The older I get, the more I understand how our world is connected. I was fortunate to live in Argentina for two years between high school and college and that influenced my sense of a global community, and my current international journeys fortify my sense of interconnectedness.

President Obama in his recent Rutgers University commencement addresses stated, “The world is more interconnected than ever before, and it’s becoming more connected every day.”

It is impossible to ignore that what happens in one part of our planet impacts (positively or negatively) another part.  For example, new technology inventions quickly move from nation to nation, medical research in one nation is quickly adopted/adapted by others, earthquakes in South America can cause a tsunami in Hawaii, a virus contacted in one nation or continent can quickly spread to another and economic challenges faced by one nation has implications for many others.

As I travel, I use web-based resources such as TripAdvisor that is populated by travelers from all countries, as I work with schools I have participated in cross-nation education and cultural exchanges and through Twitter, Facebook and other technologies I interact with educators throughout the world.  I am sure each reader can quickly identify a dozen or more resources and strategies they use that engage individuals, organizations, networks and nations.  No longer is isolation even a possibility as we have created habits of interconnectedness beyond nation’s borders.

This got me to thinking about how we are engaging our students to acquire and enhance global citizenship knowledge, skills and dispositions.  Upon review of a few district and school mission statements, I find statements focusing on preparing graduates to be citizens of the world, here are some exerts:

  • Engaged with the broader world
  • Foster development of citizens who will be productive in a diverse global society
  • Prepare all learners for productive engagement in a global society
  • As well as the emotional intelligences needed to be active and responsible global citizens

While each of these statements is a bit different, they focus on the common expectation that successful graduates will have global citizenship attributes.  So, I wonder how we are doing as a nation to ensure our graduates are capable of not just existing in but leading in a more connected world.

I offer the following questions for education stakeholders to consider as we expect our youth to be active principled global citizens.

  1. Why should we encourage global citizenship development?
  2. How do we define and measure global citizenship knowledge, skills and dispositions?
  3. At what ages and in which classes should we incorporate global citizenship?
  4. What professional development is necessary to ensure our teachers are effective in the area of global citizenship?
  5. What strategies currently exist in our school(s) we can adopt, adapt and expand for global citizenship?
  6. What community-based resources (including individuals) can we engage in our global citizenship efforts?
  7. How do we share our global citizenship progress and success with parents, families and the community?

As we answer these and other relevant questions let’s also engage our students; their sense of global citizenship and connectedness will greatly contribute to our deliberations and decisions to make global citizenship an attribute of each of our graduates.

Terry Pickeral
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Terry Pickeral

Terry Pickeral, has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations, evaluation and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.
Terry Pickeral
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