Sunday, April 19, 2015

Global Education Reflection

What else is considered social studies?  This question may leave a person struggling for an answer.  Throughout this semester, I have learned that social studies is so much more than just dates and facts.  Experts suggest that social studies also covers topics such as character and moral/value education, citizenship and civics education, student service projects, global education and humanities, and anti-violence education.  Incorporating these additional aspects of social studies into the curriculum will enable students to become better citizens in society and allow students to gain an understanding of different cultures, diversity, empathy, tolerance, and so much more.  For this project, Brittany and I chose to focus on global education and humanities.
            What exactly is global education?  The Global Teacher Project (n.d.) identifies that global education studies the many different cultures and countries in our world, the many issues that they face, and helps to develop a deeper understanding in our students about the impact that our actions have on these cultures and countries.  Incorporating global education and humanities into the social studies curriculum is imperative to fostering the growth of kind, tolerant, and empathetic students.  In global education, students will learn about the different countries and cultures of our world.  They will learn about the issues that they face—such as lack of running water, lack of education, starvation, poverty, etc.—and begin to understand how they can have an impact on these societies and become global citizens.  Prior to embarking upon this project, I had an understanding about what global education meant and why it is so important.  Different societies and cultures around the world is something that I am interested in and like to learn about.  However, one thing that I did not realize is that acceptance and understanding of different cultures is something that students need to be introduced to and learn about.  Additionally, they need to learn how to become global citizens and see how their actions can impact the global society.  Teaching global education is important because global education “develops skills and attitudes which enable people to take responsibility for their own lives and the world we live in and become active global citizens” (The Global Teacher Project, n.d.).
            To complete this project, Brittany and I looked at a lot of different websites and articles online.  We discovered so much valuable information it was almost difficult to include it all.  In addition to information, we also found a wealth of resources providing example lessons, ideas for lessons, and ways to incorporate technology in the classroom to expand student understanding of global issues.  Skype in the Classroom (2015) has a lesson on it called "Global Citizenship: Classroom Cultural Exchange” in which a school is reaching out to other schools in the nation, and worldwide, to connect via Skype for a cultural exchange.  This is such a great idea to allow students to meet other students on the other side of the globe through the use of technology and could be used with any grade level.  Another great resource for lessons to be used across any grade level is TeachUNICEF (2015).  TeachUNICEF (2015) has an abundance of resources that gives educators tools to infuse global citizenship education into their existing curriculum in meaningful ways.  This resource can be extremely valuable for teachers who are unsure how to begin teaching global education and citizenship which is an important part of social studies education.
            Now that we had gained a better understanding of why it is so important to teach global education and humanities, we wanted to find a way for educators to be sure that their students have a solid understanding of the topic.  Throughout our research we stumbled upon the Global Education Checklist (Czarra, 2001).  This checklist is a tool educators can use with both elementary and secondary students to ensure that these students are being exposed to global issues, global cultures, and global connections (Czarra, 2001).  Furthermore, global education connects directly to the New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies, specifically Standard 3 – Geography, which states that “students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live—local, national, and global—including the distribution of people, places, and environments over the Earth’s surface” (New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework, 2014).  In addition to the New York State Learning Standards, global education connects to the NYSED Curriculum and Instruction Standard 3 for Geography (NYSED, 2009).  Not only does global education connect directly to the NYS Standards, it also adheres to the five principles of powerful teaching and learning in that it is meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active (National Council for the Social Studies, n.d.).  Global education teaches students about the different countries in our world, their cultures, and the challenges that they face.  Global education is meaningful and value-based and fosters the growth of empathetic, caring, global citizens as students gain an understanding of how their actions impact the world around them.  Therefore, teaching global education is necessary to the educational development of both elementary and secondary students and fostering individual growth as global citizens.    


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