The Importance of Global Citizenship

“Not here – not me.”  In our fast-paced and connected world, the actions and events thousands of miles away impact you.  And in reverse, your actions can impact them.  Why is Social Studies important in today’s world? Why is Global Citizenship important?

The Importance of Global Citizenship
As global events impact local life, students need to not only be aware of these events, but also how their actions can impact others.  Global Citizenship encourages children and young people to care about the planet and people locally and globally. Students are challenged to explore, develop and express their own values and opinions, while listening to and respecting other people’s points of view.

According to Oxfam Developmental Education,

Global Citizenship is …

·       asking questions and developing critical thinking skills

·       equipping young people with knowledge, skills and values to participate as active citizens

·       acknowledging the complexity of global issues

·       revealing the global as part of everyday local life, whether in a small village or a large city

·       understanding how we relate to the environment and to each other as human beings.

Teachers are in the unique position of being social change agents and creating students able to function in an interconnected world.  According to Audrey Osler, the director of the Center for Citizenship and Human Rights Education, “Education for living together in an interdependent world is not an optional extra, but an essential foundation.” 

But how do you teach Global Citizenship?

Global Citizenship focuses on the decision making abilities of the students we teach.  You can include discussion and debate, role-play, and ranking exercises. Using these type of activities will encourage children to learn about how people in other parts of the world affect our lives, just as our decisions affect the lives of others.
Teachers can use different strategies when focusing on Global Citizenship. The use of photographs is essential allowing students to connect to those in different parts of the world. You can use these strategies with photographs:

Changing Situations
Looking carefully at a photograph, discuss with the children what they think is happening. Then, encouraging think about what might have happened before the photograph was taken and what might happen afterwards. Encourage them to justify what they say.
Use photographs and writing activities to teach Global Citizenship.

Beyond the Frame
Stick a photograph in the middle of a very large sheet of paper. Look carefully at the image and discuss what is in it. What might lie beyond its borders? After discussion, each child in the group can help to write or draw on the paper, around the image, what the group has agreed lies beyond the frame.
Photographs can be used to teach empathy.

Links and Commonalities
Show the children a picture of someone in another country. Ask them to think of all the commonalities and links between their lives and the life of the person in the picture.

I hope you enjoy using a few of these strategies! 

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