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Global Education: How Children Are Becoming Global Citizens
What Is Global Education and How Are Teachers Helping Children Become Global Citizens?As a person and as a teacher, one of the personalities who has resonated with my beliefs has been Oprah Winfrey. The lady is made of steel and her words are pure gold. It is a lesser known fact that Oprah runs many educational institutions in Africa. In one of her interviews with her girls from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, when the girls asked her about her happiest moment, Oprah replies that it was seeing the girls transform from clueless little children to strong, empowered teenagers who are on the other side of the table interviewing one of the greatest talk show hosts of all time.
That! That moment is what we as teachers aim for and crave for, the moment when the torch has been passed on. Therefore, we teach!
In the last few decades, education has made a complete shift in pedagogy, but only for the best. Visionaries and educators have strived to break the shackles of conventional methods of learning and teaching and tried to enhance children’s understanding of the world they live in. Stakeholders have realized that education is no more limited within a classroom and that experiential learning is here to stay. If one could spend a couple of minutes introspecting, we might be able to see how.
Globalization made a distant dream, far more real and accessible for the common man. The economy and advancements in technology have a very important role to play in how it helped education become a far more enriching experience. However, it puts us in an egg-and-the-chicken situation, didn’t previously existing education make advancements for the next generation a possibility?
Furthermore, exchange of ideas and resources are extremely easy in today’s day and age and has helped education adopt a multicultural or a culture-neutral approach towards education. This very approach stands for Global Education.
In the Maha Upanishads, one would find the Sanskrit phrase of ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’, that means ‘the world is one family’. It is key to note here that this phrase encompasses everything that we envision to teach our learners.
We are seeking more oneness, than divide. Global education integrates diverse perspectives and cultures seamlessly and simply into the school curriculum so, as to raise global citizens who are well aware of international communities, global events, pandemic ideas and innovations. It is a utopian idea for some but a necessity in today’s time and age.
It is bringing the whole world within the four walls of a classroom; it is having pluralism; it is to have the right to be wrong and yet learn; it is about jumping borders and yet respecting them. It is about imbibing a sense of community and embracing societies, cultures and nature to be our teaching tools.
Global education explores humaneness and compassion and sparks a curiosity about the world at large.
Every millennial educator and flag bearer of global education knows they are not teachers and there is no reservoir of knowledge for students to consume from. But, they are well aware that since these young minds spend a considerable amount of time in school, the educators become instrumental in shaping their personalities and thought the process and guiding them towards a future.
There is only a facilitator, who helps the child reflect and wonder beyond himself and his immediate relations and surroundings. In a country like India, that has been divided into surnames, castes, states and even food preferences since time immemorial. Global educators emphasize on the need for equality, compassion and humanity, appreciation for cultural diversity.
In addition, global education is rooted in the universal values of tolerance, justice and non-violence. The goal is not just to be responsible towards one’s town, city or nation, but also to be responsible for lives that you haven’t known in various parts of the world. It is teaching independence and interdependence at the same time and striking the right balance. We want learners to be better equipped physically and psychologically to deal with trying times. We want learners to be able to help those in need, regardless of the country. Student-body led initiatives are on the rise, globally. Students engage in bringing about awareness about national and global issues and work towards a game plan to address the issue at hand. We endeavor to inculcate positive values, which encourage children to become responsible, global citizens promoting peace, equality and sustainability.
This is precisely why we encourage students to participate in the Model United Nations (MUN). It is a delightful time for a teacher, to see her student stand up with conviction and argue for the welfare of everyone. These MUNners, we hope, someday bring about a major shift in neglected parts of the world.
You may wonder, why are all affirmatives and all superlatives sprinkled all over this piece of writing? My answer, a child deserves nothing less.
Time and again, it is important to bear in mind, after all, what is the point of all of this?
What do we strive to achieve through education?
When we will have the vision clear, every effort one makes would start working towards that.
So, in order to make the world a much better place, we need global educators. Schools are therefore advocating professional development programs which will help build skills in global instruction and conceptual-thematic teaching methods. These facilitators are then able to merge global themes into their daily lessons through music, art projects, engaging debates, social responsibility or literary analysis. Alongside this making, effective and collaborative use of technology to disseminate key ideas and concepts facilitates easier and deeper understanding of the matter at hand. Also, knowledge shared this way has relevance to present and future times.
It is no secret that an educator plays multiple roles in a child’s life. We hold them with their little fingers and open up a world of knowledge and exploration. Through the lessons, we want them to imagine that they are in Wonderland in an English class, to empathize with the victims of the Holocaust in a History class, to seek oneness and similarity across species in a Biology class, to understand that Math is numbers and numbers hide secrets to the Universe, to explore that Geography is what you need if someday you lose your way and need to find your way back, that Chemistry is not just about chemicals but also about making the perfect ‘chai’ or even the perfect cake.
However, in this effort to cater to Global education, one must not forget that the child is the focus, eventually and keeping his/her identity and letting it flourish in conducive conditions is very important. We are not only striving to make superstars, scientists, sports enthusiasts but also a comedian, a blog writer, a translator or even a magician. And, we hope to make them the best at what they love.
Our faith in our children comes from knowing we raise compassionate individuals, who will be critical thinkers as well as thoughtful and considerate humans in a world with borders. And that faith is what made Oprah Winfrey, an ambassador of peace. We, teachers, are no different.
Author: Ms Dhanashree Perumal
Psychology teacher for A-levels
JBCN International School, Borivali
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Posted on: Monday,2018,Apr,Mon