4:00am Friday – sleepless in the Delhi Airport Transit Hotel.
As I ready myself for our last leg of travel to Bhutan I am anxious about my charge. I am acutely aware of the challenge in both Bhutan and the United States to teach our young people to be rigorously thoughtful, skeptical and questioning while staying open to embracing and promoting the values that are the foundation of an interdependent culture. Can we simultaneously teach for critical thinking and cultural continuity, for open mindedness and activist social justice, for individual critical thinking and collective compassion? Where is the balance that genuinely celebrates both harmony and democracy? I suspect that this praxis will be as essential to teaching critical thinking in Bhutan as it is to maintaining a healthy and sustainable culture at the small democratic school that is my lifetime community.
Could the pedagogy and practices that that work so well within my context possibly serve to undermine the cultural cohesiveness of Bhutan? The question keeps me awake, and humble. But I remind myself that I am the guest, following the impressive leadership of my Bhutanese hosts who are not new to this work. My Velcro buds are active to pick up any reflections on these concerns. I will be listening well to my students and teachers.
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