How Globalization Meets Education
Globalization is a process by which the world’s economies, cultures, and populations become more interdependent on one another. Globalization happens due to international trade in goods and services, technology, and the movement of investments, people, and information across borders.
You can see globalization happening in the food you eat, the services you use, and the diversity of the people around you. While globalization is increasing at a slower rate in the United States compared to other countries, it has increased since the 1990s.
One of the most visible aspects of globalization is the increasing number of people who move within and between countries. Whether they are moving for employment opportunities or a better lifestyle, migration is one effect of globalization. This includes people who move within regions of their countries, for example from state to state. As a result of globalization, it is difficult to live in the modern world without interacting with people from other cultures.
The ability to function globally and cross-culturally will set students apart from the rest. While parents can help prepare their children for living and working in a globalized world, educators are the ones who have a role in developing global and cultural awareness in their classrooms. It’s one of their most important roles as 21st-century teachers, but what does a global classroom look like?
What Global Educators Do Differently
A global classroom starts with teachers who have a global perspective, foster cultural awareness, and help their students live as global citizens. Educators should be trained to teach their subjects through a global lens to prepare students to thrive in the 21st century.
Global teachers implement the following six actions in their classrooms:
They encourage students to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment
They teach students how to conduct age-appropriate research.
They cultivate an environment in which students recognize multiple perspectives on any given subject and articulate their perspectives thoughtfully and respectfully.
They develop students’ abilities to communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences that bridge geographic, linguistic, ideological, and cultural barriers.
They support students in viewing themselves as players in the world who are ready to tackle the complex problems of the world.
They cultivate connections between their students and their local and global communities.
How to Build a Global Classroom
Global awareness and cultural competence training is not a part of the standard teacher preparation programs or certification processes. Nor do many schools off professional development that focus on cultivating a global classroom. Diversity and equity iniatives may focus on cultural diversity within the local area, but do not include the impact that globalization will have on students.
One of the foundational steps of developing a global classroom is understanding which of your practices are already culturally competent and which are not. Using the 5 Levels of Multicultural Education, I developed a free checklist you can use to explore some of the ways you are already succeeding and some ways in which you can grow. Find the free checklist by joining our email list.
You will receive the checklist, along with tips and advice on how to best implement it this back to school seasons.
3 Quick Strategies to Develop a Global Classroom
1. Incorporate multiple cultures into your daily schedule.
One of the ways that teachers can develop global classrooms is by sharing a range of cultural traditions and practices. This helps your students understand that their culture, beliefs, and traditions are a tiny slice of the pie in terms of how many different ways people live in the world.
Researching and compiling this information can be time-consuming, so I developed a World Holiday Calendar that includes over 500 world holidays, festivals, and celebrations. This unique resource outlines important cultural traditions from all continents, religions, and areas of the world. I use it to share with my students what holidays are happening each week. It also helps me support my students and colleagues by remembering which holiday celebrations they celebrate.
The World Holiday Calendar includes cultural, ethnic, and national festivals, independence days and national days, holidays for the major world religions and religious holy days, environmental days to honor our planet and environment, United Nations international days of celebration, Heritage months like Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and more! I created it for my own classroom, and love sharing this special resource with other educators.
2. Add multiple perspectives to your lessons
Culture is a matter of perspective. One is not right or wrong. Instead, it is important to acknowledge that culture simultaneously connects us and makes us unique beings. Each individual relates differently to their culture and traditions. When teaching about the cultural diversity of the world, we must incorporate materials through many lenses and perspectives. Whenever you teach your next lesson, brainstorm one other perspective you can add to your lesson. Add a source that shares a different opinion than the rest. Add a book or article that is authored by someone with a differing cultural perspective. Ask your students how someone with a different life experience might interpret the lesson differently.
3. Support community engagement in your classroom.
You can start supporting community engagement in your classroom by incentiving service opportunities and providing your students with the chance to find their passions and causes.
Globalization will affect our students’ moreso than us. Educators can prepare their students for a changing world by following global education practices, fostering a global classroom, and promoting global citizenship in their classrooms.