GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP IN CURRICULAM
By Neela Krishnamurthy
Our world is becoming increasingly complex and intricate—humans have never been more connected or interdependent. These changes have brought life to the concept of Global Citizenship, or the idea that we are one global community, and therefore our choices and actions may affect people and communities locally, nationally or even internationally.
Global citizenship nurtures respect and tolerance for others.
Today’s students are growing up in an increasingly “small world interconnected by technology. As students enter into this global space as citizens, learners, and workers, they too will have the opportunity to communicate with, influence, and be influenced by people who are vastly different — culturally and geographically.
In order to thrive in a globally connected environment, students will need to develop certain skills —like cultural awareness, active listening, and empathy. From the classroom, exposing students to globally diverse voices and places can be difficult. Many adults travel to know about new cultures. While some students may go on to study abroad or independently travel after high school, many others may not have the opportunity to do so — which means much of their exposure to global perspectives and space to exercise global communicative skills and empathy may come from the classroom by the time they enter college or career.
Here are just a few resources that our teachers can seeks out in order to integrate global stories into the classroom and to give our students the opportunity to interact with new perspectives in a safe space.
Literature is perhaps the most obvious choice to widen students’ horizons. We ensure that our classroom library is stocked with novels, picture books, and nonfiction that represent a vast array of perspectives from across the world. lt lays a strong foundation for global awareness among our students. We Seek out stories that foster empathy for characters, spark interest in a new culture, or share histories of places with which students may not otherwise be familiar.
Student to Student Connections
For a more social approach to fostering global connections, we educators actually seek out classrooms in another part of the country or the world and work to foster a relationship between students in each classroom. A more traditional way of pairing students with a far-away peer may be through a simple pen pal relationship. Projects like these require a close relationship between educators or principals from schools across the globe in order to align goals, select technology, and maintain momentum.
Join Global Activities or Groups
While ongoing programs like pen pals or video chats can help our students establish lasting, individual connections with peers across the world, larger organized events or programs can serve as an exciting supplement to our curriculum throughout the year. Simply participating in globally-extended celebrations can open windows for our students to connect with peers in new places. Here are just a few examples of global events
● The Great Kindness Challenge. Hosted by global non-profit organization Kids for Peace, The Great Kindness Challenge is a week-long event where students commit acts of kindness in their schools and larger communities. In 2019, over 13 million students participated from over 24,000 schools across 110 countries. Together, they committed over 650 million acts of kindness. Many schools who participated in the challenge shared their stories on social media, so we could connect our students’ experiences during the week with those from classrooms around the world. For more on The Great Kindness Challenge, see:
● The Global Math Project. This programme Global Math Week invites students to find joy mathematics. As Educators we signed up for the program to engage our students in maths and to connect with other classrooms around the world. The program encouraged sharing of the experiences throughout the week on social media. For more on Global Math Week, see:
Global News & Current Events
In addition to literature, events, and individual connections, students can benefit from exposure to international news and current events occurring across the world. Many social studies and ELA classrooms already engage in this kind of work by keeping up with global news, providing students with context for current events, and holding discussions about the implications of those events. Open discussion or writing activities about international news can help students exercise key critical thinking skills through a lens of empathy, global awareness, and openness to new perspectives.