“Take Me to the River”

Mapping Global Flows from Crayons to Connections


  • Jean Kirshner Colorado State University
  • George Kamberelis


participatory action research, global education, dialogism, narrative inquiry, transcultural research, human relationships, identity, humanizing research methods


In this article we report on a participatory action research project that involved educators from Belize and the United states. Among other things, we argue that sustainable change within transnational, transcultural professional development activities and research projects is most effective when it involves continuous dialogue, sharing life stories and sharing lifeworlds. We begin by describing the origins of the Belize Education Project (BEP) and its focus on providing material resources and “best practise” teaching strategies to teachers in Belize. Next, we describe a watershed moment in which the director of the BEP realized that something more—something more human and more humanizing—was needed for the project to flourish. We then provide brief reviews of theory and research on the transformative potentials of dialogue, sharing life stories, and sharing lifeworlds followed by accounts of how intentionally engaging in these practises led to key transformations in the effectiveness of the professional development activities and the research of the BEP.  Finally, we discuss the relevance of these transformations for transnational, transcultural professional development work and global educational stewardship.