four weeks at a time, during this period, children meet other children from around the country and the world, they hear from guest presenters(Natives of countries we are exploring) and explore the world through the arts.
This is an international initiative funded by the Department for International Development. It aims to address different readings of the world to enable people to re-evaluate their own positions in a global context (Andreotti and De Sousa, 2008). To address different readings of the world, the TOE developed an online study program for teachers, students and other educators to explore what it calls ‘a perceived gap in ways of seeing that can reproduce unequal relations of dialogue and power and undervalue other knowledge systems’ (Andreotti and De Sousa, 2008: 3). The TOE developed a framework of learning to unlearn, learning to listen, learning to learn and learning to reach out to address and to respond to this exploration of dialogue and power.
This framework underpins the ‘Meet the Natives’ series at Next Star, and its sister series of ‘Learn with a Native’ and ‘Create with a Native’. The origins of the TOE initiative are found within the postcolonial theory which examines notions of inequality, injustice, marginalization and power relations between the global north and the global south (Andreotti 2006). Development Education, which can be understood as an approach to learning in which there is a growing awareness of thinking globally and which encourages individuals to make links between what they are learning to their own lives (DEA in Bourn 2008) and the lives of those around the world (Davies and Lam 2010) provides a tool to explore post-colonial theory to make a positive difference in the context of global learning.
Through this framework, the ‘Meet the Natives’, ‘Learn with a Native’ and ‘Create with a Native’ series provides a shared space in which natives from different countries around the world meet together virtually in real-time using Zoom as a tool to explore ways of:
- Learning to unlearn (to re-think, to challenge, to question and to reflect on what we have previously learned in relation to our own lives and contexts)
- Learning to listen (to listen actively to the stories of those from similar and different backgrounds to ourselves, to those who have a diverse cultural heritage and who have lived different experiences to us)
- Learning to learn (to remain open and responsive to the importance of learning about diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages, traditions and customs in the context of the sharing of our stories, knowledge and talents)
- Learning to reach out (to put learning into action by participating in intercultural activities that have a mutual benefit and a shared focus on equity)
The Through Other Eyes (TOE) initiative provides the theoretical, and practical, the foundation of the inspiration behind the Meet the Natives series and its sister series at Next Star. It enables both child and adult natives from around the world to be exposed to a range of opportunities dedicated to promoting cultural awareness and cultural exchange using the performing and visual arts. We hope that you enjoy this series; that you are challenged by it, that you are motivated by it and that you are able to apply this learning to your own lives and contexts through an ongoing engagement with commonality and diversity in learning to unlearn, learning to listen, learning to learn and learning to reach out.
Rachel Casali is a teacher educator in the post-compulsory sector in London and has a background in training and development. Rachel’s specialism is in teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) with a particular interest in teaching individuals from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and she has taught in a range of contexts both at home and abroad. Rachel has worked alongside University College London’s (UCL) Institute of Education to deliver the PGCE (Post Graduate Post-compulsory) teaching qualification and she furthered her passion for global learning and development by returning to UCL as a mature student to do an MA in Development Education. Rachel drew her inspiration for the Meet the Natives series as a result of this learning and she continues to apply this to support the learning of others in a global context. Rachel is the Volunteer Coordinator for Next Star and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about the series – you are really welcome to get in touch!
Andreotti, V. (2006). Soft versus critical global citizenship education. Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review Issue 3 pp 40-51.
Andreotti, V. and de Souza, L.M. (2008) Translating theory into practice and walking minefields: lessons from the project “Through Other Eyes”. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning 1(1): 23-36.
Bourn, D. (2008) Global Skills. London: Learning and Skills Improvement Service.
Davies, D & Lam, E (2010) The Role of the First-hand Experience in the Development Education of University students Bath Spa University International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning 2(2), pp35-51.