Sunday, August 16, 2009
I am not saying that we should be the 'saviors' for the world, however I am saying that we must be conscientious of the long terms impact of our habits, and also the difficulties experienced by our world neighbors, and do whatever we can to participate in world citizenship to alleviate these difficulties through personal and local action as much as we can, and also teach our students the same.
In essence, we can no longer 'mind our own business' without having to worry about how our actions impact others around the globe and how our lives are impacted by the actions of others around the globe. This week we will discuss the idea of global consciousness and citizenship.
So what is Global citizenship? In simple terms global citizenship is primarily a matter of economics, protecting the earth for ourselves and the future generations, accepting and working with diversity, and peace education (Noddings, 2005). So global citizenship deals with moral and ethical responsibilities we must carry out and also teach our children, to sustain healthy and happy life on earth. It not only provides a broader perspectives to our students to prepare themselves for jobs anywhere any place in the world it also prepares them to exercise responsible citizenship.
(Note - This definition of global citizenship is much different than the one that is criticized by the conservative politicians. What politicians like Newt Gingrich criticize is global citizenship where we pledge allegiance to some international alliance between countries like the UN or EU instead of the constitution of the United states. The definition in this course suggests to maintain our allegiance to the flag of the US. Along with that, if we are to work and communicate in the world outside the united states, then we must be willing to treat others the same as we want to be treated. )
Brenda Dyer & Brenda Bushell (1996) in their article titled World issue or World Perspective present five classic goals which constitute the "irreducible global perspective," if any of the five are not met, then the school is failing in part to address and prepare students for contemporary reality":
1. Perspective consciousness is the awareness that we each have a view of the world that is not universally shared and that the perspective of others has its own legitimacy.
2. Health of Planet awareness is an informed understanding of the concepts of justice, human rights and responsibilities in the health of society and of the planet. From the perspective of biocentrism, humans are one species within the planetary system and not in dominance over the planet.
3. Systems Consciousness is the ability to think in a systems mode with a holistic view of the interdependent nature of change and cause and effect.
4. Involvement Consciousness is the awareness of the ramifications of personal and collective choices.
5. Process-mindedness is the awareness that learning is a cooperative, open-ended journey.
Dyer and Bushell further claim that in global education, knowledge is not simply an understanding of each world issue in a list of discrete issues, but an awareness of the interconnections among these issues. Moreover, along with knowledge, the goals of global education increasingly emphasize values and attitudes. According to the National Council for the Social Studies in the U.S., the purpose of global education is to develop in youth the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to live effectively in a world possessing limited natural resources and characterized by ethnic diversity, cultural pluralism and increasing interdependence.
Angelo Carfagna (Spring, 2003) defines the skills for global citizens in more user-friendly words. He presents nine goals for globally competent learners developed by American council of International and Intercultural Education.
The globally conscientious learner is
1. Empowered by the experience of global education to help make a difference in society
2. Committed to lifelong global learning
3. Aware of diversity commonality and interdependence
4. Recognizes the geopolitical and economic interdependence of the world.
5. appreciates the impact of other cultures on American life
6. Accepts the importance of all people
7. Capable of working in diverse teams
8. Understands the non-universality of culture and values,
9. Accepts responsibility of global citizenship.
Carfagna further lists the competencies of global citizenship as,
1. Recognizing that you are a full member of a global community
2. Understanding how your actions impact others and how others' actions impact you
3. Having an attitude that is respectful of the diversity of human experiences
4. Being aware of the value and limitations of specific identities and being unafraid to go beyond them.
5. Possessing the ability to imagine and or experience yourself in another time and space
6. Recognizing the interconnectedness of economic, social political and environmental systems.
This week you will spend some time reading about global consciousness and reflecting about how to integrate it in your own curriculum without having to add more to your already demanding schedule.
Carfagna A. (Spring, 2003). Breaking down notions of us and them: Answering globalization with global learning. Fairleigh Dickenson University (FDU) Magazine.
