Content, Context, and Global Education: New World History Resources for High School Teachers

Contemporary educational paradigms, impacted by concepts of and outcomes from globalization, have inspired schools to establish their vision of the “global” typically housed in schools’ and districts’ mission statements.   Interpretations of global education vary in name, including, but not limited to qualifiers such as “citizenship”, “competency”, “awareness”, and “literacy.”  Of course, regardless of the wording,  how students are provided global  educational experiences  will be based on the commitment of the school community to the global turn.  At the low end is unsupported lip service to globalization in schooling.  On the flip side is a dedication to support integrated change within the system. This is no small feat consoderign that the structure is typically rigid and often restricted by expected outcomes which don’t complement the aspirations of global education.

Schools, however, are not destined to “go global” on their own. Multiple conferences and institutions promote ways of incorporating global perspectives in education. Explore the collection of instituions below  to get an idea of how global education can be brought to your school and what avenues would be the best method of implementation.

  •  World Savvy:  In a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before, the challenges and opportunities we face are becoming increasingly global in scope, and it is critical that our schools and educators teach for global competence, so all students can be prepared with the knowledge, skills and dispositions for success in the 21st century.
  • The Asia Society: The globalization of business, the advances in technology, and the acceleration of migration increasingly require the ability to work on a global scale. As a result of this new connectivity, our high school graduates will need to be far more knowledgeable about world regions and global issues, and able to communicate across cultures and languages
  • IIE: Peace and prosperity around the world depend on increasing the capacity of people to think and work on a global and intercultural basis. Take our quiz, see where you stand as a global citizen, and open your mind to the world.
  • Primary Source: Primary Source offers a rich variety of professional development programs for K-12 educators. With the aim of connecting teachers to people and cultures around the world, we provide learning opportunities in the content areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States.
  • P21: Learning from and working collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue in personal, work and community contexts.
  • IREX:  The Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) Program provides a year-long professional development opportunity for middle and high school teachers from the United States to participate in a program aimed at globalizing teaching and learning in their classrooms.

The Content/Curriculum Option

One belief the organizations listed above have in common concerns the use of content and curriclum standards to implement global education trends.  In History education, this often refers to the rethinking of the “nation” as the dominant unit of analysis or way to engage the past (a previous blog also addressed this idea).

For the example, in this the TED talk presented by Farleigh Dickinson professor Jason Scorza, the concept of the American Dream is internationalized, trans-nationalized, and even (wait for it) humanized. In essence, global perspectives on history content challenges that there is any such thing as a purely national event in the past.  Instead, the past is full of networks and systems that are not magicall limited by the borders of the nation-state.

Dr. Scorza’s flexible context, and varying thematic and perspective lenses problematizes the concept of the American Dream.  Also, did you note his two claims about how to define global education? Confronting the binary he establishes ultimately helps clarify an organization’s views and subsequent expectations for administrators, teachers, and students. However, it is his rendering of the past as a non-national place that ultimately provides a fruitful inroad to teaching the past from a global perspective.

Recently the College Board embraced this methodology  in their revision of the heralded AP US History course.  A new theme “US in the World” requires teachers to engage in historical renderings beyond the comfortable national narrative previously endorsed. Well done College Board. Here is what they say:

Learning Objectives by Theme:  America in the World (WOR) In this theme, students should focus on the global context in which the United States originated and developed as well as the influence of the United States on world affairs. Students should examine how various world actors (such as people, states, organizations, and companies) have competed for the territory and resources of the North American continent, influencing the development of both American and world societies and economies. Students should also investigate how American foreign policies and military actions have affected the rest of the world as well as social issues within the United States itself.

Ok, that looks good.  The teachers have been challenged. So where does that leave us?  The good news is there are robust content options and resources, especially in the field of World Hisotry that can be used to globalize the US History Survey.  The four I have listed below provide a raneg of resources, lesson, links etc that can be adapted and easily implemented to your US, Regional, and World History courses.  Take a look at what they offer and enjoy!
  • The Global Campaign For Education, US Chapter:   The Coalition promotes access to education as a basic human right and mobilizes the public to create political will in the U.S. and internationally to improve education for the world’s poorest children. GlobalCampaignEducation  They utilize this global competency matrix for their curriculum and resources, Lesson For All.  The Lesson for All curriculum for high school has a series of 9 lessons for History/Geography, Economics, and Government/Civics.    The resources provide relevant, problem based lessons which seek to develop students’ critical thinking and application of knowledge.  Together they establish a forum to synthesize pedagogical best practices, instructional design, global perspectives, and social studies content.  Overall,  the modules seek to empower students by having them contextualize their educational realities,  construct meaning about their learning experiences in the past and present, and envision a pathway for their future.
  •  Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean:  The Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University is pleased to announce the release of Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean: A World History Curriculum Project for Educators. The work provides oursharedpasteducators with a set of interdisciplinary lesson materials featuring the geography and history of the Mediterranean in the context of world history from ancient times to the present. The Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean curriculum is free under Creative Commons License and available online.  The resources are currently being piloted by teachers and received great feedback from World Historian Patrick Manning, Andrew Mellon Professor of World History at the University of Pittsburgh, found the project helpful to the world history teaching profession, writing:
     “The modules and the process of preparing them are exemplary in gathering a wide range of educational materials on the Mediterranean over a long period of time, in world-historical context…It is a really rich collection of materials, showing the degree to which historical scholarship has advanced on many aspects of Mediterranean history, and giving teachers and students a feast of possibilities in linking the many types of information into a comprehensive picture of the unfolding of life in this region.
  •  The Alliance for Learning in World History:   The Alliance is a collaboration of educators and history scholars organized to advance the teaching and learning of world history in classroomshands—in the U.S. and in every part of the world. The Alliance is anchored at the University of Pittsburgh, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).In curriculum, the Alliance seeks to replace outdated existing courses – treating  world history as a sequence of isolated civilizations – with curricula that address the global and interactive development of human society, relying on the latest historical research. In professional development, the Alliance encourages comprehensive programs for in-service teachers that bring them to a high level in working with historical thinking skills and in becoming familiar with world-historical content and debates. In educational research, the Alliance supports critical study of every
    aspect of the learning process: student learning, learning by teachers, and teacher preparation.

 

  • Global Issues: Connecting content to the present is an effective way to make studying the past relevant and encourgaes students to construct meaning about what they stglobal issuesudy. This website presents numerous global issues, aiming to show how they are inter-related. The topics are common global ones; the environment, nuclear profliferation, poverty, human rights…  In addition to the blogs unique articles, it provides a robust set of links and features news articles from arond the world.

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