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How to think (and act) global in the classroom
by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
Adapted from an original post on the TL Advisor blog
If you do not teach or attend an international school, nor live in a
metropolitan city, raising global awareness among your students
does not happen by osmosis. As a teacher, you have to work hard
to expose your students to multiple languages, cultures, geography,
different customs and traditions. Global Awareness, according
to The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, includes:
¦ Using 21st century skills to understand and address global
¦ Learning from and working collaboratively with individuals
representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a
spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue in personal, work
and community contexts
¦ Understanding other nations and cultures, including the
use of non-English languages
Raising global awareness and making global connections
for teachers and students has been one of my goals this year.
Although isolated, one-time connections are better than none.
I am witnessing a transformation in students and teachers who
are regularly participating in global connections. Let me give
you an example: Third graders have had opportunities to connect
live via Skype to Italy, Israel,
New Zealand, Finland, Canada
and various states within the USA
Alison Quinn, the teacher from Finland,
wrote a reflective blog post about our connection:
They asked and answered great questions that highlighted
both the differences (geographically and culturally) and similarities.
This was so key. The similarities now seem insignificant—
two kids on opposite sides of the ocean have art as their favorite
subject—both groups of kids like pizza, the same TV shows—
and the same Hannah Montana song. But these seemingly
insignificant shared pieces of pop culture astounded and united
the kids who were oceans away from each other.
I am in complete agreement with Alison. Although seemingly
insignificant, these kinds of interactions contribute to a connected
feeling, they contribute to a global awareness, that otherwise
would not exist.
Seeing students being aware of a bigger world than their own
backyard is a first step towards global education. Hearing students
use names of far away countries, talk about different languages,
cultures and traditions as if they were frequent travelers
and jet-setters is a step in the right direction. Making connections
with students from around the world is becoming “just the way
it is”... normal... part of their lives in the 21st Century.