Dyer B. & Bushell B. (1996) World issue or World Perspective. Language Teacher. retrieved from http://www.jalt-publications.org/tlt/files/96/nov/global.html
When we hear the word Globalization (or globalisation), we tend to think about news stories of outsourcing to India, or rubber slippers with lead paint made in China, or contaminated tomatoes grown in Mexico. Some feel disgust with the word and others feel fearful. In fact globalization is much misunderstood in the educational circles because educators do not see connection between globalization and their everyday teaching. Globalization refers to people on the globe communicating with each other from anywhere, at any time, seamlessly on economic, political, cultural and technological planes of society. On economic plane, manufacturing companies can go to any country where labor is cheaper to produce goods and market those goods anywhere across the globe. On political plane there is greater exchange of opportunity and ideas between developed countries and developing countries. On cultural plane people from different countries are discovering new ways of relating to each other. And, the speed of communication on the technological plane makes it all possible.
Globalization connects directly or indirectly with many school related activities. To start the day, the rising cost of busing is influenced by the price of gas which is due to rise in energy use throughout the globe; many ingredients in the school lunches are made in countries outside of US; the drinks that are made available in the soda machines are there as a result of global branding culture, the cell phones IPods and computer devices that teachers and students are using are most likely made or assembled in China.
This undeniably points towards the interconnectedness and interdependence of countries, cultures, ideologies, languages and resources. Globalization thus “promotes not only the expansion of education but also its importance in everyday life in terms of both material production and life success” (Stromquist, 2002, p. viii). Teachers and parents need to connect the dots between global to the local. They need to understand the depth of globalization in order to see the importance of changing the way we thinking about teaching and learning.
Strands of Globalization
The classification here is not comprehensive however it does present the main tenets of globalization that have significance to education. These strands are not discrete and they overlap and interrelate in complex ways.
The hallmark of globalization has been in the area of business and commerce. In 1980 total world trade growth was at the rate of 4.5 percent annually. In 1990, the rate rose to 6.8% and the value of trade doubled to almost 8 trillion (Yergin & Stainslaw cited in Adams and Carfagna, p. 29). In 2004 the trade rate rose even more to 14% (WTO). Along with the EU countries, U.S. trade partners in South America include Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Dominican Republic. In east, along with India and China, US trade partners extend to Hong-Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Australia and Philippines.
Another economic indication of globalization is that U.S. ownership of foreign assets increased sharply in last 15 years and foreign ownership of US assets increased even more. Today a little less than 50% of US assets in forms of treasuries, and bonds are owned by foreign countries like China and Japan. This has great implications for teaching children about personal finances and importance of money management. These children will grow up and may serve in leadership roles, and need to understand the ethical values related to stewardship of personal and public finances.
Along with increased trade, imports of information due to outsourcing is one of the most criticized activity. India accounts for more than 12% of imports of data processing and IT services. Although India is the largest supplier of IT services, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan may also be following for outsourcing (USTIC, 2003). Because outsourcing offers a cheaper solution to IT companies, it poses competition for U.S. based IT consultants. In order to be successful they have to either engage in coming up with creative entrepreneurship or settle for low paying job for which they may be over qualified. This has significant implication in the classroom for teacher to provide activities with divergent thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship.
So it is clear that economic globalization is driven by trade and commerce, by currency exchange rates, and by cost and availability of labor (Humes, W. 2008). The most astounding part of economic globalization is that multinational companies that manage production and deliver services in more than one country can exert a great degree of power over our lives; more power than the states and nation governments can. For example McDonalds, Wall Mart, General Electric, Boeing, Coca cola, Cisco, and Kodak are some examples of multinational companies. Multinational companies are mostly driven by profits and their loyalties are to the global market and not to any national policies. This has direct implications on us. This sends jobs out of the United States and creates unemployment at home. At the same time it also brings goods into the US which are cheaper and affordable for us. Also, multinational companies' use of cheap labor elsewhere, leads to reduction in the tax contribution that employment brings for us. Goods sold by an American company might have parts made in China, those parts then assembled in Mexico and finally sold through the Internet all over the world.
All this has indirect implication that relate to our identity. What is our local, regional and national identity. We will talk about that more later in this course.
