Not what you do, but who you are: shaping Global Citizens in schools

Is ‘Global Citizenship Education’ just another fad or tagline in international schools? Aren’t international school students by default Global Citizens, and if not what role does the school or teacher have in creating or shaping Global Citizens?

There are many questions surrounding the subject of what it means to be a Global Citizen and even more on what this might look like in the classroom.  This week we hear from d’Arcy Lunn, an expert on using the United Global Goals for Sustainable Development in schools and the founder of Teaspoons of Change- personal choices, decisions and actions that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

d’Arcy’s here to support us in navigating the muddy waters of Global Citizen Education.  From buzzwords to learning about bees in the classroom, he gives us valuable insight into how we can use Global Citizen Education to shape critically aware, 21st-century learners who are globally minded.

Blurb-dArcy-pic-3What is your background in Global Citizen Education?

d’Arcy: In the past 19 years I’ve been fortunate to travel to more than 90 countries working in aid and development with UNICEF, WHO, Gates Foundation and others as well as being a trained primary school teacher in Japanese! These components have led me to give over 1000 presentations to more than 100,000 people on global citizenship. The talks cover what it means to be a global citizen, especially an active and effective one.

Is Global Citizenship just a buzzword?

d’Arcy: “International schools, educators and students are striving to be plastic-free, have meaningful and effective community engagement, incorporate service into their classrooms and lessons and ultimately live up to many of their visions, missions and marketing slogans of internationally minded students or 21st-century learners. Global citizenship is not just a nice thing to say but something that holds real value to young learners, educators and school communities.”

Blurb-dArcy-pic-12What tools do you use to achieve this?

d’Arcy: “I use the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development as a collective context for any subject in the school that has a positive impact on people and the planet. That could be wellbeing and kindness programs, sustainability policies or a class learning about bees. I also make sure whatever positive change they might be involved with has both a personal and practical context, something I name Teaspoons of Change. Teaspoons of Change are personal choices, decisions and actions that have a positive impact on people and the planet creating positive change.” 

 How do you teach something that is a little difficult to define?

Blurb-dArcy-pic-5d’Arcy: “It’s about context. In any lesson, we should be able to move the lens out to think about what that might look like in a global context – relating to the Global Goals or the Goodlife Goals (a more practical and personal adaptation of the Global Goals). We should also enable students to bring this to a personal level and think about what it means to the individual learner and their choices and actions and how it fits into the world. For example, if we choose the subject of bees. If we look after bees and promote their environments what impact does that have on our global community and which Global Goals and targets might it be associated with? If we want to support the ecosystems of bees and having them thrive what can
we do at an individual level?”

What does success in Global Citizenship Education look like? 

d’Arcy: “The best successes of global citizenship education are when an educator or a whole school doesn’t make global citizenship as something they do but makes it a part of who they are.  Therefore there is very little explicit teaching of global citizenship, it isn’t just another subject or an extra burden for educators to have to put on their already-full plate. I see global citizenship as a wonderful lens that can be added to whatever educators and schools are doing already. It is adding value to their craft, rather than being an additional chore.” 

Blurb-dArcy-pic-10
Any advice for teachers and schools?

d’Arcy: “My first and highest recommendations for any educator and school wanting to dig a little deeper starts with a couple of questions: what is a global citizen? and are you a global citizen? From this point forward it will be a personal journey of discovering and thinking about what global citizenship actually means to you. To support that journey there a lot of great resources from good people doing good things with fun, accessible and welcoming approaches to integrate the lens of global citizenship education into their school, classroom and life:

  • Teaspoons of Change – some basic resources to gain some concepts and approaches to global citizenship
  • World’s Largest Lesson – one lesson each year for the whole world dedicated to learning about the Global Goals, plus a huge amount of lesson plans and resources
  • JUMP! Foundation – an experiential learning organisation that facilitates fun and inspiring learning opportunities around global citizenship
  • Goodlife Goals – a more personal and practical adaptation of the Global Goals to support easy integration of personal action in a global context.” 

Thanks d’Arcy for breaking it down for us into accessible and achievable actions. Teachers –we want to hear from you! How do you currently integrate the lens of Global Citizenship Education into your classroom? Please reach out to me at editor@teacherhorizons.com 

Written by Alexandra Plummer

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