Getting Started with Global Learning in Geography
The World-Class Teaching programme aimed to improve teachers’ capacity to bring Global Learning into the classroom, developing quality teaching and learning materials for their specific subjects, worthy of Ofsted ‘outstanding’ rating.
A recent UNESCO study recognizes that although Global Education in different countries and communities is offered in different ways, it nevertheless has a number of uniting elements. The most important among these is fostering in learners:
- an attitude supported by an understanding of multiple levels of identity and the potential for a “collective identity” which transcends individual, cultural, religious, ethnic or other differences;
- a deep knowledge of global issues and universal values such as justice, equality, dignity and respect;
- cognitive skills to think critically, systemically and creatively, including adopting multiple perspectives;
- an approach that recognizes the different dimensions, perspectives and angles of issues;
- non-cognitive skills including social skills such as, empathy, conflict resolution and communication;
- skills and aptitudes for networking and interacting with people of different backgrounds, origins, cultures and perspectives;
- behavioural capacities to act collaboratively and responsibly to find global solutions for global challenges and to strive for the collective good.
From: Global Citizenship Education, Preparing learners for the challenges of the twenty-first century, UNESCO, 2014.
Global Education is an education perspective which arises from the fact that contemporary people live and interact in an increasingly globalised world. This makes it crucial for education to give learners the opportunity and competences to reflect and share their own point of view and role within a global, interconnected society, as well as to understand and discuss complex relationships of common social, ecological, political and economic issues, so as to derive new ways of thinking and acting. However, Global Education should not be presented as an approach that we may all accept uncritically, since we already know there are dilemmas, tensions, doubts and different perceptions in an education process when dealing with global issues.
There are many definitions of Global Education. The Maastricht Global Education declaration (2002) states:
- Global Education is education that opens peoples’ eyes and minds to the realities of the globalised world and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and Human Rights for all.
- Global Education is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; being the global dimension of Education for Citizenship
(From: Global Education Guidelines: The Council of Europe).
Themes from the World Class Teaching Global Learning Framework such as: Sustainable Development; Natural Resources; Production and Consumption; Food and Agriculture; Peace and Conflict Resolution; Political Power, Democracy and Human Rights, the Global Economy and International Trade; Migration; and Diversity and Intercultural Relations could be explored through certain elements identified in the programme of study for Geography.
Within a framework of Global Learning there are key knowledge elements which are particularly pertinent to the teaching of Geography, namely:
- understanding of the causes of inequalities in the world, and what it looks like, including within and between nations; and covering areas such as economic development, food, health and education;
- understanding of the consequences of these inequalities in terms of access to resources and resultant issues that may arise;
- recognition and understanding that people have different lifestyles around the world and that there are varying interpretations and perceptions of wealth and poverty and what is perceived to be a ‘good life’;
- understanding the contexts and influences, particularly social, political and historical, in countries and regions in the world that are experiencing economic hardship;
- learning about policies, programmes and interpretations of sustainable development and their relevance and impact on countries and peoples around the world;
- learning about the social, economic, cultural and political impact of globalisation, particularly to areas such as personal and political identity, migration and movements of people, and the impact of global economic forces on poorer countries and peoples.
Underpinning these elements is the importance of including a real world context within the subject (see also the Global Learning Programme England and the Geographical Association).
This Handbook provides a sample of ideas from the categories outlined in the National Curriculum. It is hoped that this will model a process of curriculum development which can be applied to other themes and topics and result in Global Learning being systematically embedded in subject teaching.
The Geography Curriculum offers a real opportunity for teachers to enhance student learning by the integration of global issues in their teaching. The emphasis on understanding the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time, as stated in the aims, provides a clear context for Global Learning. Further opportunities could be explored in geographical skills linked to data analysis and interpretation.
- extend students’ locational knowledge and deepen their spatial awareness of the world’s countries using maps of the world to focus on Africa, South and East Asia (including China and India), the Middle East and Russia, focusing on their environmental regions, including polar and hot deserts, key physical and human characteristics, countries and major cities
- understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region or area within Africa and a region or area within Asia
- understand, through the use of detailed place-based exemplars at a variety of scales, the key processes in human geography relating to: population, international development, economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors, urbanisation, and the use of natural resources
- understand how human and physical processes interact to have an impact on and form distinctive landscapes
- use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to view, analyse and interpret places and data
- use fieldwork to collect, analyse and draw conclusions from geographical data, using multiple sources of increasingly complex information