“Leaving my old country, my grandfather and my friends was so sudden that I wanted to stay silent forever” in Geraldo
Geraldo is a sensitive and inquisitive boy whose whole world is uprooted as he suddenly moves to another country and is immersed into a new culture. His initial reaction is withdrawal and silence, as he takes in all the newness and strangeness. Although overwhelmed at first, he never accepts the labels that are imposed on him, like “slow learner” for not being able to master a new language as quickly as expected. Alternatively, he shows us his rich inner life, thoughts and personal theories on topics like death, time and self. The path towards cultural integration is not an easy one, but slowly and surely Geraldo does it, with the help of an understanding teacher and new friends at school.
This book is rich in philosophical and existential content, making us reflect on the nature of the reality we live in: is it a fixed and stable absolute, or rather an ever changing and flexible construction? Geraldo also raises questions about how the education system should deal with the integration of students from different cultural backgrounds and the meaning of a strong and just democracy in a global world. From this boy’s touching experience we come to realise that the way we deal with difference might very well be the key to a balanced and healthy society.
In conclusion, Geraldo is a brilliant Philosophy for Children book, reflecting on the experience of moving to a different country and acquiring a new language, and promoting philosophical inquiry on this theme. Along with its Teacher’s Manual Discovering our Voice, Geraldo can be used as a valuable resource for working with third culture kids and their families, as well as their teachers.
As I mentioned in the book review above, the story Geraldo was thought up to be used in Philosophy for Children sessions with the help of the Teacher’s Manual Discovering Our Voice. At the moment I am preparing an Intercultural Workshop for Expat Kids using these materials. Following the Philosophy for Children model, the sessions will be held in a Community of Inquiry style, where everyone works together in order to discuss relevant topics, acquiring valuable thinking and life skills.
Here is an example of the contents of a session, based on the Teacher’s Manual:
Leading idea: Newness and strangeness
“Geraldo begins his story by telling us that he lives in ‘a new country – a strange country’. Children, as well as adults, often respond with fear or rejection to things which are new or strange”.
- Distinguish newness from strangeness and attempt a definition of each concept;
- Debate whether new and / or strange situations are something we should be afraid of.
More information about Philosophy for Children and my workshops will soon be published on my blog.
Latest posts by Catarina Queiroz (see all)
- Geraldo, by Ann Margaret Sharp: Book Review and Workshop - January 9, 2015
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