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Helping Students Become Global Citizens

Posted on December 07, 2015

In a recent column of Education Week’s Global Learning column, Jason Harshman, Assistant Professor of Social Studies and Global Education at University of Iowa, writes about the three ways that educators can help students truly become global citizens: through reflection, action, and variation in the classroom.

Working with international literature can fit especially well into the reflection part of global citizenship education. When reading international literature, students may come upon ideas and practices that seem strange, different, or disturbing to them. Harshman writes that educators can remind their students that being uncomfortable with difference is an important part of the learning process. Indeed, what we strive for as global citizens is not to never feel uncomfortable, but to learn to restrain from judging when we do. Confronting the sometimes-unfamiliar worlds in international literature is a good way to practice this. 

Harshman suggests the following questions as part of the reflective process:

  • Whose perspective is missing?
  • What influences my global perspective and how does my perspective inform my decision making as an educator/student?

Read the full article for more thoughtful and powerful suggestions.