For me this is a bit of a bittersweet post. For the past five weeks, I have been taking a Global Education course which is now coming to an end. On the other hand, I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore issues surrounding global education in greater depth and as I have written, the excitement at the idea of bringing these ideas and resources into a classroom has grown greatly.
Looking back on the past five weeks, I want to share how I would use some of the resources and ideas in the classroom to increase my students’ awareness of the larger world around them. I wish to do this for a couple of reasons. I have over the past 6 months met a lot of really smart and competent students. They grasp math, create art, discuss interesting ideas, but almost all of them, for all their talents, have little sense of the global village (an old term, I know, but it still resonates with me) in which they live. To put global issues at the forefront is vital in helping them become responsible global citizens. One of the first posts I wrote for this series was in regards to global citizenship and the education divide. Currently there are 262 million children not in school and even those who are attending school suffer from lack of adequate resources for an effective education.
Working with grade 6 students and above I would introduce this concept in the Social Studies curriculum or in the grade 9 Geography curriculum. Through various projects, I wold have students look at four distinct factors: 1. Preparation gap, 2. Belief gap, 3. Teaching gap, and 4. Gender gap. The purpose of these lesson would for students to draw connections between the wider global implications of lack of educational opportunities and their own experiences by developing empathy.
I think the most exciting thing I did in the course was to examine in detail one of the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals. Focusing on Sustainability in Cities and Communities, I designed a lesson plan that aims to engage students in issues of environmental sustainability within an urban setting. As the world population continues to grow and with increasing numbers of people moving into the cities, sustainability must remain one of the central concerns of cities. Initially, I designed the project to meet the requirements of the assignment, but as I looked more into it, I realized that this was something I would want my students to do. Not only would they research the topic of urban forests, they would present their findings and proposals to a city council. In Kitchener, there is already a sustainability document drawing on the main ideas of the UN SDGs. With this assignment, students will not only become more aware of the environmental impacts of the city they live, but they will be more engaged citizens by meeting with local elected officials to present their ideas. One of the purposes of education to get students out of the classroom and into their communities where their learning can became engaged global citizens.
As I close this short series, I want to acknowledge one more benefit of this course. It has inspired me to restart writing to catalogue the educational journey I have started and hope that you, gentle reader, will find the journey as just interesting as I do.