Monday, September 23, 2013

Bringing Global Issues into the Classroom

Hey all! Today we have a special follow-up to an early blog post. Lisa Glenn from New Global Citizens has stopped by with a guest spot! New Global Citizens is a great way to connect classrooms or small groups internationally! So without further ado...

Bringing Global Issues into the Classroom

By: Lisa Glenn, New Global Citizens Program of Director

75% of hiring managers agree students who understand other countries and cultures will be more successful than those who do not (2012 Education Exploration Survey).

Fortunately, we know that students love to learn about other countries and cultures. But considering the amount of time it takes to develop resources for the classroom, it can be near to impossible. Even the most basic resources must align to Common Core, meet district and state scopes or school requirements and be a “good fit” for individual student needs. Again, this can be near to impossible when also considering the time it takes to do research on global issues, determine how to implement these issues within existing curriculum, and create brand new lesson plans.

Or so it was.

After providing a free afterschool program with student resources to explore global issues for five years, New Global Citizens now offers teacher curriculum and professional development resources that help teachers use the lens of global issues within the scope of existing requirements and curricula.

Ok, great, but why does this matter to a math teacher? Because increasing exposure to global issues within traditional subject areas, such as math or science, is just plain “good teaching,” and NGC is here to help! In the 2013-2014 school year, NGC will be releasing STEM curriculum and resources for teachers who would like to increase exposure to global issues within the science or math classroom, in addition to NGC’s existing humanities curriculum.

Now, instead of simply teaching graphing, students can learn first about the spread of epidemics within the population, and then learn graphing skills by using current data points from international sources, which will give students a clearer picture of both the global issue and the importance of graphing skills in the real world. This depth of learning is important because it moves our students from skill mastery by completing rote tasks to skill mastery by real-world application.

But just knowing about global issues is not enough to make students successful global citizens. Students must take that knowledge and put it into action. This is where New Global Citizens’ successful after school advocacy work really comes into play.

Students using NGC curriculum can take what they have learned about epidemics and partner with an NGC Global Project to advocate for change around their chosen epidemic. So, instead of taking that graph that they made, handing it in, and completing the lesson, students can publish and continue to use the deliverable that they created for advocacy around global epidemics.

Imagine students creating a polished graph and then tweeting it out in support of an organization like Hlomelikusasa, an NGO that supports orphans and vulnerable children left behind by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Students could also create a multimedia presentation to explain the effects of the epidemic on the affected region to present to local leaders or community members. Students can even raise funds to support the work of a Global Partner, and as a result develop budgeting and planning skills.

By adding advocacy to global issues curriculum, students can see their classroom learning is immediately connected to existing efforts for change in the global community.  

For more information on how to get involved with New Global Citizens, visit our site or email Lisa Glenn, Director of Program, at lisa@newglobalcitizens.org

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