Global Citizenship is described as the rights and responsibilities which come with being a member of a global community and whose actions support the community’s purpose and values.
These rights, responsibilities and values are consistent with the concept of humanity.
In this area, it is vital for the institutions to understand why teaching global citizenship in the classroom is a critical component of 21st Century education. The TEDx Talk mentioned below highlights such in great detail.
First Thing First: Preparing Teachers for Global Citizenship Education
We all know the power of education has no boundary. Through education, one gains knowledge and skills to enhance our lives and environment. Education has the power to mould an individual’s thinking process and assist them to act towards building a more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive society.
Going by what, the Incheon Declaration on Education 2030 lay upon, institutions are responsible to not only provide foundational literacy, numeracy and technological skills to students but develop the skills, values and attitudes which enable citizens to lead healthy and fulfilled lives. Education should not be reduced to the production of skilled workers. It must empower students to make informed decisions and respond to local as well global challenges through meaningful education.
Thus, it clearly explains why we say, the first thing institutions need to do is prepare teachers for global citizenship education. The United Nations had launched the Global Education First Initiative in 2012. Research studies under this program identified the lack of teacher’s capacity as a major barrier to Global Citizenship Education. Thus, the global organization is working towards empowering the teachers with knowledge on this subject. This will lead educators nurture the same skills and relevant knowledge about global citizenship to their students.
3 Action Steps for Educators to Teach Global Citizenship
There is no prescribed way to help the students achieve global citizenship. However, what educators can do in this case is plan discussion sessions and activities which help students acquire knowledge and think upon the global issues with greater insight.
1. Leveraging Technology to Connect Students with the Rest of the World
Due to technology advancement, teachers have good number of options to use digital tools and projects that can connect students to the world in ways that promote a mind-set of taking action and applied learning. Many of these can even be learned together with students. Through technology, students can even understand what’s going on in the world as well as collaborate with other students and organizations abroad to become digitally connected.
Some of the schools and projects that aim at offering students with global exposure are- Adobe Youth Voices, Global Nomads Group, GlobalSchoolNet.org, Reach the World, Skype in the Classroom and others. Schools may connect with these schools and projects to connect the class.
Further there are platforms such like Creatubbles which help students upload as well as share projects, invite others to join in and connect with collaborators from all around the world. This platform gives students the option to discover and be inspired by activities and creations which students abroad are sharing.
2. Using Human Rights Issues as a Platform for Discussion
One of the core tenets of global citizenship education is to encourage and help students make professional commitments to human rights literacy (knowledge), empathy (concern) and responsibility (action).
Students of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds or geographical locations can find human rights relatable on some scale. It is a great starting point to spark discussion and awareness. Educator and UNESCO Delegate for Education, Mareike Hachemer is on a mission to connect education and the global goals. One of the core principles which she enthusiastically backs is education that fosters intercultural competencies and active citizenship.
With discussion as a means, students’ curiosity towards social developmental issues can be ignited. Eventually, teachers can also start working upon utilizing the global goals as a basis for students to start becoming global citizens and also involve them into working upon projects which relate to human rights topics.
3. Making Use of Learn-Think-Act Process to Encourage Global Citizenship
The maxim of Oxfam’s learn-think-act works great for the teachers to introduce global citizenship to their students:
By ‘Learn’ pathway, students will be able to explore the issue, process information and consider it from various perspectives. While exploring, they will also try to understand the underlying causes and consequences of the issue.
Adopting the ‘Think’ pathway, students will exercise their critical thinking ability to bring forth ideas through which the issue can be resolved, relate such to values, think it from global perspective and figure out the nature of power and action.
The ‘Act’ pathway is most crucial component. It allows students to make use of their productive thinking to resolve issues of global concern. Further, through act pathway, students learn to take ownership of their steps and simultaneously also get an opportunity to work on the collective footsteps of the team to resolve any issue.
If this exercise of Learn-Think-Act is routinely practiced, it will soon become a second nature of students- finally resulting to a class of amazing, young global citizens.
Thus, institutions have to understand that the initial motivation concerning global citizenship has to come from internal commitment and not from external pressure. As responsible professionals and well-wishers of the society, educators indeed have a significant responsibility to make students understand the complexity and the interrelated place in the world to help them become global citizens. These citizens are going to be the change makers of the society so building their skill sets in that direction is not only necessary but a mandatory aspect of meaningful education.