Creating Global Citizens
As summer approaches and science fair ends, I often reflect on what has happened this year. I started teaching in 1990 and have been traveling even longer. I work hard to integrate themes of culture and travel into my lessons.
My students love to hear about where I have been and are eager to make connections with students and authors in other countries. We have Skyped and written to people in other countries as well as to politicians about important issues.
Jenny Buccos’ TEDx NYED gives an excellent talk about how global citizenship is a crucial 21st century skill. I love to hear her expound on how we should develop better cross-cultural education. I know that both my students love and their parents appreciate these sessions, but I am sad to hear that only 30% of educators regularly talk about other cultures and countries. As a teacher working with seven grade levels, I understand that planning lessons and creating connections is time-consuming but the rewards are worthwhile. Buccos' nation-wide survey reveals that over 80% of teachers and 82% of hiring managers agree that it is important to learn about other cultures. We need to shift our focus so that we see how what happens “over there” impacts us “over here.” As the debris from the tsunami washes ashore here in California, I think many are learning that connections do exist. Also, a good deal of the smog in Los Angeles comes to us from “over there.”
I agree with Buccos that much of our current culture curriculum is only focused on international cuisine and world holidays. I hope that teachers and parents can help every child engage with another culture and use an American passport early and often! We must educate ourselves and our children and “foster the next generation of global citizens.” She talks about how global citizens need to: “Celebrate our common humanity and respect the different paths a group or culture may take.”
We are all connected through the air we breathe and the decisions we make. I hope we can work together to increase thoughtful dialogue about culture in hopes of creating a global community.