The Global Café
The Global Café is a safe space that is run for students by students in Jasper Place High School with limited restrictions. It is a space that hopes to prepare youth to become intentional citizens by fostering relationships with the broader Edmonton community and offering any information, resources, mentorship, and opportunities the youth feel are important. Any student is welcome to walk in and offer ideas of what the space could be or what they could accomplish within it and are supported in carrying out their ideas. Students have ownership over a space in their school and also agency to create the community they would like to see both within their school and the broader Edmonton area.
When we think of intentional citizenship what we mean is a citizen with a vision of the world they would like to live in and therefore act with the intention of creating that world. We need to ask ourselves what kind of citizens are our school’s hoping to create when they keep community separate from the education of our youth? The Global Café is all about bridging the gap between community and education through offering a gathering space. However, the Global café is so much more than simply a space, it is a place where culture is created and students are empowered to use their voice to drive future decisions of the education system.
The idea for the Global Café was innovated after a passionate panel discussion regarding the future of education and how youth can become more engaged in their communities. The Global Café pilot project is part of a larger movement within the school for what educational reform could look like. Right now we have students who are taking both Math and Physics and unable to recognize the correlation of problem solving skills between the two courses. Our students are missing the critical connections between courses in a curriculum that is designed to have overlap between subjects. There are different ways of delivering curriculum that could achieve deeper learning and meaning for these students. We do not have to standardize the learning experiences of our youth the way we standardize their exams. Students can have more agency in the ways they learn, and
A great example of this innovation is the CSL engaged learning pilot project. 3 of the University of Alberta’s CSL students have recently partnered with Jasper Place High School’s Global Café to develop a new way for students to connect to their learning objectives. The CSL students (Joshua Tang, Taylor Rubin, and Leanne Doherty) will be working with 3 teachers and 9 high school students in which the high school students will decide for themselves how they want to meet certain learning objectives within a specified time frame. The CSL students have been issued the challenge of developing a questioning technique that empowers the students to ask critical questions and fully understand the purpose of the curriculum. Their hard work will result in educators having a useful tool to empower students in the path forward. Will deeper learning and meaning be achieved? Will the students be more engaged in their assignments? We are excited to see what the CSL students will find!
Another Great example of the ways in which the Global Café integrates community and education is through an event they are holding on February 28th, 2012 called the Living Library. This is a completely different take on learning where students are able to listen to real people share their stories so they can learn from people’s lived experiences. The first living library was held in Denmark as an innovative way to challenge prejudices. Every living book was a person who has been discriminated against in some way and were able to share their stories to help build community and open minds. The Global Café’s living library aims to also foster community and establish a safe space where youth are aware of the oppression that exists in our society today. All of our living books have amazing stories to share and I am positive they will impact our students in a way that causes them to think more critically about the world around them.
Another great event to highlight is on March 21st the international day to end racial discrimination. This is an event that will bring together different cultures and generations for a day of learning from each other. More details will be provided closer to the event.
The Global Café is a safe space for community including the students in our school to gather and think critically about the world they belong in. Any student can find a space within the Global Café to express themselves and their culture in a way that will be respected by their peers. Please come visit us in Jasper Place High School room 138 to discover what we are all about!