Teachers collaborating internationally expand and improve the learning experiences of students all over the world. It also provides students of richer countries with a greater understanding of the challenges that their counterparts in poorer countries face.
Moreover, teachers working with schools across the globe become a gateway to building the necessary soft-skills that help to shape and develop students into more employable people for the future, as well as building better relationships between differing cultures.
How Global Learning Develops International-Mindedness
Living in a more connected world means that there is much more learning to do in order for students to be fully equipped to operate within the global working world. Increasing international-mindedness is the challenge that teachers face today; but what exactly is international-mindedness? As a relatively new concept, it can cover anything from environmental issues, to world peace, and lots of topics in between. However, it’s becoming a crucial aspect of learning, as a means of renegotiating the barriers of the past.
Where Does International-Mindedness Begin?
Developing a wider understanding of the world begins with children at school entry age, i.e. 5 or 6 year old school children will inevitably realize that some children in their class are different to themselves. Teachers face the task of developing these young students to understand that some children come from different countries to themselves, and as such they can learn from each other for mutual benefit.
Wider understanding and meaningful learning experiences must continue through junior and high school years, and be expanded as students progress. To do this effectively, teachers must be equipped with the necessary skills to make international-mindedness become a frame of mind. Rather than a quick lesson inserted in the middle of the week; hence, the citizenship classes of recent years are no longer enough on their own.
Global Learning: Putting International-Mindedness in Context for Teenagers
Young students need to know how global events affect their lives, and how particular events affect the rest of the world, such as, environmental disasters. This type of learning reduces student anxiety about how they will face the global challenges that life will throw at them. It helps them to understand how to put certain world events into context, as well as how those events affect the citizens of their own country.
Teaching teenagers about how world events impact their own local lives is more difficult if they’ve received no teaching on international-mindedness in their formative years. Active encouragement of open discussion, and on-going debate, can provide a good focus to stir their interest; and calling on resources that support the teaching of international-mindedness can really help.
Setting up teacher and student networks to share information and learning experiences will also allow teenage students to feel that they are actively taking part in developing the thinking that is international-mindedness, and feed their interest further.
Building International Partnerships for the Future
Becoming more aware of international-mindedness is something that is dependent on a good and rounded education. Teachers are learning more about what needs to be done to promote this way of thinking to the students they teach. Tomorrow’s challenges will require a generation of creative thinkers to tackle the next phase of global events not only from their own, but from several differing perspectives.
The exact future of upcoming generations cannot be known, but teaching in line with what know for certain, and for today, can make all the difference.