cultural divides

I’m back in the office again for a few weeks before heading west for the eagle festival.   While in town, I’m working to develop a policy training session that will last 3 days.  The Policy Fellows are heading into the home stretch of their research, having completed almost all of their data collection.  The key now is to focus on turning that data into policy, constructing logical arguments, and generating policy alternatives.  So, for 3 days, we will review the steps of policy analysis and spend some time with some one-on-one work (hopefully outside the city in a national park).

I’m currently working on developing some training exercises for this workshop.  Day 1, we basically modified activities from a training manual created by LGI.  For Day 2, though, we’d like to spend a little more time working on translating data into effective arguments.  I’ve been searching around for some ideas, and have decided to turn one activity into a re-hash of everyone’s favorite exercise – the Analyzing an Argument writing section from the GRE.  It’s a pretty good example of using facts vs assumptions, plus what to do about missing data.   But I’m having one slight issue.

Until you leave the US, you never realize how US-centric we really are.  There is almost nothing universal about American culture, except perhaps that it is so pervasive that people in other countries are already somewhat exposed.  But so many institutionalized cultural elements are taken for granted, and in reviewing the Argument topics on the GRE page, it occurs to me that part of our isolationist attitude is already embedded in our education system.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – obviously, some things are distinctly American and, for example, someone interested in domestic issues benefits greatly from being well-versed in these areas.  But I must have reviewed over 100 topics before I found 3 that I could modify for the Mongolian context.  Foreign students taking the GRE are at a major disadvantage here for applying to American schools.

Would it be difficult to universalize this section of the GRE, and for that matter, any other part of our educational system that creates a distinct advantage or home-grown students?  Would it be useful or beneficial?  Politically expedient? Do we like our uniquely American system?  And how does it work the other way?  Are our students too Americanized?  I find sometimes that Americans have a harder time adjusting here than expats and visitors from other countries.  Is that tied into our education system too?


2 Responses to “cultural divides”

  1. 1 Mongolia leasing LLC September 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

    off course american educational system`s different the mongolianeducational system.
    I think like your mind.

  1. 1 policy training « Land of Blue Skies Trackback on October 14, 2009 at 6:49 am

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