Wednesday, 16 March 2016

40 Ways to Teach About Global Education and Empower Globally Competent Youth

In our increasingly connected world and global economy, it is more important than ever to equip and empower youth with the skills and knowledge to be globally competent. They need to be taught how to learn about, communicate with and take part in their local, national and global communities.

Successful high school graduates should be able to demonstrate excellent communication skills, empathy, critical media literacy, cultural sensitivity and collaboration. They should have an understanding of the history of their own cultures and the world. They should know how to effectively use maps, charts and graphs to learn information about geography. They should be eager to share their stories and learn the stories of others, with open hearts and minds.

How can you empower youth with global competencies?

Share Enlightening, Inspiring Content

Connect Your Class With Other Classes
  • One of the most powerful ways for kids to learn is from other kids. If you can, connect your students with students from around the world.
  • Skype in the Classroom helps you connect with other classes, experts and virtual field trips. If you haven't tried a Mystery Skype yet, you have to sign up!
  • The Global Read Aloud, run by my incredible friend, Pernille, unites classrooms around the world, as they read the same book (there are choices based on student age) every fall. 
  • Connect with Pen Pals. Start with reading the book Same Same But Different and brainstorm ways you and your students can find Pen Pals (Snail Mail or digital)

Participate in Global Initiatives
  • In October, Stand Up for Girls. Learn about why so many girls around the world are not given an opportunity to have an education, and demonstrate your support for them by literally standing up for girls.

Learn About the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Share and post the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in child friendly language, in your classroom. 
  • Illustrate and write about what each of the rights mean to you and your students. Years ago, I did a project where I collected drawings depicting the rights here in Canada and then had students in Lesotho, Africa, draw their representations as well. 
  • If You Could Wear My Sneakers - funny poems based on the articles in the UN Convention
  • For Every Child - beautifully illustrated depictions of the Rights
  • I Have the Right to Be a Child - simple, colourful book exploring all childrens' rights. 

Learn About Micro Loans
  • Read the book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
  • Fundraise $25 (or $50 or $100...) and, as a class, invest in a real person. Visit Kiva.org and start a lending profile. You will be able to relend your loan over and over and over! My students and I have put under $175 into our account and that has allowed us to lend over $1000! 

Read Amazing Stories in Picture Books 
There are many incredible picture books that help tell the story of children around the world. Here are just a few that I love:
  • Iqbal and Malala - The stories of an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl who demanded education and faced incredible violence from adults as a response. These stories open a students' eyes to how differently education is valued around the world.
  • It's Back to School We Go: First Day Stories
  • Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words - by now, you surely know about Malala, the youngest every recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. This book is, "a testament to the power of education to change the world for boys and girls everywhere."
  • Nasreen's Secret School 
    • "Young Nasreen has not spoken a word to anyone since her parents disappeared. In despair, her grandmother risks everyone to enroll Nasreen in a secret school for girls. Will a devoted teacher, a new friend and the worlds she discovers in books be enough to draw Nasreen out of her shell of sadness?"
    • There is a video of this book being read available on Youtube
  • Rain School - I was introduced to this story by one of my Bachelor of Education students who created a whole day plan based on this beautiful book. (Video here)
    • "It's the first day of school in Chad, Africa. Children are filling the road. 'Will they give us a notebook?' Thomas asks. 'Will they give us a pencil? Will I learn to read?' But when he and the other children arrive at the schoolyard, they find no classroom, no desks. Just a teacher. 'We will build our school,' she says. 'This is our first lesson.'"
  • Waiting for the Biblioburro
    • "Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village, there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight; a travelling library resting on the backs of two burros (donkeys) - all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own."

Learn About the Lives of Children Around the World Through Gorgeous Photographye
Again, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Here are just a few that I love:

Share Your Stories
  • On your class blog, share what a day in life of your students looks like - use pictures, videos and/or writing.
  • Share your learning, projects and adventures on a class Twitter account.
  • Make videos and have a class Youtube channel to tell your learning stories.
  • Respond to people's comments, visit their projects and learn together.

Show Your Students That They Can Make an Impact
From Amy Poehler's Smart Girls
  • Share stories of kids changing the world (including this list from 2012 and these projects by awesome young humans) 
  • Fill some free time in the classroom by practicing your vocabulary or times tables (or a number of other topics) and, for every correct answer, the World Food Program gets rice to give to people in need. Play FreeRice!
  • Set up a class account on We Give Books. For every book your your students read online (extra awesomeness for reading with younger or older Reading Buddies!), Penguin donates books to children who need them!
  • Ask your students what problems they want to solve and be a Collaborative Curator to support them. Curate great information and collaborate with them to make a plan!


How do you empower your students and help them become globally competent? Share your ideas below!

This post was inspired by this tweet:
Thanks for spurring me into action, Sylvia! 

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