I recently came across this quote/mantra from Ian Juke (futurist, educator, author): “We need to prepare students for their future, not our past. I like that. It would make a great theme for this year’s International Education Week designated from Nov 12-16. Started in 2000, IEW is celebrated in 100 nations (factsheet here). Let’s here Secretary’s Duncan’s overview:
Hmmmm. Title IX, a great laudable achievement indeed, seems to fall short of an international theme I was expecting. Even under the umbrella of “global health” the narrative finds its way back to the the celebration of the “national” on a global stage. The connection to the Olympics is well taken,but feels like an after thought to extend a “national” event (Title IX) into the broader world. I feel we can do better. But where can we go for inspiration?
The Global Education Conference, conveniently held during the same week, is a fantastic outlet (or alternative to the DOE’s for theme this year) for topics in international education. ” The third annual Global Education Conference, a free week-long online event bringing together educators and innovators from around the world, will be held Monday, November 12 through Friday, November 16, 2012 (Saturday, November 17th in some time zones). The entire conference will be held online using the Blackboard Collaborate platform (formerly known as Elluminate/Wimba) with the support of iEARN worldwide as the conference founding sponsor, who will be running their annual international conference in conjunction with this event.
The Global Education Conference is a collaborative, inclusive, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all
levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity. Last year’s conference featured 340 general sessions and 18 keynote addresses from all over the world with over 10,000 participant logins.” Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Please attend my session “Navigating a Flat World: Teaching Globalization in Secondary Education” on Tuesday, November 13th from 7-8 pm EDT. link is here
Below is a preview to the session. I look forward to your feedback, insights, and continued discussion on this topic. Enjoy & see you soon.
Globalization, the dominant system, force, and project impacting our political, economic, social, and cultural lives, isn’t widely or deeply studied in United States’ high schools. Typically, globalization is relegated to a topic “covered” at the end of the school year in a World History course or integrated into “current event” styled assignments. In rare cases, high schools courses offerings include an elective course on globalization or highlight as a school wide “habit of mind” in an effort to demonstrate dedication to global education. Effectively engaging students with globalization, therefore, is largely directed by classroom teachers. Enhancing teachers’ knowledge, instruction, assessment, and professional development around globalization should be an imperative in contemporary education. How is globalization conceptualized and taught by your department, school, and individuals in your district?
Globalization, furthermore, has challenged the education profession to reflect upon established contemporary educational theory and policy, as well as rethink educational outcomes and pedagogy. Systematically, this is typically directed under the auspices of 21st century teaching, leading, and learning and/or initiatives around college and career readiness. Specific to social studies and history education, globalization suggests the need for alternative narratives beyond the traditional national and civilizational contexts that have dominated the field for generations. In turn, a sincere engagement with globalization in high school curriculum yields opportunities for educators to rethink their craft and impact student understanding of their contemporary and future realities.
Below, are two experiences/lessons around a pair of ideas essential to an authentic understanding of the complexities of globalization. The outcomes of these lessons were instructive for both me and my students. However, the objective is to move globalization from the margins of education to the center of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and cultural identity of schools. I am confident that if you explore these topics individually or in a PLC, as part of formal professional development or as a practice of a professional educator, students will benefit from your experience and knowledge. Moving forward, it is essential for high school history and social studies educators (with the support and guidance from administrations) to modify instructional strategies and expand their content knowledge in order to explicitly explore globalization as an essential part of 21st century education.
Experience 1 – Defining Globalization:
Overview: One explanation of globalization defines it as the ongoing acceleration of economic, social and cultural exchanges across the planet (Suarez-Orozco & Sattin, 2007). The late Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillo framed globalization, in part, as contemporary utopian construct. Thomas Friedman’s “flatness” parlance is part of society’s collective consciousness. But these are but a few of the conceptualizations of globalization. Moreover, virtually every historical issue is a complex web with a multitude of contexts and overlapping networks. The narratives we produce and teach about globalization greatly impacts our students’ understanding.
In what ways is globalization a process or set of systems and structures that produces global flows and networks?
To what extent is globalization a designed project directed by individuals, groups, companies, institutions etc?
What is power and what types of power are there?
How do we complicate the “the West and the Rest” exceptionalist narrative?
What individuals, groups, and systems have agency in our global world?
What is the “global village” and how valid is that concept?
- I provided student groups with one vocabulary list t accompanied with varying explanations/definitions of globalization.
- Students summarized there explanation/definition to the class.
- When complete, the definitions were compared and contrasted.
- As a class we predicted who would find these definitions valid and accompanied photos of global events to help guide the discussion
- Note as an extra I would show scenes from the film Baraka as well.
- As a closure, I introduced the concepts of “Social Construct” and “Narrative”
Experience 2 – Globalized Grays:
Overview Professor John Willinsky, in his work Education at Empire’s End, explains the legacy of binary thought that produced “such two-dimensional spectrums as civilized and savage, West and East, white and black.” In turn, the process of othering becomes built in to history and social studies education. The globalized world we live in, however, is complex and nuanced and should be taught as such. Rethinking the past as a shared arena suggests that the realities of globalization complicates world views and identities, and challenges constructed realities and categories of thought. One simple way to address the binary legacy is to always consider a third alternative. This simple step challenges accepted (and limited) world views.
How can you move beyond dualities to expand student understanding?
Do you teach students about “othering” and the limitations of an us/them mentality?
Is culture taught as a dynamic process or a set package of essentialized ideas and values?
How are terms like “modern” and “civilized” used and explained to students?
How much collaboration do you do with educators outside of your school, state, and nation?
- Set up a list of RSS feeds from a range of media sources around the world accessible for your students (I used NetVibes).
- This will establish a “flipped classroom” aspect where students can access this site outside of school.
- Assign students a current event topic that is covered by a range of global news agencies and sources. OR, present a US article of an event in class as the “control” article, and have students explore as above.
- (As a side, I used a map resource as well, for students to track where they looked for media coverage. You can set guidelines about this too.)
- Assessment can vary obviously (reflective, summative, compare and contrast) but I required students to identify at least three takes on the event. More versions would receive higher points.
The Birth of the Modern World Bayly’s contribution to this lexicon provides an analytical framework rooted in the re-conception of modernity.
Interconnectedness and interdependence of political and social changes across the world…resulting in human action adjusted to each other and came to resemble each other across the world. These rapidly changing connections between different human societies during the nineteenth century created many hybrid polities, mixed ideologies, ands complex forms of global economic activity. Yet… these connections could also heighten the sense of difference… But those differences were increasingly expressed in similar ways.19