Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 2, No 2 (2012)

Learning to Accompany Through a Self-Study of Critical Global-Citizenship Engagement

Sherry Ann Chapman


Immersed in making sense of a global-citizenship experience while studying community-university engaged research, I happened upon the field of global-citizenship education. In 2010-2011, I lived in East Jerusalem for three months, accompanying Palestinians and Israelis who sought and continue to seek a just and peaceful end to the Israeli government's occupation of Palestine. As a researcher/educator with a long-time interest in the concept of meaning-making, I struggle to make sense of my experiences, both cognitively and emotionally. Through a phenomenological self-study, I uncovered knowledge about myself as a learner in a global-citizenship experience. I identified five voices within my ecumenical-accompanier (EA) identity and now I am integrating them into my facilitation of lifelong learning. These voices are lyrical, ironic, relational, activist, and reflective. The voices run through four assertions about my learning: first-hand experience is essential; I use various meaning-making tools; accompanying learners is inherently relational; and I continue to ‘unpack' meaning in the post-return home. My voices and assertions now inform my facilitation of learning about community-university engaged research. With this newly explicit knowledge, I feel better able to accompany learners. I realize the potential for describing more explicitly in workshops, courses, and experiential learning that I have had a transformative experience. I see the potential to model my own critical global-citizenship engagement as a way to create compassionate spaces for lifelong learners as they get involved in the global and local issues of the 21st century.


self-study; critical engagement; dialogue education

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