Students, teachers, administrators, and alumni were interviewed to explore their understandings of global citizenship education. There were 5 students that participated in 3 in-depth interviews each. There were 3 teachers that participated in 1 in-depth interview each. There were 2 alumnae that participated in 1 in-depth interview each.
Having attended one of the most prestigious schools in Chile for more than 10 years, Cristobal has unsurprisingly developed high expectations of himself and views academic failure as unacceptable and an indication of inadequate efforts. His expectations often translate into an exceptional drive that positions him as one of Croft’s best students. Yet, the tremendous pressure that he feels in striving to maintain an exceptional academic performance sometimes strains his social relationships. An all-rounded student, Cristobal is also keenly aware of his position as a member of a privileged community and educates himself on the socioeconomic division in the Chilean society. The son of a successful businessman, Cristobal also looks up to his father whom he believes has been the driving force behind his exposure to people from diverse backgrounds. His strong motivation to participate in community service perhaps stems from his strong sense of social justice and an awareness of his social class. In addition, Cristobal possesses a particular penchant for music and has been actively involved in a rock band. However, he regards music only as a hobby and plans on majoring in Economics, which he feels is a profession well-respected by most Croft graduates. Notwithstanding the demanding syllabus at Croft, he is grateful to the school for having provided him with a holistic education and the opportunities to interact with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Like many of his peers at Croft, Alejandro hails from an affluent and well-educated family with strong ties to the school. As a high school senior, he strives to keep up with a demanding schedule that balances academic endeavor and rugby training, while allocating some time to spend with his family and friends. An exceptionally driven and ambitious individual, Alejandro admits to occasionally feeling an immense sense of pressure to deliver his best performance, especially in his preparation for college. Perhaps most striking about Alejandro is his remarkable leadership capacity which has undeniably earned him the trust of his peers and teachers and propelled him to the position of class president. He believes that by being the class president, he is in the best position to effectively contribute his ideas to the school community. Yet, he also expresses his occasional frustration at the seemingly inability of the school administration to respond effectively to the concerns of the students and its attitude towards many student-led initiatives. Even though he frequently disagrees with many of the ideas brought forward by his teachers, he strives to maintain strong relationships with them and credits his teachers with sufficiently preparing him for college.
Micaela stands out from most of her peers as an individual who keenly recognizes her social position and expectations. Aware of the privileges that come with being a member of a higher social class, she firmly believes that it is her responsibility to utilize her resources in ways that would benefit other members of society, especially those who are less fortunate. She exposes herself to people from all walks of life through community service, in an attempt to fully understand their situations, and is always delighted to hold discussions with her classmates about social class. Unlike most of her friends at Croft, Micaela aspires to a career that would enable her to improve the wealth division within the country. An all-rounder, she is also actively involved in a wide array of activities, notably swimming and theater, and considers her various commitments crucial to her application to prestigious and competitive colleges. In addition, Micaela is an avid environmental advocate and spares no effort to promote environmental sustainability, mostly through her participation in the Green Team at Croft. She also maintains a close relationship with her family who remains her main source of emotional and financial support.
Administrators and teachers
“Croft students may seem a little bit snobbish sometimes but that is just because they are very proud of the school and what it has to offer.” Herself a former Croft student and a journalist by training, Ms. Soto now works as a communications officer at the Croft school. She believes not much has changed about the meaning of a Croft education for its students. Perhaps most striking is her constant recognition of the Croft as one of the best schools in the country that academically prepares its students for the most challenging college classes and beyond. She asserts that the fact that Croft students are required to speak English in school distinguishes Croft from the majority of schools in Chile. She also believes that the prevalent use of English in the school is a manifestation of the privileged social position the majority of Croft students are in. This, she feels, contributes to a kind of social homogeneity that can hardly be found in other schools. With regard to global citizenship, she stresses the crucial role Croft plays in helping her develop an awareness of the world around her. She repeatedly mentions the opportunities to go on overseas trips as a main factor contributing to her understanding of people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and her ability to step outside her comfort zone.
Having worked at the Croft school for the past 2 years, Mr. Munoz admits that he still does not fully comprehend the meaning of a Croft education. He recognizes that he is cultivating a generation of elite students who will become future leaders of the country. As a result, he often feels a tremendous sense of pressure and responsibility for the academic performance and social well-being of his students. Like Ms. Soto, he stresses that Croft’s adoption of English as its language of instruction offers students an enormous advantage over their peers. Though Croft’s curriculum undoubtedly produces all-rounders, Mr. Munoz believes its demanding nature sometimes places too much stress on the students. He also maintains that parents play an active part in the management of the school, which occasionally sparks conflicts between them and faculty members over teaching methods. With regard to community service, Mr. Munoz believes it plays an essential role in helping the students recognize their privileged position relative to the rest of the country while revealing that many perform community service not out of empathy but rather as one of the “requirements”.