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What is global education?
Global Education

There are many definitions of global education, and the definitions themselves are a source of rich discussion and debate. This definition was written by the World Studies Trust at the beginning of the Global Teacher Project.

Global Education is not a subject, but a dimension that runs through the curriculum, an extra filter to help children make sense of all the information and opinion the world is throwing at them. It combines methodology - active and experiential discussion based activities, a caring, co-operative and open outlook on the classroom experience, and core concerns- finding out about all the cultures of the UK and of other countries and groups, about the causes of poverty and inequality (here as well as in other countries) and about the environment.
Global Education is a way of approaching everything we teach and how we teach it. It broadens horizons and encourages exploration of all subjects from a global perspective. It contributes to the whole curriculum and enhances our understanding of the world.

Global Education stimulates curiosity, motivates learning, and thus contributes to the raising of standards

Global Education studies different cultures and countries and the issues that face them, and develops an understanding of the impact our actions have on them

Global Education reflects the global nature of our society and responds to the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the children in the classroom. It recognises the entitlement of those children to receive an education which reflects this diversity

Global Education recognises the importance of expanding the horizons of children who live in less diverse communities

Global Education develops skills and attitudes which enable people to take responsibility for their own lives and the world we live in and become active global citizens

Global Education looks at the ways in which every-day life and experience affect and are affected by the wider world
Global education is as much about the relationships within a classroom as it is about relationships between countries.

Clarifying 'global' terminology

By David Hicks

Professor David Hicks, a Trustee of the World Studies Trust and professor at Bath Spa University College has written at length on global education. In this extract from his article Thirty Years of Global Education: a reminder of key principles and precedents, (2003, Educational Review, Routledge) he outlines some of the key ideas and concepts of global education:

Global education
The term used internationally to designate the academic field concerned with teaching and learning about global issues, events and perspectives. NB. During the 70s-80s this field was known as world studies in the UK.

Development education
Originated with the work of NGOs that were concerned about issues of development and North-south relationships. Focus of concern has widened to embrace other global issues but development remains the core concept.

Global dimension
Refers to the curriculum taken as a whole and the ethos of a school; those subject elements and cross-curricular concerns that focus on global inter-dependence, issues and events.

Global perspective
What we want students to achieve as a result of having a global dimension in the curriculum; in the plural refers to the fact that there are different cultural and political perspectives on global matters.

International dimension
Literally 'between countries' - as in international relationships; also refers to the study of a particular concern, e.g. education, as it manifests in different countries. NB. International refers to the 'parts' and 'global' to the whole.

Global citizenship
That part of the Citizenship curriculum which refers to global issues, events and perspectives; also being or feeling a citizen of the global community (as well as cultural or national communities).

The innumerable interconnections - economic, cultural, technological, political - which bind the local and national into the global community; the consequence of neo-liberal economic policies which see everything, including education, as a commodity to be sold in the global market place.

A conceptual sequence
In disentangling some of these key concepts the operational sequence for global education would be:

· the primary concern is to promote a global dimension in the curriculum
· in order that students can take a global perspective on issues and trends
· citizenship and ESD are two 'new' areas where this is highly relevant
· a global dimension should also be present in different subject areas
· it can be developed in appropriate ways for different age phases