This refers to the role that political organizations play that are above and beyond any one national government in making policies that influence us. For example transnational agencies like The World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), United Nations (UN), these are all political organizations that exist for the purpose of improving lives in third world countries by bringing them some benefits of advanced democracies such as rights of child, women's education etc. however these are seen by some as the political elite that create policies that set priorities for the world and as a result poor countries at time are worst off. (Search out on the Web news clips about NAFTA Agreement in Seattle).
Movement Across Borders
In last 20 years, the number of international migrants around the world has increased 200 percent, from 100 to 200 million per year. According to the UN at least 2.2 million migrants will arrive in the rich world every year from now until 2050. In addition, mobility is further enhanced with people traveling more and more, and communicating internationally across the globe. Today there are more than ten thousand Americans (unofficial count) living in China. This kind of massive movement and mixing, restructures relationships and lifestyles. Today’s children will be living in a world where daily communicating with people of cultures and countries other than the US will be a norm. Some may even need to speak other languages. Also more immigrants coming to this country places greater burdens for schools to educate them through ESL education or bilingual education
Where there is mixing of people of different cultures, there is influence of one culture on another. Globalization has brought American culture and our brand of freedom across the world. It is often referred to the trend towards standardization of taste in things, fashions, popular culture, music, film, television. This means that everyone has access to greater variety in things such as customs and attitudes (Humes, 2008). On the flip side, assessing liberal values of one culture encourages trends where people question their morality, values as well as traditions. This presents particular challenge to schools that are traditionally used to promoting one brand of democratic values.
This relates to the rapid advances in information technology. Not only we have massive information about any topic any time on the Web, we can send information instantly across the globe, can carry out virtual meetings, make phone calls, do shopping online, do banking online, socialize online through face book or U Tube or Twitter, pay taxes online and even seek out a doctor's expertise online, all with the click of a button.
Borrowing from Nelly Stromquist (2003, p. xxi), globalization is moving us towards a ‘knowledge society’. Knowledge society is not a new phenomenon. Societies have generated knowledge for many reasons throughout histories. One is for national defense. The other is for exploration, and yet another is to seek renewed solutions to old problems. Information revolution has downside; it subjects the minds of our students to advertisements and propaganda of ideas that shape their young minds. Additionally, with the availability of information at fingertips, it also takes away the monopoly the educational institutions used to have in dispensing knowledge. This has implications to educators in how they must teach young people to provide media literacy, to evaluate information that they read and see on the Web, and also to exercise social responsibility in communicating their ideas and acting out their urges on the internet.
Collectively all these strands pose a great challenge on the schools and teachers to prepare students for working and living in the globalized world. This narrative provides a start of a dialogue between you, the teachers, and the globalized world . As we go through the course we will continue to build upon this basic organization to expand your understanding and identify problems associated with it and seek solutions to prepare our students for it.
Humes, W. (2008) the Discourse of global citizenship; Philosophy Theory and pedagogy. In M.A. Peters and Britton, A. Blee, H. ( Eds) Global Citizenship Education: Philosophy Theory and Pedagogy. 41-52
Stromquist, N. (2002) Education in a Globalized world: A connectivity of economic power technology and knowledge. New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. Inc
Adams, Michael J. & Carfagna, Angelo (2006) Coming of Age in a Globalized World: The Next Generation. Bloomfield CT: Kumerian Press Inc
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I agree that students in small American towns may not have the opportunity to go outside the US however with the advent of Internet, global connections are much easier to make than before. This post is an attempt to help teachers make global connections in the classroom.
Previously I talked about reaching the educators at a philosophical level in helping our children become citizens, who have the skills, knowledge and attitudes to move freely as global citizens. In this post I isolate specific areas of study where I think we need to focus. One thing I do not want to do is to burden teachers with adding more standards and requirements when they are already overwhelmed with what is on their plate. So below are four themes which can be easily subsumed within the existing standards curriculum. Under each theme I also list the knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits of success in the global world. These themes are as follows:
A. Global Connections1
B. Global Issues1
C. Global Culture1
D. Media Literacy
A. Global Connections
Students should learn how they are connected to others in the world socially, politically, economically, and ecologically1. Connections around these dimensions should be addressed in all subject areas and in all grade levels. One must understand the spider web concept of culture, politics, economics, and media.
