Across the United States the new school year has commenced. To kick off SY 16-17 I want to share some thoughts & resources that impacted, or reinforced, my views on education this summer. Specifically, this post emphasizes the need for building student understanding of and ability to succeed in a globalized world. How teachers design learning experiences for students (the combination of resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes) is indicative of a teacher’s vision and understanding of the purpose of education.
As you explore the post and resources below, keep in mind 3 common aspects of the type of education I am highlighting:
- Content/Course work is always framed or connected to contemporary issues or present circumstances.
- The teacher is a facilitator of learning and supports student inquiry and development of skills and
- Students are expected to take action or produce information for public interaction and/or for the development of their own world view. In short, assessments go beyond just the teacher’s eyes.
Ok, my point of entry for this topic is a very simple yet powerful reflective prompt. In the last few months, this
question has repeatedly popped up in various media and manifested in conversations I had with people from a range of professional backgrounds. Drum roll…
That question is: Are you teaching for tomorrow?
Despite being simple, this question generates complex and stimulating responses. Moreover, it can very well be the cornerstone of your personal educational philosophy, a guiding principle for a team/department, or, starting point to develop an instructional/assessment model. In other words, if an adult walked into a classroom, would they feel like they time traveled to their high school experience of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s etc? This would imply t hat students are being taught for 20th century goals with 20th century methods and beliefs. If so, that is an an eyebrow raiser indeed.
The most compelling way to teach for tomorrow is to utilize practices that address global citizenship – a combination of knowledge, skills, and dispositions whose goal focuses on students’ futures – not to replicate the educational experiences their teacher had. (On a side note it is imperative to prepare teachers to be globally competent in pre-service programs and to continue that training with continuing development opportunities. However, this is for a future post but a teaser is provided below with the collaborative tool, Padlet).
Ok, watch this inspiring Ted Talk about Global Citizenship/Education which includes the practice being done in urban centers and with elementary students.
What a great video… multiple main themes are expressed with applications. Moreover, the sentiment about teaching for tomorrow is framed in practical contexts. Mary Hayden puts it this way:
Even for those school-age students today who will never in adulthood leave their native shores, the future is certain to be so heavily influenced by international developments and their lives within national boundaries so affected by factors emanating from outside those boundaries that they will be hugely disadvantaged by an education that has not raised their awareness of, sensitivity to and facility with issues arising from beyond a national “home” context.
By the way, if this statement doesn’t impact, reinforce, change, or inspire the way you teach or develop your own practice please let me know. We need to talk.
So, What Can Teaching For the Future Look Like?
I mentioned above 4 inroads for teachers to make a global turn for teaching and learning- resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes. The suggestions below address each of these inroads (they are not mutually exclusive). Utilizing any of them with your classes explicitly and intentionally teaches for tomorrow. Content knowledge, skills, and students’ world views are developed from a stance that is forward looking and applicable beyond classroom walls. Additionally, globalization (and all its systems, issues, possibilities etc.) – not nationalism, not a test, not industrialization -moves to the center of your students’ classroom experiences.
Here are some tools and suggestions to consider and follow up on. The bold orange headings are the topics/practices that embraces global education and citizenship. Below them are links to online tools and resources related to the headings in orange. These are only a start…
- The UN Sustainable Development Goals – These 17 goals really need to be on your radar. The new SDG are perfect for Project Based Learning, Inquiry, Performance Based Assessments, and Taking Informed Action. The SDG are a newer space so you will be creating and adding to the landscape of global education using the SDGs.
- Charity Volunteerism and Gaming – Edutainment is content designed to educate and to entertain. These are great for global citizenship and education.
- Organizations and Human Rights Issues – These are a starting point. Place the US in a global context or inform your wolrdview… or both!
- Explain and Challenge “Othering” Understanding the “other” as well as the processes of “othering” should be explicitly part of global citizen education.
- Consumerism/Globalization – To what extent do national economies exist in a globalized world? These tools highlight the web of global capitalism. Big time world view developer… reminds me of Hannah Arendt and the banality of (consumer) evil.
So, to finish this post, but not this topic, I want share one more video that addresses the importance of global citizenship and effectively discredits the claim that global citizenship is impossible because of its reliance on nationhood. To those individuals I refer them to the realities of stateless refugees and to the team of refugees who competed in the Rio Olympics.
Enjoy exploring the suggested readings and the Padlet comments below. Lastly, Teach for Tomorrow! Your students and the world will be grateful.
- ‘International education’ in US public schools (2011) – Walter Parker
- Rooted Cosmopolitanism. Canada and the World (2012) – Will Kymlicka and Kathryn Walker
- Empowering Global Citizens: A World Course (2016) – Fernando M. Reimers, et. al.
- Global Citizen Education: Everyday Transcendence (2016) – William Gaudelli
- Teaching and Learning for the Twenty-First Century: Educational Goals, Policies, and Curricula from Six Nations (2016) – Fernando M. Reimers, et. al.
- “We’re All Global Citizens, Not Just the Elite” (2016) in the Daily Beast – Hugh Evans
Padlet Used for Feedback on Global Education from a Teacher Workshop: