Constantly pushing on the pull door of life
I’ve always had a strong interest in Global Citizenship. In one of my first teaching posts I helped connect my school with schools in Zambia and Sierra Leone through shared projects and staff/pupil exchanges.
Working with senior school students we developed a 3-year project around the title “What is a home?” We felt this would give everyone a chance to research life in different counties and compare it to their own. As pupils from the various countries shared their learning I saw them develop a fresh understanding for their place in a Global society – but I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps we could have been doing more.
Whilst we were researching we found out a lot of information about some of the injustices that exist in all countries surrounding our theme. For example, human rights violations, people being exploited for extra money, lack of government support and affordable housing, homeless and the list goes on. We found that these issues were not just in other countries but could often be found here too!
Working on this global project I could see that our students were starting to develop greater awareness of themselves. They were more confident talking about global issues and their social subject teachers reported an increase in knowledge. Our most shy student helped to present an assembly on the project.
I found our students were beginning to question the injustices they found and become enraged by them. As we visited our partner countries we were then able to see and experience some of these for ourselves – but I felt we could have been doing more than just experiencing. Was it enough to just be aware of what was going on in the world to be a Global Citizen?
I knew the answer was no. My students knew the answer was no. I knew that for true Global Education we had to move from the soft empathetic understanding of what was going on to the deeper critical understanding that would drive us in taking action.
I was a young and inexperienced teacher at the time and lacked the required skills to do this. I knew that I wanted to develop Global Education further in my classroom and in such a way that would give pupils the skills to meet the challenges of living in a global connected society. As Curriculum for Excellence was being rolled out I was delighted to see that Global Education was to take a core role. I was able to see that with further professional development I could begin to include a larger global dimension within my teaching.
“At this time there are significant and substantial global challenges but there are also many opportunities which we should grasp to ensure that children and young people in Scotland develop the skills, knowledge and values to flourish and succeed as responsible global citizens”
Michael Russell MSP – Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning
I had begin to see the impact that a Global Education could have on students and I was keen to work on this further.