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Prompt #1: Crossing Boundaries

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” – Paolo Freire


Prompt #1: Crossing Borders

Greeting Educators!

We are all coming together this summer with different  ideas of what education is: how it is practiced, how it is shared, why it is important. We are coming together with different ideas of what knowledge is: what we want to learn, what that learning will feel like, and who we consider experts. And we are also coming together with different ideas of what climate change is, why it is important, and what we should do about it. We are carrying all of that with us as we travel into a new geographic/cultural/social space.

We are crossing borders.

This summer as we travel through Bolivia together, we are crossing over not just the political borders that define nation states, but also cultural, emotional, historical, epistemological, environmental, and personal borders. In the creation of our learning community, we all become someone slightly new. As we grapple with new ways of thinking and understanding, the very structure of our brain neurons will adapt with us because, to be able to learn something, we have to be open to being changed. This may feel great sometimes. This may feel uncomfortable other times. We hope for both. As Global Citizens studying a global problem, we know that climate change crosses borders, and we must learn to do the same.

Ultimately one of our hopes as instructors (which we will combine with your hopes, which we will combine with the hopes of the people we meet in our travels) is that this experiential process will be something that you feel empowered to bring back home to your learning communities. We will rely heavily on the precepts of popular education to guide this process: we will seek to elicit the wisdom of the group to help define how we journey forward; we will seek the knowledge inherent in the lived experiences of peoples from different walks of life; and we will make time to reflect personally and as a group as we make meaning in all of our different ways.

And so for our first prompt, we have a collection of readings to help us ponder both popular education and to help show us different ways in which we will be crossing borders. As you read these, we ask you to think about the following questions:

  • What does ‘climate change’ mean to me? How might this definition differ from someone else’s?
  • How has my life influenced how I understand climate change?
  • What is it that I am seeking to learn from Bolivia? How willing am I to learn a different point of view?

Please post a response! (You can incorporate this into your intro if you haven’t posted that yet. Or you can reinterpret or creatively reimagine a new way to respond given the perspective of the readings if you feel like you already touched upon these topics in your posted intro!)

We encourage and invite creativity. You can write a story or a poem or a haiku or upload a picture of a drawing. You can respond with photos of images from your neighborhood. You can list names of people who have crossed into your life. You can take a walk around your block and make a list of sights and sounds. We want to know a bit about your feelings and relationship to this topic. We want to understand why you care.

We look forward to seeing/reading/experiencing your responses! Have fun with this!


Gina, Stephen, y Ivan


Readings to help us ponder:

Popular education:

  1. Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Chapter 2, pages 71-74
  2. The Bow and Arrow
  3. A brief history of instructor Ivan Nogales and the history behind his work

Andean cultural understanding of land and environment. Please read one of the following. Whichever suits your reading style! [Feel free to read all three if you have the time.]

  1. The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community
  2. The Divine Leaf of Immortality
  3. Mountain/Body Metaphor in the Andes


*Yak image is of the teleferico in La Paz, Bolivia, taken by Pedro Rdrgz Grc. Thanks, Pedro!