Knowledge - For example teachers can select literature that helps students see people of their own age in other countries facing similar issues as they do. In Math, students can study the values of currencies of other countries and how they compare to the US dollar. In social studies focus could be on how consequences of one historic event in one part of the nation can stir things in other parts of the world. Students must understand the interdependence of countries across geographical and ecologically lines. In essence, I promote fostering of a systems thinking. Some examples of topics of study are, movement of sun and cycle of day and night across the globe, time differences, tectonics across the globe, impact of pollution across the globe, and interpretation of meteorological data as part of a global picture. Art and music can include diversity of art forms and music in the US and outside.
Skills - Students should be able to apply knowledge to propose solutions for the local problems. Be able to organize, analyze and synthesize ideas. Skills of communicating ideas in all forms of thinking including writing, acting, speaking, singing that may lead to a purposefully developed easiness by which they perform creative acts to solve problems. Problem solving in math and science. Teaching creative activities such as inventions and entrepreneurship.
Attitudes and Habits - Students must see value in the democratic participation. Understand the complexity and yet unifying forces among nations and how it impacts their personal life. Learn to select news sources, like radio television, newspapers and critically analyze it for authenticity. Examine the positive and negative consequences of connections in society.
B. Global Issues
Knowledge – Understanding of the issues that affect their personal lives. Most recent ones are outsourcing and transfer of industrial job outside the country. The environmental issues such as global warming, energy resources and waste. Understand the relationship of World-bank and IMF and developing economies. Help make connections with world system such as water cycle, energy consumption, weather patterns across the world, desalination, and impact of biotechnical waste. Geologic connections between US and neighboring nations. Wars and human condition of the oppressed are examples of topics that can be discussed.
Skills – In order to understand global issues children need to know how to search for information. Understan moral and ethical responsibility of Americans, be able to work with others on economic issues, and be able to understand currency conversions.
Attitudes and Habits- Sense of global responsibility, achieving a state of personal-action, viewing earth as a place to cohabitate with all types of people, a kinder mindset.
C. Global Culture
Knowledge – This refers to language education, learning about the facts of ethnic and racial disparities across the globe, understanding of different types of belief system, understanding of similarities and differences in values of others cultures with American culture, role and place of women in society across the globe, role and place of the disabled across the globe, nature of immigration and patterns of migrations across the globe.
Skills – Developing an ear for strong accents in speech, tolerance for belief system, able to search out cultural values of unknown cultures, and people skills.
Attitudes and Habits – Develop Interest in other languages, conscientious of other pronunciations, developing comfort with foods from other cultures as well as clothing.
D. Media Literacy
I define media literacy as a process of understanding and using different forms of Internet media in a way that it allows active participation in society and in the public sphere. Media literacy today can truly teach our students how to be engaged and voice their opinions and ideas regarding issues that matter to us.
Knowledge – This may include making students knowledgeable of computer systems and basics of connectivity. Using ever growing new vocabulary on technology education. Appropriate use of new forms of virtual environment. Wiki spaces, Second Life, blogging, webcasting, video-casting, using Internet phone with webcam like Skype and others. Use of locations on the web where they can converse with people in other countries like iearn and e-pals.
Skills – Identifying assumption behind a media film, distinguishing between what is fact and what is opinion, skills of writing full sentences as well as abbreviated sentences (text messaging) tact in ‘speaking’ in online communication, web-search skills, webcast or types of video-cast communication
Attitudes and Habits - Etiquettes and rules of conduct, listening attitudes and connecting with the audience.
I recommend the global curriculum be addressed at all levels; the school environment, policy making, teacher preparation, textbook selection and curriculum assessment. It is a mindset that should permeate our society and our schools.
Following are three wonderful website that can help teachers get involved in global issues and get connected. These provide ideas one can use to virtually take children to other worlds and yet connect with global issues in their own lives.
