Globalizing our students….

Newsweek published an article on July 18 titled – How to Raise a Global Kid.  The article featured several sets of parents who have made the choice to raise their children in foreign countries and asked the question – “are we doing enough to raise “global” kids?”

It posed an interesting debate filled with lots of statistics about Western children and schooling and notion that schools in America and other “Western” countries are not doing enough to enough to make sure that students are globally educated.  It further goes on showcase how some families are taking it upon themselves to make sure their children are “globalized.”

Now, the article does make a point to let the readers know that these families have the resources and the means to uplift their families for lengthy periods a time and move abroad, a luxury that most of us do not have. And while the notion is nice, it is not a realistic reality for most.  However, it did make me wonder what I can do as an educator and a parent to better “globalize” my children and my students.

The reality is, for many families a vacation is a luxury and a vacation outside of their country is an extreme luxury, so what can be done to make sure that kids are exposed to cultures that are quite different from their own?  I say we turn once again to technology.

In a world that is so big, the internet makes us very small.  we have access to so much at the tip of our fingertips – if we know where to look.  As educators, there are endless options to resources to provide students with ways to experience different cultures besides simply typing in “China” or “Guyana” in a search engine.

  • Global School Net is a great site that allows teachers to participate or create a project that connects your classroom to classrooms around the country and world.
  • Iearn is another similar site that does the same – connecting classrooms and projects and creating libraries of student work and activities from the student point of view.
  • The Great American Mail Race is also a fun way for students to learn about different parts of the USA by simply mailing a letter to schools around the country.  Its simple enough and very interesting for students to get to know their own country, especially when you consider the fact that many kids never leave their town. (I mean, I have students who have never left their block in NYC!)
  • Penpals is also a quick way to link with one school in one country and provide the students with the opportunity to globally connect

Now, I know that these are no where near the immersion that you get when you live in another country but it is a start.  Students have access to other students from places far away from their cultures and norms and it does provide insight into live outside of their town.

So, what if technology is limited in your school – well then I would encourage educators to look to their museums and local resources to see how you can bring culture into the classroom face to face.

In, NYC and LA the Japanese Consulate will come and do a presentation on Japanese Culture.

Another option is Amnesty  International which is a great way for older to students to learn about Humanitarian issues and participate first hand in the struggle.

Of course, there is always the visits to the museum and other cultural institutions in your area if you are fortunate to have them.

So, while I can’t provide my students (or my kids) the opportunity to see this;

Newfoundland’s Goose Cove Iceberg in Harbor

or this;

A clay statue at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta in Yogyakarta

I can at least make sure I begin to connect them to the global world through technology and in my own small ways try to keep up with the kids of parents who are “globalizing” their kids through immersion.


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