What is Global Citizenship?
According to the UNESCO Institute for Education, a global citizen is someone who looks beyond the border and identifies themselves as the human race from anywhere around the world. Global citizenship does not imply a legal status, neither a tribe nor a nation; Every global citizen understands sustainability is a problem. Each one carries the heart to tackle global issues like extreme poverty, gender equality, human rights, and climate change. These action takers are capable of translating goals into plans and executing them to help the world become a more peaceful place; Global Citizen, on the other hand, can also mean a social movement to end extreme poverty.
Despite various interpretations, the most common understanding of global citizenship is a self-respecting individual with a global mindset. This unique skill allows them to create connections from a local to a global scale. In the overall context, the most fundamental characteristic of a global citizen is an independent thinker but collaborative. Each individual believes in the power of voice and capable of making a profound positive difference for this planet.
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Teaching Young Children Global Citizenship
Via New York Times bestseller Malcolm Gladwell’s sold-out book: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, human behavior is sensitive to and strongly influenced by its environments. In other words, the community where beliefs are practiced, expressed, and nurtured plays a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavior. Creating a structure with guidance would help these principles and values to persist and serve as an example to others in the future.
Malcolm continued to address the theory from Judith Rich Harris, an independent researcher and author of The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out The Way They Do. Judith Rich Harris suggested that children’s behavior in the outside world often bears little or no similarity to their parents at home. Parents matter much less than peers in the group when it comes to determining their children’s behavior. However, not to forget that children’s transformation into a responsible adult is through parents’ careful hands. Parents do influence their children by their actions in acknowledging and reinforcing the personalities already inside their children. It is not hard to see the connection between parents, peers, and the environment often tied together in human growth and development.
Six Ways of Teaching Global Citizenship:
1. Encourage Open Communication
Establish a culture of honest and open communication; the “two-way-street” dialogues create you-matter awareness for young children. It also allows the parent-children relationship to be more engaging. Make your child’s conversation a priority and provide a secure environment where voices can be heard at home. Communication skills are effective in improving self-esteem.
According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of the population are visual learners. The scientists also discovered that most humans process visual data better and faster than any other form. In fact, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual by nature. Therefore, using a wall or visual space is a fun method to explore vocabulary with young children. Some feelings are difficult to verbalize; implementing art and music activities can help young learners engage in self-expression and dialogue with other cultures.
2. Instill Inquiry-Based Learning
Create an active learning environment introducing critical thinking skills through inquiry-based learning. In contrast to the traditional learning approach that generally presents facts, inquiry-based learning poses questions to children. It allows them to process through logical reasoning by testing and solving the problems. Children can explore new ideas, make comparisons with all the choices, and understand the outcomes from each option. Inquiry-based learning relies on guidelines rather than fixed rules.
3. Promote Learn-Think-Feel-Act
What we think affects how we feel and how we act. If a child learns about several places on earth that are struggling with drought and clean water on a daily basis, this information may create a space for the child to explore their feelings for less fortunate people. Their motivation to make the world a better place will drive them to implement an action plan.
Promote independent but collaborative activities with young children; setting their own goals and moving at whatever speed best suits them. For example, raising funds for class equipment.
4. Introduce Global Events
Explore past and present social movements and global events with children. Taking on globally-oriented learning resources can bring a broader perspective to children, helping the young learner understand the relationships between local to national and international. This knowledge can train young learners to see things from a global perspective.
Sports, music, and art are universal and they are the best ways to promote cultures. Introduce the Olympics or the World Cup. One of my favorite campaigns is Shiseido My Crayon Project. Cosmetics company Shiseido set out to educate children that every skin tone is unique with help from crayons. Not only the idea is interesting but also easy to implement as an activity for any children.
5. Encourage Global and Multicultural Experiences
Offer children opportunities to experience cultural diversity at school, at home, or with playdates. Creating a real-life cultural learning experience for young children is one of the best ways to explore multiculturalism. Structures can be from local community-based activities, distance learning, or a virtual field trip to travel and foreign exchange programs. These experiences help the young learner shift the mindset beyond the “local” frame, becoming more interdependent and interconnected globally.
6. Multilingual: Learning a New Language
Without a doubt, language is an essential key to opening doors to the outside world. Language skills are crucial to develop and engage with the world. Multilingual education gives diverse learners access to some of the most critical cultural knowledge. Besides English, the most popular languages to learn are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, German, France, and Arabic. An individual who lives with several linguistic codes allows them to acquire emotional connections with a language. This is a critical communication skill to develop, beyond grammar rules.
Teaching global citizenship is a set of guidelines rather than rules. Parents’ role is to provide the environment, guidance, and support. There is clear evidence that parents’ reactions can quickly impact how children feel; therefore, it is also a process where adults can practice inner trust in children. Encouraging younger generations to develop their knowledge, to get in touch with the world, and be aware that their day-to-day decisions interlink with everyone.