Google Earth: My recommendation to search out Google-earth educational ideas in the web and there are wonderful ideas a teacher can use. Here is one link that provides excellent activities using Google Earth http://www.juicygeography.co.uk/googleearth.htm
iearn - http://www.iearn.org/
e-pals - http://www.epals.com/
PBS Wide Angle : Global Classroom - http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/classroom/index.html
1Cezarra, F. (2003). Global Education Checklist: For Teachers, Schools, School System and State Education Agencies. American Forum for Global Education. http://www.globaled.org/fianlcopy.pdf
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The renewed framework that I propose, demands that we create a shift in the approach to education. We need to prepare our students with dual identities; an identity as an American citizen and also an identity as a citizen of the world. This I call making of Global Citizens, which encompasses both identities. The term ‘global citizens’ is alarming to some people. They fear that perhaps this will destroy our allegiance to the American flag. That is not the case. The concept of ‘Global Citizens’ focuses upon positive change that unites us as one humanity and one earth, and it is more uniting than separating. Global Citizenship is not something that replaces our traditional bonds with our country rather it extends a global dimension to it. A global citizen is more aware of the wider world, views all cultures and people as connected, respects and values diversity, and considers impacts of his/her actions on people across the world (Adams & Cargfagna, 2006). At the same time, a global citizen is still obligated to protect the rights and responsibilities of the democracy that he/she is endowed with as an American.
One of my friends, a physician, remarked once that he believes in treating all patients who come to his door, regardless of their insurance, because "human pain does not discriminate". Rich or poor both hurt the same when they are sick. That is a uniting factor. Anytime any of my students feel apathetic towards others I always remind them that people from other cultures feel sadness, experience love, hurt and pain, just like we do. A global citizen views all people with this uniting view.
The shift in foundational perspective of global citizenship lies in the following ideas. I recommend these ideas should be churning in the background, in everything we teach
- World interdependence: All ideas should be taught as inter-connected and related to the world outside our own microcosm. Connections are everywhere, and we can use our ingenuity and creativity to use connections to create solutions to our advantage.
- World Diversity: Cross cultural awareness is necessary to communicate with others and to find new solutions. A basic idea of acceptance and respect does not mean we reject our own ideas. Rather it is acceptance of the fact that people of other cultures may offer solutions that we have not consider. Learn from that and adapt it to our lives to solve problems. Take what works and ignore what does not.
- Change : Children should be taught how to learn new skills and knowledge to get along successfully as the time changes. It is the ease by which we are willing to learn new skills is what is important. In the 80s, when Japan was exporting massive technology to US, we thought learning Japanese would be a great thing. In the 90s some programs were offering French and Spanish so our students can work in Europe. Now it is Arabic and Mandarin. The idea here is that languages are important and not only should our students learn at least one other language, the students should also know how to learn a new one if the situation changes.
- Equity and Justice: As we teach equity and justice in our nation same principles apply to all people.
This is not an exhaustive list but it is a start. At an individual level education should provide activities that would make our students live life to the fullest. Check out the teaching link for Apple Learning I added, it has some very wonderful ideas to teach from global perspective.
- Adams, Michael J. & Carfagna, Angelo (2006) Coming of Age in a Globalized World: The Next Generation. Bloomfield CT: Kumerian Press Inc
- Dewey, John (1916) Democracy and Education, New York: McMillan
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Globalization is complex. It is complex because it has created interdependence at all levels of society. At economic level it refers to multinational companies of developed nations using labor from developing countries, hence creating a shift in types of jobs and productivity in the US; at political level these big companies have been accused of gaining power beyond boundaries of nation states hence threatening the nation state power structure; and at cultural level it refers to mixing of cultural values of people across the globe.
Although there is much dialog over the Web about positives and negatives of globalization, I believe globalization is about us – the people. I do not want to give into the fear of unknown outcomes of this global revolution; rather I want to focus on what I can do to deal with it. With Internet connectivity, people can communicate with other people anywhere, seek out relationships at all levels, and exercise individual freedom of expression and influence masses if they want to. That is empowering and at individual level I want to center on that.
Furthermore, a study, done in 1999, to generate curriculum recommendations from multinational perspective, reported the following challenges that we should monitor as we teach:
- The economic gap among countries and between people within countries will widen significantly. This means the gap between rich and poor will widen.
