World Leadership School

Lessons in Paradox and Complexity: Educator Development in Cuba

By Jennifer D. Klein, January 2017

In July 2016, World Leadership School sent our first Educator Development travel program to Cuba, and WLS instructor Susan Lambert and I led the group in an exploration of Cuban society, culture, and education which was as challenging as it was illuminating. As one participant pointed out, “Cuba has an educated and energetic population that is all dressed up with nowhere to go,” and that’s not easy to see. Life under dictatorship also means that people self-censor, and many of our debriefs began with unpacking what hadn’t been said by the people we met. We explored project-based and global learning concepts, developing specific project ideas as we reflected on how our own global experiences had impacted our educational practices. While we had more experiences than I can possibly chronicle, I hope to capture a few of my favorite moments, highlights that convince me Cuba is a place filled with opportunities to grow the thinking of educators, a place that can help them understand and teach perspectives, paradox, and complexity in authentic ways.

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