By Josue Cervantes Solano - English Teaching and Translation Major student
John Dewey once said that “if we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” Due to globalization, the world is going through profound changes in socialization, economic production, and labor market, which calls for novel curriculum approaches. Hence, the beliefs and principles that guide our teaching should be directed to meet current demands. As a teacher, my philosophy statement involves exposing students to real-life and communicative scenarios that help them nurture a global perspective. Accordingly, Guo (2013) claims that “The increased interconnectedness of the world and advances in technology have exposed children to issues and realities affecting people worldwide, exposed them to diverse ideas and cultures, and challenged them to make meaning of the world beyond their own local contexts” (p. 8).
Consequently, a pedagogy of transformation that comprises prevailing social and cultural values is required to lead students to become informed change agents that can modify their reality and that of others as well. In that regard, this article attempts to demonstrate the key role that global citizenship plays in equipping learners with the necessary cultural and social skills to prosper in today’s world.
Global citizenship implies changes in cultural values and norms such as human rights and diversity, which stress the need for an education that nurtures global awareness. As stated by UNESCO (n.d.), an education that promotes global citizenship “works by empowering learners of all ages to understand that these are global, not local issues and to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies” (para. 2). This notion entails that learners practice cultural empathy
as they come across a vast array of products, practices, perspectives, communities, and persons.
In the light of globalization, citizens are forced to live and coexist as members of an interdependent world. As a teacher, I strongly value global citizenship as a tool to help learners develop cross-cultural awareness and understanding of events shaping the world. In the same token, Choo (2017) claims that “global education’s emphasis on globalism aims to expand students’ knowledge and perspectives about global concerns that then becomes a stepping stone to the second emphasis that calls for more committed engagement to the human fraternity through the development of global citizenship capacities” (p. 12). Hence, global citizenship is key in helping students understand their rights and responsibilities at the global level.
Some may argue that our school system is not properly equipped to tackle global citizenship due to its complexity and multidimensional nature. In this vein, Lapayese (2003) notes that “teachers have been taught to avoid political issues that differ from the conventionally accepted beliefs embedded in traditional curricula. The structure of schools encourages the fragmentation, mystification, simplification, and omission of knowledge for efficiency and control” (p. 500).” However, it is also factual that there is a growing interest in shaping the curriculum so that it creates a sense of accountability and wellbeing not only of the self but also contributing to the welfare of others.
Another counterpoint to global citizenship, according to Lapayese (2003), is that “it also carries political risks and consequences for students. Students would begin the process of acquiring knowledge and critical awareness to understand and question oppressive patterns of social, politic, and economic organization” (p. 500). Even though he is right to a certain extent, if properly addressed, global citizenship aids students in exploring different views of the world and accepting them as valuable input.
The world has changed enormously during the last decades, especially because of globalization. This reality has unleashed cultural and social changes that force us to re-direct education. Consequently, we as teachers are accountable for guiding students to view and experience the world more proficiently. As part of my teaching philosophy, I value the implementation of real-life and communicative tasks that help learners expand their knowledge and perspectives about global concerns. In this vein, global citizenship turns into a vital tool to lead students to develop intercultural competence, global and self-awareness.
MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas. Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.
Choo, S. (2017). Global Education and Its Tensions: Case Studies of Two Schools in Singapore and the United States. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 37(6),1-15. doi:10.1080/02188791.2017.1386088
Guo, L. (2013). Translating Global Citizenship Education into Pedagogic Actions in Classroom Settings. Education Review, 3, 8-9. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301200877_Translating_Global_Citizen
Lapayese, Y. (2003). Toward a Critical Global Citizenship Education. Comparative Education Review, 47(4), 493-501. doi:10.1086/379495
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). Global Citizenship Education. https://en.unesco.org/themes/gced