Essay: Defining Global Education

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Education

Defining Global Education

Teachers constantly find themselves wandering in an apparently continual sea of school reform literature and policies. Furthermore, the frequently unfriendly, and more and more politicized public debates about educational issues add to the feelings of helplessness and frustration experienced by a lot of classroom practitioners, particularly those working in large, urban settings. And if teaching wasn't challenging enough, these practitioners face supplementary challenges, like poverty, hostility, overcapacity, and huge bureaucracies, which drain valuable energy from the main goal of opening students' minds. Teachers are more and more being mandated to address societal issues and multifaceted global problems in their classrooms. The issues of poverty, crime, drugs and family dynamics are far beyond the school's means to resolve. Yet, they generate a high level of stress for both teachers and students, with an irrefutable impact on what does, or doesn't, happen in class. Unfortunately, two of the major disciplines teachers have to tackle are often at odds in United States society. These disciplines are multicultural education and global education (Baker, 1999).

Global Education

Global Education is an educational viewpoint which comes from the idea that modern people live and interact in a more and more globalized world. Subjects like fair trade, sustainability and poverty often take center stage. The idea brings into focus social and political connections and tries to raise an energetic consciousness of structural resemblance, dissimilarity and unfairness. Global Education enables students to reach a global viewpoint and see conditions and problems in an international and holistic context. Students should be motivated to replicate their identity and lifestyle and assume responsibility (Global Education, 2010). According to Paolo Freire, education should involve a shift in world view, as people learn to their whole world from a different perspective (Cooper, 1995).

Global education is an education perception which comes from the idea that modern people live and interrelate in a more and more globalized world. This makes it vital for education to give learners the occasion and competences to reflect and share their own point-of-view and role within an international, unified society, as well as to comprehend and discuss multifaceted relationships of common social, ecological, political and economic issues, so as to develop new ways of thinking and acting. Yet, global education should not be offered as an advance that everyone may accept uncritically, since it is already known that there are predicaments, tensions, doubts and different insights in an education process when dealing with worldwide issues (What is global education, n.d.).

Global education is about implementing the vision required to move to a model of partnership between peoples, cultures and religions at micro and macro levels. Transformative learning by way of global education entails a profound, structural move in the fundamental premises of thoughts, feelings and actions. It is an education for the intellect as well as for the heart. This involves a fundamental change towards interconnectedness and creates opportunities for achieving more fairness, social justice, understanding and collaboration amongst peoples. Three main stages of transformative learning are strongly connected to global education:

An investigation of the present world circumstances

A vision of what alternatives to leading models might look like

A progression of change towards accountable global citizenship (What is global education, n.d.).

Global education as transformative learning implies participatory decision-making processes at all these stages. The objective of this kind of learning is to promote joint knowledge and communal self-awareness. Global education challenges greed, disparity and egocentrism through collaboration and unity instead of dividing people through opposition, disagreement, fear and hatred. Global education as transformative learning provides a way to make changes at local levels to pressure the global in the sense of building citizenship through participatory policies and methods, so that people learn by taking responsibilities that cannot be left only to governments and other decision makers. "At both micro and macro levels global education brings together the agendas of different fields of education: Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention, Intercultural and Interfaith Education, the global dimension of Education for Citizenship etc. - in order to define the common grounds of global education" (What is global education, n.d.). This will generate a real impact on both formal education and non-formal education, which has an enormous role to play in bringing people towards a wider understanding of their real power to shape the future.

But global education is not only about global subjects, world troubles and how to find resolutions all together. It is also about how to foresee a general future with better life conditions for all, linking local and global perspectives, and how to make this vision real and possible, starting from a small spot in the world. Transformative learning allows people to form a common vision for a more just, sustainable world for all. A focus on the kind of future that is wanted is therefore vital in such a transformative vision. Global education can add to the visioning process, but it can also play a role in the formation of new methods where social movements and non-formal learning processes are necessary as they make room for principles, issues and advances not central to official learning and give voice to all people, including the marginalized ones. By shifting the focal point onto the transformation from a culture of reproduction and supremacy to one of partnership based on dialogue and cooperation, global education modifies established global economy rules by reinstating human dignity as an innermost value (What is global education, n.d.).

The purpose of global education is to promote long-term human survival by developing greater respect for and cooperation between fellow human beings and greater concern for the environment on which all people depend for their very survival. "A rationale for global education is offered, and suggests that content be structured around five basic themes: (1) global interdependence; (2) human resources, values, and culture; (3) the global environment and natural resources; (4) global peace and conflict management; and (5) change and alternative futures" (Global Education Guidelines, 2010).

Multicultural Education

There are many different views as to what multicultural education really is. Some talk about multicultural education as a move in curriculum, perhaps as easy as adding new and varied materials and viewpoints to be more comprehensive of traditionally underrepresented groups. Others talk about classroom climate issues or teaching styles. Still others center on institutional and universal issues such as tracking, standardized testing, or funding inconsistencies. Some go even farther, insisting on education alteration as part of a larger societal transformation in which people more closely discover and criticize the repressive foundations of the world and how education serves to uphold the status quo (Gorski, 2010).

Despite differing conceptualizations of multicultural education, several shared ideals provide a basis for its understanding. While some center on individual students or teachers, and others are much more macro in extent these ideals are all, at their roots, about transformation:

Every student must have an equal opportunity to achieve to her or his full potential.

Every student must be prepared to competently participate in an increasingly intercultural society.

Teachers must be prepared to effectively facilitate learning for every individual student, no matter how culturally similar or different from her- or himself.

Schools must be active participants in ending oppression of all types, first by ending oppression within their own walls, then by producing socially and critically active and aware students.

Education must become more fully student-centered and inclusive of the voices and experiences of the students.

Educators, activists, and others must take a more active role in reexamining all educational practices and how they affect the learning of all students: assessment methods, pedagogies, school psychology and counseling practices, educational materials and textbooks, and so on (Gorski, 2010).

The purpose of multicultural education include developing student understanding and appreciation of various racial and ethnic groups, correcting misconceptions of the cultures and histories of ethnic groups, removing racial and ethnic prejudices, and including existing ethnic cultures into the mainstream of American socioeconomic and political life. In the most general sense, multicultural education is an approach to teaching that values diversity in the classroom -- diversity in content, methods, perspectives, educators, students, and cultures. Being a multicultural educator means embracing your students' and others' cultural diversity as a means of nurturing your students' academic and personal growth (Multicultural Education, n.d.).

Differences between Global Education and Multicultural Education

Global education is concerned with concerns and problems connected to the survival of human beings in a world area. International studies is a part of global education, but the center of global education is the interdependence of human beings and their universal fate, in spite of the national boundaries within which they live. A lot of people confuse global education and international studies with ethnic studies, which deal with ethnic groups inside a national boundary, such as the United States. Each year the fate of all peoples become ever more closely tangled. Human concerns become global issues as people search for work, obtain resources, access… [END OF PREVIEW]

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