The Islands in Our Minds: Reaffirming Global Citizenship Education.

Author:Mendez Pagan, E. David
Position:Global Citizenship issue
 
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It is the right time! Indeed, this is the right time to reaffirm global citizenship education and to encourage educators around the world to revisit their curricula and transform classrooms in order to foster the development of global citizens. We are witnessing a surge of groups that follow ideals that are incompatible with a concrete reality: our world is interrelated, interconnected and interdependent. These groups are now challenging the work and efforts of global educators, advocates, policymakers, writers and conscious citizens.

It seems to me that there are individuals who do not value the principles that provide the foundation for the development of global citizens. They validate their ideas and actions based on experiences resulting from isolation, lack of exposure to world views and lack of access to unbiased information and diverse opinions. It is possible that these factors have facilitated the establishment of "restrictive islands" in their minds, limiting their understanding of our world. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that education is a powerful tool that allows us to open and expand people's minds and helps them to become responsible global citizens.

We have arrived at a point when educators need to reflect on their role as global citizenship advocates and facilitators. A conscientious introspection can help us to determine if there are any insular viewpoints or "islands" in our own minds that need to be addressed for us to become efficient global educators and to effectively transform today's students.

Educators must engage in a three-step process. First, we must continuously empower ourselves with knowledge and experiences regarding local and global realities and challenges. The resulting empowerment should drive us to examine and reflect on our ideas and opinions about the development of educated and responsible global citizens. Second, we need to think about the current generation of students. We need to plan courses and develop pedagogical strategies that will result in exciting and challenging classes and learning environments. Such strategies must take into consideration a new generation of curious and vocal students who integrate technology as their primary learning tool. Consequently, technology becomes a necessary teaching and learning resource that can motivate students to engage and think critically about various issues and information, while interacting with their peers, educators and well-informed groups...

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