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The Importance of Teaching Global Education in the Classroom

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The Importance of Teaching Global Education in theClassroom

The United States Need for More Multicultural and GeographicalUnderstanding
From Xanthe Webb Aintablian

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Updated August 14, 2011

Surveys recently conducted by the National Geographic Society and the Asia Society shed light on a growing concern: the decline of multicultural awareness. Their studies show that U.S. students lack an understanding and knowledge of different people, places, and cultures around the world. The need has grown for the public to demand more rounded, higher-quality education for today's youth, and for teachers to understand the value and necessity of developing lessons based on global education. Ads k12 Online School Your Child Deserves an Outstanding Education, Discover K12 Today. ASU Online University Get The Exact Same Degree OnCampus Grads Receive. Apply Online Now! Want to Teach Special Ed? NCATE Accredited Bachelor or Master in Special Education. Apply Today! More Geography Ads Education Teacher Education Courses Teaching Education Math Education Schools Education Class The United States government tried to introduce and incorporate multiculturalism and global education into the system repeatedly since the 1980s Carlos Davila/Getty Images but was met with hostility and protests by many of its citizens. Many conservatives feel that global education introduces anti-Americanism, and that multiculturalism introduces and encourages "separatism and disunity" (Ho 1-2). Informing and introducing the general public to the benefits of global education, or cultural education in general, seems necessary in order to begin the process of raising better-informed and knowledgeable youth. If people's fears rest on the idea that learning about others' cultures will bring the downfall of the U.S., then it is of utmost importance to stress the true goal of global education: to raise a more knowledgeable generation that is better equipped to deal, communicate, understand, and help the rest of the world.

I think that there is more to what the teachers were trying to say (IAdvertisement hope so, anyway). Some textbooks are hyper focused on ethnic minorities and the majority is left out. It's out of balance and teachers may be reacting to that. These conclusions may be based on some misunderstandings.

Ashley G. Lucas, in an article distinguishing and teaching multicultural education and global education, remarks that many teachers have surprising ideas of what the purpose of multicultural education and global education is. Lucas states that many teachers who oversee primarily students of the ethnic majority do not see the need for cultural education because they view that type of education as primarily benefiting the minorities in a classroom-as a way to let them relate to or gain a sort of "hero" (Lucas 2). Lucas and many other scholars are extremely surprised by this line of thinking from educators and push for the concept that all races and cultures benefit from learning about less familiar ones. The mode of thinking that relates cultural education with only benefiting minorities draws attention to the misconception of minorities not "fitting in" to the mainstream, U.S. schools, and only being able to associate with someone just like them. When we stop both methods of ignoring and treating minorities differently with teaching, and start teaching every student with the same standard of global education, we will produce a more unified and accepting society. Peter Stearn discusses U.S. students and how they, whether behind the world standard in cultural and geographic understanding or not, will need to be increasingly aware and knowledgeable of up and coming world super powers within the next several years. He comments on the need for U.S. citizens to get used to the idea that their country will not be the

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The Importance of Teaching Global Education in the Classroom

only world economic superpower anymore, and that a better understanding of other countries, especially those on the rise, will lead to a more prosperous economy and financial stability (Stearn 1). It is important to stress the importance though, of not only learning about the cultures or countries that could benefit you directly or Ads financially. When teaching students global education, Grants for Women they should understand that the best motivation should come from learning and knowledge itself, not You May Qualify for Grants to Earn a just personal gain. Degree Online. Search Schools. Printable Chore Charts Family Friendly & Free! "Love It." 300K+ Users. Easy & Customizable. One very important tool to be utilized in global education is through reading. Literature has the capacity for playing a large role in global education. While the classic or "canon" literature that is already read in school should stay, it should be put into separate units of teaching, allowing for an expansion of literature that incorporates books that teach about different cultures through the eyes and voices of those belonging to a different culture.

