THE GLOBAL DIMENSION
Global education is the term used internationally to describe a form of education which:
- enables people to understand the links between their own lives and those of people throughout the world
- increases understanding of the economic, cultural, political and environmental influences which shape our lives
- develops the skills, attitudes and values which enable people to work together to bring about change and take control of their own lives
- works towards achieving a more just and sustainable world in which power and resources are more equitably shared
Most commonly teachers in the UK talk about the need for a global dimension in the curriculum and the ability, therefore, of students to take a global perspective on contemporary events and issues. This is different from the term ‘international’ which refers to connections between countries, as in ‘international relationships’. The key organising concept is interdependence which highlights the complex web of interrelationships existing between people, places, issues and events in the world today. Exploration of local-global connections is at the heart of global education, since these dimensions are inextricably related and relevant to all subject areas. See chapter 2 in Sustainable Schools, Sustainable Futures for more details [pdf18].
Global education places particular emphasis on curriculum process as well as content and is accordingly characterised by approaches to teaching and learning which are both experiential and participatory. It draws on two long-standing traditions within education. The first is concerned with learner-centred education and the development of the individual, the second focuses on the role that education can play in helping create a more just and equitable society. The emphasis in global education is therefore on both changing self and changing society for neither is possible without the other. For a history of these ideas in the UK see ‘Making global connections’ [pdf2]. Today Think Global provides an important forum for advice and debate on the global dimension in education.