“When we are willing to be disturbed by newness rather than clinging to our certainty, when we are willing to truly listen to someone who sees the world differently, then wonderful things happen. ”
– Margaret Wheathley (2000)
Globalization is an ongoing process that just came out of the blue. Many of us were not prepared for it but learned what it means and how to do our best to stay on top of things and be respectful global citizens.
But, as we have some experience now, we can share it with the youngsters and make them ready for this globalized society.
They must know more about what it means.
So much has been said about loving your nation that many took it so literally and looked at other countries differently. The national cultures converge, and civilization becomes more international. And it is not only about nations and citizenships here. It is about people, mainly how you engage with your peers, colleagues, teachers, and friends in the other part of the world.
Why should students be engaged in a global community?
You might wonder why we should do something about this and not just let things go with the flow?
We may let things go with the flow, but wouldn’t it be better that as long as there is an education system, to pave students’ way in the right direction without letting them struggle in this globalized world after they finish their studies?
Problems like energy, environment, food, water, public health, peace, and security require global solutions to eradicate them. As students recognize these problems exist, they need help to develop their skills to make a change in the world and to have a deeper understanding of the problems.
Students cannot develop global awareness skills and their careers in the future if they do not have access to global issues in their lives and global problems.
While International business is a curriculum that existed since long ago already, exposing students to a broader curriculum will help them understand, engage and stay engaged within this global community.
Global competence is more than just skills – it is knowledge, and it takes time and good learning content to make this possible.
Schools are essential to forming the students for globalized citizenship as they are the ones that can develop in the right direction the student interests in the world and the student’s capacity to understand how people all over the world depend on each other. There are many options to choose from in the global awareness curriculum.
Students attitudes to internationalism in a world of cultural convergence
Students are the future of the world, and the world is theirs to grow and respect. Their attitude to global awareness and internationalism should be very well shaped. Schools can help with this, especially at an age where they can understand the implications.
Studies revealed that the level of global awareness of students is not as high as it should be and they have mixed feelings when talking about being ONE world. Most of these feelings come from the little knowledge they have or have access to when it comes to a globalized world.
Fostering an open mind is the key to understanding a globalized world. For this, students can interact with students from other countries and learn their way of doing things. Sharing ideas and receiving new ones will help them understand globalization, have a different attitude towards it and engage with our global community.
Appreciation for other cultures and people and a solid personal character are things teachers can help students develop as these are essential for being able to tackle global problems.
It is no easy or short way to teach students about global awareness or engage them in a worldwide community. Thus teachers play an essential role in this. They must have an extraordinary commitment, effort, and determination to grow people involved in a global society. Those will be the people that respect the world as their own and realize their actions have more than just the direct impact they know.
Some ways to teach students about global awareness and engagement in the community are:
– A student project for international companies that enter a national market.
Within the borders of each country diverse groups live. Multinational companies are present worldwide with a global workforce, and even colleges have become multinational. Students can enter such a company and make an internship, study their culture, and learn aspects inside that company. Moreover, they can help companies integrate inside the national market.
An inside country or abroad volunteer program can help students understand civility and global citizenship. Any community involvement program will shape their feelings on global citizenship.
– A short-term study-abroad course.
This can include a social responsibility project within a local youth organization. (Naoumova, I. Rogers, A., 2015, Creative Ways of Engaging in the Global Community: Experiential Learning Approach, Palgrave, Macmillan, London)
It can also include a collaborative action with other schools. It will help students address global issues.
– Internationalizing the curriculum.
Many universities see this as a good strategy or a starting point strategy, to prepare their graduates for this global economy. Thus, they choose some main disciplines they believe are core for this global growth. It is up to each university to choose the discipline areas they like to focus on.
It takes a lot to internationalize a discipline that was once focused on a minor part of information. Along with internationalization comes more work and a bigger capacity for understanding.
It is the core thing that will help students develop a global mindset and live and work internationally. In addition, it will teach them to accept change, to accept that opinions differ, cultures differ; but in the end, that we are all one, and we fight and work towards the same goal – a peaceful and equilibrated world.
– Sustainability activities
This is one great way to engage students in the global community. Sustainability is an ongoing problem in today’s world, and it covers many aspects. The core desire for this is to encourage students to become responsible local and global citizens.
Students get involved in community practices that are connected to global issues. Depending on the school, there are many sustainable practices students can be involved in. Some of them are improving the quality of the environment, recycling systems in the world, sustainable consumerism, and many more.
“We know our world is very, very complex, […] On a human level, we’re engaging students to critically examine their place in the world as well as to create their futures by helping transform it.” (Oleniacz, L., 2021, How to Engage Students in Addressing Global Problems,)
Using authentic problems to promote global engagement provides a big motivation for the students. This is how they feel they do something important for the world.
Spark School promotes global awareness as one of its main strands. The IDEAS helps students understand what it means to be involved in today’s world and how they can make a difference.
Taking the list with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 and choosing one to discuss and find a way to achieve it is another sustainable way to engage students in today’s world.
We must think as global citizens and believe what we teach as parents or as teachers. This is the only way students can think as global citizens and be engaged in global problems.
Globally engaged students are the ones who, more than just engaging with the world’s problems around us and finding solutions, show empathy, tolerance, and respect for others.
Moreover, they can connect the local and the global issues, weigh perspectives, understand that people may have various views on the same issue, and sometimes there can be more than just one correct answer.
Global competent students and people are lifelong learners. The world is constantly changing. We are interconnected in all aspects of our lives. Students and people can grow and adapt to it and help it go through the difficulties it encounters. Engaging students in a global community will offer them the opportunity to thrive in the global economy.