This week I embarked on a journey into global education, as part of a 5 week Taking It Global (TIGed) e-course with a group of my PI Team peers. TIGed aims to help youth develop their potential as creative, technology-enabled and globally-aware citizens through increasing their awareness and involvement in global issues and strengthening their leadership skills.
This week we were asked to reflect on the question: “Why are you drawn to bringing global issues and perspective into your classroom?” This was my thinking:
We live in a globally connected world and we need to involve students in discussion and activities that help them to understand what it means to be a global citizen and global learner. As an educator, I feel it is important to provide opportunities for students to become connected learners that have the ability to think critically, ask questions, communicate their ideas and learning, find and solve problems and collaborate with others.
In my classroom, inquiry into global issues was an effective way to engage my students as they quickly became emotionally invested in the issues. Sometimes their reaction to an issue was positive and other times they were shocked, frustrated or outraged. Their emotional response connected to their hearts and helped me to engage their minds.
As I continue to learn more from Michelle about measuring engagement I can see the clear connections. Substantive engagement requires three things to be happening at the same time: a high cognitive challenge, an emotional response and buy in from students. When we collaborated with Jaclyn’s Grade 9 class on a TIGed DeforestACTION project my students had a clear emotional reaction that created many opportunities to challenge their thinking and perspectives (and mine too!). Through the various discussions and debates students began to see issues from multiple perspectives and entertain conflicting viewpoints. All leading to students taking action and further inquiry. Global issues don’t always results in an emotional reaction from every student but when it does the learning is deeper and it sticks. It has been almost two years since the DeforestACTION project and when I see my students at the high school they always bring it up.
Before getting started with a global issue in the classroom I am careful to consider the age appropriateness for my students. Places I find global issues to explore: Taking it Global has a rich variety of resources. Websites that focus on current events for students such as: Teaching Kids News, DOGO news, Smithsonian’s Tween Tribune, youngzine, NewsELA, and ThinkCERCA or provocations found at Wonderopolis have started many discussions in my classroom. (Many of these websites offer flexible reading levels and students can use a Google Apps for Education extension like SpeakIt or Chrome Speak to select the text they want to read and listen to it.)