In December, last year I was honored to be named in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014. The bloggers on this list have been asked to contribute to Huffington Post’s Education blogs for 2015. This month we look to answer the following highly controversial question “What are the best ways for a teacher to engage their classroom in a global conversation?” – here is my response:
I class myself as a global educator. An educator that, not only teaches in a global setting but educates students that have a global mindset.
My students come from an international background, for most, living in a country that is not “home”. But that is not what makes their learning “global”. It is the engaging global lessons and activities that their teachers provide.
Learning stems from engagement and if students are engaged in what they are doing they are going to learn – FACT!
A global connection makes learning more engaging, and I can promise you that from first-hand experience.
Image Source: http://digitallanguagelearning.blogspot.com/
Here are my top 5 ways for engaging students in a global conversation:
- Be honest and open – discuss global issues through effective questioning. Depending on the age of the students, these conversations can be as deep as you think is necessary but the more open and honest the conversations are, the deeper the learning becomes and the more engrained the global mindset becomes as a positive way of making a difference in the life’s of others. When having discussions about global events and issues, I always ask my students one question, “What can we do to help?” The conversation extends from there …
- Connect them with experts from around the globe. One of the main messages I share when I work with educators is that they no longer need to be the expert as they have in years gone by. I encourage them to say “I don’t know, but let’s go find out”. I believe that this is where true learning happens. From this exploration is where students can find experts that they want to connect with to support them in their learning.
- Connect them with students from around the globe. For the same reasons I encourage student voice in my classroom to find experts, you can find other students. Students learn a lot from each other. Imagine learning about culture and religion from real people the same age, somewhere else around the world. Time zones don’t have to be a barrier, create mini Skype videos or share videos via Google drive or dropbox. I have done this with a range of ages from 5-year-olds to 15-year-olds. The learning experiences are real and engaging.
- Give them a voice and encourage them to ‘make a difference’. Another amazing way to engage students is to encourage them to make a difference by giving them a voice and a choice. Develop empathy with your students to create open and honest discussions that will lead to the ultimate goal of doing something to make a difference.
- Support a charity, ask what needs to be done or even better go and do something about it! My school has just started its own chapter of Habitat for Humanity because students saw the need after a field trip to a local village in Indonesia. No matter how big or how small, students can make a difference in the support of a charity.
Real learning comes from real experiences, whether they are digital or physical, students need them, so open up the doors, break down the boundaries and connect your students to the world. The world is our classroom!