This guest post comes from a “repeater retreater” (TAR17 and WTAR18)  and HS Arts Teacher, Aileen Maconi who is passionate about global education.

Aileen is also presenting at the 2018 Arts Integration and STEAM Retreat!  ~EMP

The Need for Global Education in Our School

Our world is more interconnected today then it has ever been, and with global issues revolving around cultural and social understanding, which creates tolerance; economies, which promotes prosperity;  ecological sustainability which nurtures life on Earth; world health issues and security, which advances peace – our students need to become global thinkers and global problem solvers.

Only by working collaboratively with a diverse group of interdependent partners from around the planet can our students help lead the way in finding answers to these global issues thus securing for themselves and their children a bright future.

How do we provide our students with an education that prepares them with the means to invent the world that they wish to live in?

Leadership needs to understand that by promoting the 21st century global competency skills throughout the curriculum and in all the grades k through 12 we will endeavor to provide our students with the means to participate in the solutions needed to prosper and to live in a more healthy and peaceful world.

We can achieve much of this by looking for global connections in our existing curriculum:

  • The arts teach students about culture.
  • World history teaches us about how we evolved as individual and global societies.
  • Science can find solutions to climate change.
  • Health can promote answers to world hunger.
  • Math can steer students to building healthy economies.

By reaching beyond our classrooms through technology we can partner with classrooms around the globe doing collaborative work, we can invite immigrants and organizations into our schools to teach cultural understanding by demonstrating how culture effects the way we develop ideas, and we can travel to experience first hand other cultures, governments, economies and environments.

What are the educational objectives of global education for our students?  There are many, but let me name four:

  1. By aligning with school curricula global educational objectives we bring subjects, people, places and events to life which more fully engages our students in the learning process of the content area.
  2. It promotes understanding, cultural respect, language learning and global citizenship.
  3. It sharpens key 21st century skills, including communications and global competencies.
  4. It provides our students with the opportunities to navigate new experiences and adapt to change with confidence.

Global education is not just something that happens – leadership needs to make a decision that it is an important and vitally necessary part of the education of our students.  Leadership needs to commit to a plan that enhances teaching skills that will provide opportunities for our students to experience global education in their classrooms, and commit resources that allow our students to have real world experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

One simple way to achieve this is through the arts. When China and the US created an exchange program in our district through the arts, it opened up the first diplomatic dialogs in nearly three decades. Let’s follow that lead. The arts have the ability to be integrated throughout the curriculum in order to enhance and expand student learning. We can piggyback global competency skills on the arts. The arts have broad shoulders, broad enough to help carry the world to our students.