Sunday, January 18, 2015

Learning at Sea

For the kids, learning takes place between 9:00 and 11:15 in the main dining hall. There the two dozen kids on board gather with a parent/care-giver (it is required by SAS that all children had an adult on board whose prime responsibility is to be with the child/children all day long in and out of school) to do their home-study school work. Sarah completed a full year of her English and US history classes in class and on-line last fall semester. That means her schooling is less demanding, Her main endeavors now are doing home-study seminary, ACT prep, and reading classic novels--she just finished Anna Karenina. She also is earning high school credit by auditing the world performance class on board. This class looks at the performing/theater traditions in each of the countries we visit. It is taught by professor Adrienne Moore from USU. Sarah and the boys will also do a lot of world history and culture learning in the countries we visit.

The boys have more traditional studies. Before coming Marie worked with their teachers to gather books, workbooks, and files to help the boys with math, reading, spelling, social studies etc. It can be challenging to make it interesting and to keep the boys on task--particularly Will. But learning is happening. Joel and Sarah have also sat in on several sessions of anthropology and mythology classes. In addition to these more formal lessons the kids have attended one of my classes on global cities and they have attended night time lectures on volcanology in the Pacific Rim, ocean pollution, and climate change. Each afternoon the faculty kids meet from 1:30-4:00 for group activities which the parents and some of the SAS students help organize. Today they learned how to do yoga. Other days they have created and drawn an imaginary island, made play dough animals of the countries we will visit (Marie's activity), played soccer, learned a Hawaiian song (Marie again), and learned kick-boxing. The TVs in our rooms play documentaries and moves related to where we are going (no 10:00 news for me to watch). The past two days we have all watched The Last Samurai and To Live which highlight critical moments of regime and cultural change in Japan and China.

My part in all of this is facilitating the learning of a small part of the 600 students on board. These are the 17 students in my Political Geography course. So far I am really enjoying teaching such a diverse groups of students. I have students in my classes from all over the US and from countries like Yemen, Bosnia, Brazil, China, Jamaica and Mexico. It was fun in this class on the day after our Hawaii visit to have a discussion about territoriality and nationality based on what we saw and learned from our day doing our own thing on the big island. One of the students met an ardent Hawaiian nationalist in a field trip/lab required for one of her other classes, other were informed that certain beaches and waves are for Hawaiians only.

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