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The Globalised Classroom – helping teenage learners become global citizens | Cambridge ConversationsCambridge Conversations

Ben Goldstein, co-author or Eyes Open and Uncover, joined us to host a professional development webinar focusing on how to help teenage learners to become globally competent, whilst understanding and defining what this concept means.

Ben began the webinar by introducing the three parts of ‘global competency’, an umbrella term established by the OECD. These involve the capacity:

  • to analyse global issues critically and from multiple perspectives.
  • to understand how differences affect perceptions, judgments and ideas of self and others.
  • to engage with others from different backgrounds on the basis of a shared respect for human dignity.

This began to encourage participants to think about ways to encourage global competency in the classroom and the importance of critical thinking and critical awareness from multiple perspectives.

Ben continued by introducing the three components of skills, knowledge and understanding, and attitudes and how these combine to contribute towards global knowledge, human respect and dignity, specifically in terms of developing an intercultural awareness: a reflection on your own culture in relation to others. Ben highlighted the importance of intercultural awareness as an intrinsic aspect of global competency in developing a familiarity with the most important issues which cut across national boundaries (including climate change, migration and poverty).

Ben asked participants to consider how to apply critical thinking to a global or intercultural problem. This requires recognising that your assumptions may influence the evaluation process, and an acknowledgment that your beliefs and judgments are dependent on your own cultural affiliation and perspective. Ben explained the importance of being aware of this and encouraged participants to think of tasks which foster global competence in the classroom both individually, and in groups.

This led onto considering the concept of the ‘cultural hybrid’ as reflective of global competency and the diverse world of today. Ben explored the idea of experiencing a conversation through multiple languages, and discovering cross-cultural experiences and the diversity of individuals through their stories and beliefs. This was explained further through the study of various images, and the assumptions and surprises which the audience feels when viewing them, including the idea of a stereotypically positive or negative association with a theme or a place.

Ben opened up the discussion to participants to gauge their thoughts and perceptions when viewing the images, and asked ‘what is surprising?’ and ‘what is unusual?’ about them. The theme of graffiti was explored as a potential classroom activity by encouraging students to compare different images/messages and asking for their opinions. Ben also suggested that students could take photos of graffiti in their community and share these in the classroom.

To conclude, Ben focused on ideas around cultural misconceptions, and how it can be beneficial to use photographs and captions to collate cultural impressions of cities and places. Ben encouraged participants to ask students to think about this and reflect on their culture from an outsider’s viewpoint, also highlighting the important of promoting the concept of valuing human dignity and diversity.

Watch the full recording below.

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