Mr. Gray Travels to Greece for IB Philosophy Training

Mr. Gray Travels to Greece for IB Philosophy Training

Maureen Schick, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

IB Philosophy teacher, Mr. Christopher Gray, travelled to Athens, Greece last week in order to be recertified in the IB Philosophy Level 2 Training. Although he was originally trained in New Mexico, no Level 2 training was available in North America.

While there, Gray met with 28 other IB Philosophy teachers.

“We mostly worked on learning about the new curriculum for IB Philosophy,” he said. “We met in a conference center for eight hours a day for two and a half days.”

During this training,  teachers from all over the world were being trained in new assessments, rubrics and other material.

When he was not at the conference center being certified in the new material, Gray took advantage of his surroundings.

“I was able to explore different historical sights, I collaborated with a lot of other philosophy teachers, and we were able to share experiences and lesson ideas,” he said. It helped that the entire conference was in English, and everyone in Greece under the age of thirty was fluent in English as well.

As far as his favorite adventure during the trip, Gray explained that “certainly just being in the birthplace of Western philosophy was pretty important, such as walking in the footsteps of Socrates in the agora or being able to see the Acropolis.  As far as a destination to visit, those were highlights.”

However, Gray was just as happy with the training provided there.

“I would equally say that the philosophy portion of the trip was the best part because, as it is not often taught in North America, I have had very little opportunity to face-to-face collaborate with other teachers,” Gray said.  “So while I was ecstatic to be in Greece, I can’t help but underline the importance of the training; it was to collaborate with other IB philosophy teachers, which is something that I have never been able to do simply because it is not commonly taught in North America.”

Gray has been able to utilize both his adventures throughout Greece and his IB training back in the classroom as well. He has been able to show photographs and reference his own experiences, and with Greece being the birthplace of philosophy, he has been able to make a lot of useful connections to teaching both history and philosophy.

Gray hopes to travel again in the future as well.

“We’re an IB World school, so an appreciation for nationalism and other cultures is essential to our mission,” he said. Gray believes travelling helps build a deeper empathy for different cultures, as well as gives someone a greater sense of community and world citizenship.

However, he also believes a person does not have to travel halfway across the world to achieve this.

“You can get this in your own learning environment and community,” Gray said. “Although we can’t literally travel in the classroom, there is diversity in Green Bay and even at Notre Dame Academy through our international students.”

“This challenges me when I come home to find that diversity and culture in my own backyard,” Gray said.