- Information technologies will dramatically reduce the privacy of individuals.
- The inequalities between those who have access to information technologies and those who do not will increase dramatically. This refers to digital divide that is already dividing people in the US.
- Poverty in developing countries will increase. Poverty and homelessness is at rise in the US as well.
- Conflict of interest between developing and developed nations will increase due to environmental deterioration.
- The cost of obtaining adequate water will rise dramatically due to population growth and environmental deterioration
- Deforestation will dramatically affect diversity of life, air, soil, and water quality (Parker, Ninomiya, and Cogan, 1999, p.125)
I believe that these trends are interdependent and have direct implications for educators in the classroom:
- Students and teachers need to view all areas across the curriculum from a global perspective. Connecting the dots from events in one country to the events in our country.
- All students should have the access to technology in school and also should be taught to solve problems in meaningful ways. Thinking critically and strategically is the key here.
- Students should be taught social skills to deal with cultures other than our own, and to maintain a proper conduct while communicating with people across the globe via technology.
- Students should be made aware of the issue of equality and inequality and critically examine their civic responsibility as citizens living in their local communities and the global community.
- Last but not the least, students should be taught to see connections between the world problems and our citizenship in terms of environment and use of natural resources. (More on this later)
Interdependence suggests that we must accept that we are not alone. What would I say to a parent who feels the same as my neighbor Gloria does? I would say, old jobs are not coming back, and if they did we would not be able to afford basic necessities of life today. However we can embrace it; we can read, we can learn, we can understand the economic, social, and political forces in this new global world, and use our freedoms to help prepare our children to live in it successfully.
Parker, W. C., Ninomiya, A., and Cogan, J. (1999). Educating world citizens: Towards multinational curriculum development. American Research Journal 36,(2) 117-148.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
We live in an awesome country. I cannot imagine what life would have been like had I lived anywhere else other than the United States. The freedoms that we have as US citizens are unmatched anywhere else in the world. It is due to these freedoms why the US has led the world in innovation and defining individualistic quality of life.
At the same time, the world we live in is changing. It is changing in ways never imagined before. Getting higher education online, or talking to people across the globe on video phones, or small business owners doing businesses with the world community on the Internet was unthinkable a few years ago. Furthermore corporations are using labor force as well as technology professionals from other countries like China and India to lower cost and increase profits. Globalization of job markets has changed the demands of the workforce of future economy. In order to work in the world of 21st century we must provide children with an understanding of the role they will be playing as world-wise US citizens, and provide them the tools to work in this new environment. These changes require that we seriously consider how we prepare our young people to continue exercising their freedoms and lead the world
Preparation of young people for adult life is done during school years, and our schools are not preparing young people for the world of 21st century. Under the mandates of NCLB and the immense preoccupation with the test scores, many of the programs like foreign languages and sciences have been placed on the back burner. World events do not take first place in the social studies curriculum and world geography is hardly seen as essential. The globalization demands that students value in learning more about other cultures and perspectives to be able to communicate better. It also demands that students understand their relationship to world events. Finally globalization demands that schools teach students to seek out unique and creative solutions for solving problems.
Tougher Choices and Tougher Times , a 1997 report on the skills of the American workforce released by National Center on Education and Economy, makes it clear that we need to change the way we prepare our students for future. The schools have not sensed the urgency to address the issues mentioned in this report. As I read this report I was struck by these points:
1. There is a strategic shift in labor industry. With labor jobs going to other countries, our students will have to learn to strategize and analyze to come up with new ways of solving problems.
2. Our students will have to communicate with people of other cultures in seamless ways. Therefore students will have to learn history, geography, sciences, foreign languages and literature in ways to see clear connections between the world events and their personal and civic lives.
3. The most important point, our students may have to exercise their creativity in seeking new and unique contexts, patterns, relationships in ways never imagined before.
I invite all teachers, colleagues, concerned parents and students to tell me what they think of globalization and the report posted above and share their ideas Also feel free to check out related few links provided at the top right corner of this website.