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Linda Milanese Kerschner describes in her work, "Teaching World Literature: Preparing Global Citizens," how teaching "world literature" will play a vital tool in this specific process of education. Kerschner informs us of a high school where a world culture & history class is taught in ninth grade alongside a world literature class; the two courses coincide with each other and reinforce the principles and information learned in the other class. The students are then required in their literature class to reflect and write about their reactions and cultural connections (76-77). I believe that their success in incorporating global learning is largely due to the fact that they have set these requirements at a young age. However, I think it is important to clarify that global literature and the principles of cultural acceptance is a long process that should be incorporated and taught in classrooms throughout all ages and grades. The middle school/early secondary school grades, the eighth and ninth grades, are an excellent time in a child's development to start incorporating larger courses and requirements for global learning and literature. To sum up what Kerschner's observations were of the school applying global education, she says when we allow "native authors to speak for their cultures" we are allowing a credible voice to depict for us the messages and values that their culture emits, as opposed to, however scholarly or valuable, a mind very similar to ours observing as an outsider to another culture (78). To illustrate this point, I call attention to the classic example of reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad in a unit that teaches about the continent of Africa. Both the author and the novel are a classic, and one of the best descriptions and accounts of colonized Africa; however, it should be taught concurrently with a novel from the perspective and account of a local or native, such as Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Using literature written by a culture's local authors, such as Achebe's Things Fall Apart, opens new doors for students to experience memorable and new information - information that will help their generation grow into a more accepting, more financially viable, more communicative, and more helpful and understanding nation.

Information that will help them change Lucas, Ashley G. "Distinguishing Between Multicultural and Global Education: The Challenge of their world for the Conceptualizing and Addressing the Two Fields." Clearing House 83.6 (2010): 211-216. Academic better! Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 24 Jan. 2011.
Ho, Li-Ching. "Global Multicultural Citizenship Education: A Singapore Experience." Social Studies 100.6 (2009): 285-293. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 25 Jan. 2011. Stearn, Peter N. "Global Education & Liberal Education." Liberal Education 96.3 (2010): 18-23. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 25 Jan. 2011. Geographic Education Geographic Education Revival Making the Case for Geography in Our Schools Additional Teaching Geography Resources Related Articles Tweens with ADHD and Learning Disabilities -[3/2/13 10:35:53 AM]

Running Head: Cadre 21 Global Learn

Global Learning Reaction Paper Jennifer Freeman Azusa Pacific University

Running Head: Cadre 21Global Learn

It was a surprise to learn, according to The Importance of Teaching Global Education in the Classroom, a 2011 article written by Xanthe Webb Aintablian, that there is a decline in student multicultural awareness based on recent surveys conducted by the National Geographic Society and Asia Society. One would expect that greater use of the World Wide Web in classrooms and homes would lead to a greater sense of multicultural awareness. An explanation for this anomaly could be that much of the time, student Internet use is limited to social websites and games that provide limited access to useful information. Whatever the reason for the lack of awareness in students, I agree that the author establishes that there is a serious need for global awareness in todays classrooms. Xanthe (2011) adds that since the 80s, teachers and the conservative public have not supported global awareness. I believe that this suggests that those individuals are misunderstanding what global awareness entails or that they are reacting to the misconception that teaching global awareness means that educators should introduce children to foreign cultures while purposefully ignoring our own. Another key point that Xanthe (2011) makes is that authentic quality literature from authors around the world is a powerful method for connecting students to the rest of the globe. I agree, but am extremely surprised that the she has no other suggestions for how to remedy the decline of multicultural awareness in our classrooms nations. I now realize that integrating multicultural literature is only one tiny step toward changing


Running Head: Cadre 21 Global Learn student awareness of the world!

In conclusion, I agree with the authors statement that teaching every student with the same standard of global education, instead of ignoring and treating minorities differently, will produce a more unified and accepting society, (Xanthe, 2011). However, new literature choices is an unsatisfactory remedy to this important issue! Saw, Abbot, Donaghey, and McDonald (2012) found that it is vital for educators to help students use online resources to work collaboratively to gather information. Using technology to authentically connect students around the planet will help us build multicultural awareness and prepare students for a successful future!

Running Head: Cadre 21 Global Learn.

References Aintablian, X. (2011, August 14). The Importance of Teaching Global Education in the Classroom. Retrieved from

Saw, G., Abbott, W., Donaghey, J., McDonald, C. (2012). Social Media for International Students: Its Not All About Facebook. Purdue e-pubs. Retrieved from, 1.

Peters, L., & Peters, F. (2010). Global education, using technology to bring the world to your students. Washington DC: Intl Society for Technology in educ.