Publication Date

2011

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Richard Rodman

Abstract

Rewriting the Upside Down World is a reflective curriculum designed to foster perspective transformation and personal development among EcuaExplora participants. EcuaExplora (EcEx) is a volunteer, intern and study abroad organization that places participants in sustainable projects within its portfolio of health, environment and socio-economic development partners throughout Ecuador. EcEx recently expanded from its base in Guayaquil to include a broader network of Ecuadorian NGO partners in Quito and across the country. The widespread location of its project sites, often in remote areas of the jungle, Sierra and coastal regions, precludes one-on-one gatherings for reflection on participants´ experiences in the field. Rewriting the Upside Down World redresses the inability to foster face-to- face reflective dialogues by employing a student-driven Learner Partner Model.

This non-hierarchical teaching methodology validates participants as partners in scholarship, situates learning in context, and virtually supports them through reflective exercises to develop their capacity for self-authorship, the definition of their own ideals, values and beliefs. Mindful transformative learning theory is also used to challenge participants´ preconceptions and perspectives through the use of provocative questioning, problem-solving, creative exploration, mindful observation, exploration of feelings, processing of personal experiences, and assertion of opinions. The curriculum is a holistic, conscious reformation of transformative learning theory´s prior focus exclusively on the cognitive domain. The ultimate goal is to breed compassionate, self-aware and culturally competent global citizens.

The guided, written journal exercises that are the core of the curriculum aim to engage participants in an attentive ¨reading of the world¨ at their project sites. It also implores them to envision a more just and equitable reality and ‘rewrite the world’ based on their transformed perspectives. By putting its ideal of education for transformation into action, the curriculum distinguishes EcEx from competitors as a vision-driven organization. The context-based, distance-learning format makes the curriculum design replicable and relevant for any international education professionals remotely managing participants in the field.

Disciplines

Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | International and Comparative Education