Social Education 58(7), 1994, p. 432
National Council for the Social Studies
These classes, and those in that most global of studies, Foreign Language, feed into study tours and exchange programs. What is abstract in the classroom becomes warm and alive and quite human. The French and Spanish departments offer a three-week exchange program in which our students, third-level or above, live abroad and then host foreign students here. Both are home-stay programs and include extra instruction in culture. A Russian exchange in a similar format is planned with a school in Yaroslavl. This exchange grew out of previous trips to Russia that were centered on international student conferences on the environment, preceding the Earth Summit in Brazil. Other study trips have included Spain, France, India, Italy, and Greece. In a recent trip through the Ecology class, students studied the rain forest of Costa Rica and met with local students. AFS (American Field Service) is also represented with occasional year-long exchanges. And, in the area of health, the Los Amigos program sponsors fieldwork in Latin and South America. Students work at the local level in various health screenings, construction of sanitary facilities, and reforestation. Other programs at the school include a latchkey tutoring program with local Hispanic students and participation in the International Book Project.
Finally, there is the Model UN, the one club that receives students from all of these courses and programs and directs the information gained. Our school typically selects a less developed country (a product of Area Studies), and several students opt for third committees on issues (from Anthropology). With the combination of factual knowledge and the more elusive sense of respect for all peoples and ways of life, the Model UN serves to reinforce the principles gained in other classes or programs. Although Model UN conferences may take on aspects of a forensic tournament and lose sight of the idea of consensus and resolution, the fact remains that the Model UN represents a celebration of diversity. Morristown-Beard School likewise celebrates that diversity in its curriculum and, by extension, offers its commitment to the ideals that have made the UN the most potent force on earth for understanding and cooperation.
Rose Franke Koch and Alan H. Cooper are faculty members at the Morristown-Beard School, a K-12 independent school in Morristown, New Jersey.