Grade 2 learns about Third Culture Kids

04/10/2011

The Grade 2 just finished with their Unit, “Maasai and I,”  which is an inquiry into the transdisciplinary theme “Who we are” with the central idea, “We can find similarities and differences among cultures.” We have found that it is important that children not only understand their home culture, but it is important that they understand their place within a larger group of children who are called, Third Culture Kids.  With this purpose, the Grade 2 counselor, Kate Kersey, presented a mini unit of 3 lessons on “Third Culture Kids” (TCK). The intention of these three classes was to give children a sense of belonging  to “Third Culture Kids” (TCK’s) or “Global Nomads”. We use these names for people who have lived in a country other than their parents’ country. They feel they belong more to a group of people with a similar life experience, rather than to a unique nationality. These lessons were aimed at several different ‘types’ of TCK’s:  those who move around the world, and those who have never moved; we consider them TCK’s as they speak several languages, they have friends who move away every year, and they attend an international school.

The children found out that they are all TCK’s, and this is the data we collected that shows us the unique mixture of TCK’s we have at IST:

2N 2S 2P 2H Total for Grade 2
Lived in Different Countries 19 19 20 14 72
Parents from different countries 7 10 9 5 31
Don’t live in the country where born 18 15 20 14 67
Speak more than 1 language 17 18 20 15 70
Friends in different countries 19 18 21 18 76
Know how it feels when someone says, “I am moving away.” 18 19 19 17 73
Know how it feels when someone says, “I am new to this school/country.” 18 19 20 19 76
Go to an International School 21 20 22 20 83

During the first lesson, we explained the terms “Third Culture Kid” and “Global Nomad”.   The next lesson focused on what it means to have a multicultural identity. During this lesson, the children drew pictures of themselves and what special traits make them who they are.  We discussed the notion, that although we all are different and drew different pictures, we still have traits in common. Two being, that we are all third culture kids and multicultural. A person who is multicultural can understand and appreciate people with different languages, celebrations, clothes, food, habits.We finished our Third Culture Kid unit by talking about “what is HOME for us” and what helps us to feel safe and comfortable while we are at home. Nomads move with a few things; people, pets, souvenirs and special objects. “Where is home?” is a difficult question to answer for Third Culture Kids; they often say “I am from nowhere and from everywhere”, we want to help them to build a sense of home and belonging.  At the conclusion of this lesson, some Grade 2 students put it quite nicely, “A house is something you can’t take when you move, but a home moves with you.”  “It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside, it’s that INSIDE, it feels like home.” “A home is where you feel safe, loved, and comfortable.”