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Tomorrow's Diplomats Today

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A joint U.S.-Soviet curricular effort is aiming to make junior diplomats out of high-school students.

The "U.S.-Soviet Global Thinking Project," a curriculum model now in its pilot phase, is the culmination of a nine-year collaboration between Georgia State University professors and members of the Soviet Academy of Pedagogical Sciences. The goal of the program is to improve communication and cultural understanding between students of both nations.

Beginning this spring, 360 students at six junior and senior high schools in Georgia, California, and Pittsburgh, and five schools in Moscow and Leningrad will work together to solve theoretical ecological and environmental problems by exchanging comments through a computer hookup. Although discussions may begin with subjects such as acid rain and global warming, organizers expect student debate to explore political issues as well.

Jack Hassard, professor of curriculum and instruction at Georgia State University, and co-founder of the project, describes the international partnership as a "bottom-up" development. "[The program] will tell us about the ability of teachers to forge their own communications," says Mr. Hassard.

The Global Thinking project will be implemented in the 11 U.S. and Soviet schools in pilot form this year. Results from the three-year experimental program eventually will be published, Mr. Hassard says, allowing more teachers to consider implementing a curriculum that lets students think globally.--skg

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