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Practical Suggestions for Teaching Global Education
Author: Howard Eugene Taylor
Teachers may be convinced of the need to teach for a global perspective, but are often at a loss when confronted with everyday concerns about teaching global education. A literature review reveals a preoccupation with implementing global education with preservice and inservice teacher education programs. Missing from the literature is a significant perspective of teachers knowledge resulting from classroom experiences with global education. This Digest draws on current practices in global education to provide teachers with practical suggestions regarding instructional and technological resources as well as the use of cooperative learning for teaching global education.
Practical Resources for Teaching Global Education
Teachers and colleagues
Students with ESL skills and competence are particularly resourceful members of a global classroom. Working with a colleague who teaches adult ESL students, Taylor (1995) implemented an "ESL pen pal" project between seventh graders and immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Elementary and middle school teachers may want to involve ESL students as pen pals, guest speakers, or conversation partners (Wilson, 1993) or have students work with ESL students to host a community cultural arts festival.
Again, informal surveys can also be used to identify cross-cultural experiences of students (and their relatives) as well as to solicit student participation in demonstrations of global artifacts. From drawing on their own experiences and resources (or those of classmates), elementary and middle school students can create any number of projects (e.g., bulletin boards, travel brochures, display cases, mobiles, 3-dimensional books, newspapers, poems, and skits) to demonstrate new knowledge and appreciation of other cultures. To further encourage value of cross-cultural experience, middle and high school students traveling abroad during the school year could keep a written or video-taped travel log that would not only alleviate the need for teachers to create alternative lessons for absent students but promote the role of student as cultural diplomat.
When field trips are not possible, teachers should contact museums, historic societies, and other community organizations for free and inexpensive instructional materials (e.g., videos/video uplinks with study guides, CD-ROMs, and printed materials).
Global SchoolNet Foundation is a multiactivity program for elementary and middle school students that includes "Where On the Globe Is Roger?," a project hosted by a former U.S. Marine Corps combat pilot visiting schools and reporting on cultures and geography while driving around the world, and a step-by-step classroom tutorial for "harnessing the power of the Web."
Intercultural E-mail Classroom Connections (IECC) can be used by elementary and middle school teachers to connect classes with other countries and cultures through classroom e-mail pen pal and project exchanges. IECC and "ESL pen pal/conversation partner" programs are a particularly effective means of avoiding a show and tell approach to global education.
Using Metacrawler Beta Server middle and high school students can use key words and phrases to conduct data searches on any number of peoples, places, and topics.
Additionally, from accessing the Internet Public Library high school students can draw upon a wide array of information (e.g., government/law, science, business/economics, and the environment) for development of a global perspective.
Cooperative Learning for a Global Perspective
Being challenged to prepare students for responsible global citizenship, teachers need to use instructional strategies that reflect the increasing diversity of today's global society (Becker, 1990). Through cooperative learning activities, which "assume heterogeneity and emphasize interactive opportunities," teachers not only meet the needs of diverse students but prepare all students for successful global cooperation and competition (p. 81).
Teachers may be concerned about using cooperative learning strategies, especially with lower- achieving students who may not have the academic skills and self-control needed for successful participation in such activities. However, through providing clearly stated directions, including rewards/reprimands for desired/inappropriate behavior, and allotting enough time for implementation, lower-achieving students can attain the goals of global education through participation in cooperative learning activities (Taylor, 1995).
Additional suggestions to consider when using cooperative learning strategies include: (1) leading a discussion on the need to work in heterogeneous groups to develop appreciation for diversity and skills needed for success in the global workplace; (2) providing students with team- building activities; (3) maximizing heterogeneity (e.g., create groups that are diverse in ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, ability level, and types of intelligence and personality); (4) determining a signal to get students' attention when needed; (5) preparing an alternative assignment and designated time-out area for continually disruptive and uncooperative students; (6) explaining the alternative assignment before initiating the cooperative learning activity to raise students' level of concern about behavior and productivity; (7) having students select roles for each team member (e.g., task organizer, time keeper, and recorder); (8) grading students individually; (9) having students complete peer reviews of cooperative effort; and (10) including in assignment directions achievement targets and times.
Some of the most effective, cost-efficient, and readily accessible resources for teaching global education are resources that walk into the classroom everyday and are found in every corner of the community. Teachers can discover a whole new world of innovative instructional resources for preparing students for global responsibility through a heightened awareness of the innumerable connections in the classrooms and communities and linkages to our global society. Accessing these resources through participation in cooperative learning activities, students are able to develop skills necessary for success in the 21st century.
National Office of World Affairs Councils, (202)785-4703.
Peace Corps World Wise Schools, 1990 K. Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20526 or 1-800-424- 8580, extension x2283.
Sister Cities International, 120 S. Payne Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703)836-3535.
References identified with an EJ or ED number have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should be available at most research libraries; most documents (ED) are available in microfiche collections at more than 900 locations. Documents can also be ordered through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (800-443-ERIC).
Anderson, C. C. (1990). Global education and the community. In K. A. Tye (Ed.), Global education: From thought to action. The 1991 ASCD yearbook (pp.125-141). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ED326970
Becker, J. (1990). Curriculum considerations in global studies. In K. A. Tye (Ed.), Global education: From thought to action. The 1991 ASCD yearbook (pp. 67-85). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ED326970
Gilliom, M. E. (1993). Mobilizing teacher educators to support global education in preservice programs. Theory into Practice, 32(1), 40-46. EJ463372
Merryfield, M. M. (1995). Institutionalizing cross-cultural experiences and international expertise in teacher education: The development and potential of a global education PDS network. Journal of Teacher Education, 46(1), 19-27.
Merryfield, M. M. (1994). Shaping the curriculum in global education: The influence of student characteristics on teacher decision-making. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 9(3), 233-249. EJ481258
Taylor, H. E. (1995). Teacher research and reflective narrative analysis: Methods of learning about and from implementing global education. Dissertation Abstracts International 56(4), 1310. (UMI Dissertation Information Service, #9526094).
Wilson, A. H. (1993). Conversation partners: Helping students gain a global perspective through cross-cultural experiences. Theory into Practice, 32(1), 21-26. EJ463369
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