Global education has become a key component in school curriculums worldwide. As an educator both in the U.S. and abroad, I have collaborated in developing global education programs in several schools. Many times this is included in the larger school vision and permeates throughout the school culture. Other times, it is a challenge.
With demanding standards needing to be met, asking teachers to take on another component in their daily lessons can be overwhelming. But, global citizenship does not have to be a separate or additional part of the curriculum. It can be integrated into daily activities in a way that corresponds with what students are currently learning and demands little extra work from the part of the teacher.
Here are some simple ways to enhance a global environment in your leaning classroom:
1. Literature: With the incredible selection of children picture books and novels, this is a simple way to add global awareness in your bookshelves. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center has a list of 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know. Check it out.
2. E-pals: Using current technology like Skype, FaceTime or Hangout, students can have a personal global connection to other children their age around the world. Engage with a school in another country that perhaps is covered in your curriculum. Assign specific topics once students get comfortable with each other and watch international collaboration take place in your very own classroom.
3. Multicultural calendar: Support diversity in your classroom and educate students on global events in history, religion, and the environment by including a multicultural calendar. Buy one or make it a collaborative class assignment.
4. Current events: Nurture a sense of global citizenship by sharing awareness of events happening around the world. Students can either bring in news stories or set a time in the morning to read global publications and then discuss. Among other online sources are, Pitara Kids Network, and Our Little Earth, Global News for World Citizens.
5. Service learning: Being of service is one of the most fulfilling and authentic ways of participating with others. By integrating service learning projects with your established curriculum, students obtain meaningful experiences that reflect their learning. Go here and here for some ideas.
6. Classroom decor: Create an environment that promotes respect and curiosity of other cultures. Posters and resources that reflect diversity and citizenship help maintain positivity in a learning space.
The world is interconnected more than ever. As educators, it is our responsibility that students engage in it with knowledge, tolerance, and compassion. Having a focus on global awareness is a key component to preparing children for a promising future.
*Written by Christine Martin