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How Global Citizenship Comes to Life at Avenues

By Câline Fonteneau, Avenues São Paulo Admissions Associate

I was born in Miami, Florida to a Cuban mother and French father. Growing up, my family spoke Spanish and French, and experienced two distinct cultures, all while residing in the United States. Later on, we moved to Brazil and added a fourth culture and language to our mix!

I can think of no better time to emphasize the importance of global citizenship than this current moment.The notion that we all have rights and responsibilities as citizens of the same world, global citizenship is something that has taken on greater meaning and importance during this challenging time we are all living through.

Global citizenship is something that requires an open mind, empathy, and humility. The same can be said of learning a new language, embracing a new culture or understanding an issue affecting a community beyond your own. Which leads to the question, can global citizenship be taught? As a multinational, multilingual, multicultural individual raised with an open, curious and world-focused mindset, I can say Avenues: The World School brings global citizenship to life.

Here are three ways:

  1. IMMERSION

Thanks to advances in neuroscience research, continued globalization and innovation, multilingualism is critical for a future-forward education. (It’s surprising to think that before the 1960s, bilingualism was considered a disability!) In addition to the extensive research demonstrating the benefits of cognitive flexibility achieved in learning an additional language, Avenues’ immersion setting offers an effective and authentic learning environment--the type of authentic learning environment that a child of a multilingual household grows up experiencing.

  1. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

As an extension of project-based learning, Avenues seeks to make learning as authentic and transferable as possible. As students embark on a project, they are encouraged to go beyond their classroom to find real-world, real-life opportunities to deepen their learning. An investigation into the environment led young students to plant, care for and observe different biomes on campus. A venture into research and primary sources took upper grades students to a storied city library to understand how information is organized and stored. Travel experiences--from visiting a local recycling plant to learn about sustainability and entrepreneurship to studying astronomy and indigenous rights in Hawaii--are intentionally designed to support curriculum and growth.

Yet, at Avenues, we know global citizenship is so much more than learning a new language and traveling. It is, in the words of our mission statement, being “at ease beyond our borders.”

  1. PROJECT-BASED LEARNING

Project-based learning is designed to build on students’ natural curiosity, which motivates them to reach goals, cross borders to understand connections between disciplines, ideas and the world around them. As they progress through school and beyond, students will benefit from developing a flexible mindset, a confident approach to skill-building and problem-solving, and find themselves to be natural collaborators--all strengths that will help graduates navigate the world.

In our increasingly interconnected world, it is fundamental that our children have the ability to navigate new realities, cultures, communities and societies. Respecting and valuing diversity and learning what shapes a society and community are critical to our commitment to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion and cultivating the ability to think globally, act locally.

When we expand our perspective to see people across the world as inhabitants of the same planet, we begin to understand how environmental issues, human rights and social inequality affects us all. When we humbly learn to connect across differences defined by race, culture, physical ability, socio-economic backgrounds and any other measures of identity, we glean invaluable insights about people who may appear very different from ourselves, but with whom our future is inextricably linked.

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