Promoting International Mindedness in Schools

Nov 06, 2023
Promoting international mindedness Edmentum International Article

We live in a multicultural world where global policies impact us all. The increased interconnectedness means the need to embed a global outlook is more significant than ever. In particular, schools and students could benefit from an enhanced understanding of international mindedness and global citizenship.

How Can Parents Encourage an International Mindset?

Building international or global mindedness can empower learners to assume active roles locally and globally. Children and parents will build skills for empathy, tolerance, and inclusivity while recognizing the world around them.

This mindset links to their development as whole learners, where they become more rounded individuals, which sets up their futures for success.

How to Foster International Mindedness in School

To define international mindedness, we can draw on a quote from Mike Bostwick, Executive Director of Katoh Gakuen Bilingual School in Japan.

Mike says, “At the heart of international-mindedness is a frame of mind; a curiosity about the world, an openness towards things ‘other’, and a profound appreciation of the complexity of our world and our relationships to each other. You don’t have to be in an international context to develop this kind of mindset.”

There are many benefits to enhancing students’ international mindedness. Among them is an increased awareness of the world they will grow up in and an ability to think globally to excel in an internationally focused environment.

Some careers do not even exist yet, and future students will have to tackle global cross-border issues such as plastics or economic changes, which require responses from many different views. In this way, enabling learners to see that they are global citizens is important.

How do we instill and encourage students’ international mindedness?

Read our points below to support your endeavors with promoting international mindedness in your school and educating your students about global citizenship.

1. Utilize Your School’s Vision and Values

Develop a vision outlining how your school will embed international mindedness and produce a set of values that promotes cultural understanding. Amendments to your school’s vision and values can support you in imparting an ethic of cultural awareness. When these are carried out in practice, they can be powerful in promoting international mindedness.

By embedding such principles into your school’s core vision and values, you can better encourage school management to deliver on their demands. Management’s support will also be critical here.

2. Integrate Technology and Encourage Digital Citizenship

Technology plays a significant role in improving international mindedness, as more than half the world’s population operates online.

Many fields of work bring the best talent from every corner of the world to solve global problems. By utilizing technology, they can work together easily despite being across borders. To work with different people worldwide, today’s students need to be digitally articulate and technologically ethical. Experience with technology will set them up for success.

3. Relate Topics to the World we Live in Today

Remember to keep diversity in mind when teaching subjects at school. Make adaptations to the topics you’re teaching to ensure students feel that the content they are studying relates to the world we live in today.

A consciously constructed curriculum can support students in learning about diverse cultures and reflecting on international and multicultural perspectives, which will benefit their futures.

4. Offer Professional Development to Teachers

A successful program that promotes international mindedness relies on strong professional staff development. Many organizations, such as the International Baccalaureate, offer programs to teachers tailored to international education.

By offering additional training to teachers, you will be able to give them a sounder understanding of culture, international curricula, multiculturalism, and more. They can then put their learnings into practice in the classroom and support students with becoming more globally aware.

5. Allow Students and Staff to Lead in Their Cultural Experiences

You can encourage students to teach other learners about the major festivals and traditions they celebrate. If your teachers come from different parts of the world or have taught in many countries, you can leverage their experiences to gain cultural awareness.

By celebrating diversity in school, students move through their education in a setting where international mindedness is the norm. Allowing them to learn from others will pave the way for their future and cultural understanding.

6. Offer Opportunities to Experience Culture Outside of School

Schools can offer trips or visits for students to expand their understanding of issues on a global scale away from the classroom. Or, consider offering extra-curricular opportunities that promote international awareness if trips are difficult to organize. Some possibilities are:

  • Special school holidays or events
  • Creating groups or clubs
  • Inviting speakers
7. Promote Learning Another Language

Providing access to learning languages at school is ideal for learners looking to increase their understanding of various diverse practices. Celebrating events, such as International Mother Tongue Day, supports the promotion of intercultural understanding and respect for many traditions.

8. Implement International Mindedness at Home

Encourage parents to support international mindedness at home. For some students, spending time with other children from around the world is the norm. However, to grow international mindedness, families can take their children to multicultural events, cultivate international friendships or go to movies with multiculturalist approaches. Global awareness and citizenship will be developed with these kinds of activities.

The journey to becoming internationally minded is ongoing, and it’s important to promote this way of thinking in schools today. A school that does this will prepare pupils for bridging gaps and enable students to understand and celebrate each other’s differences and similarities.Ensuring the development of international mindedness is a part of education that will support schools in bringing up students who can lead future decisions and encourage a supportive and happy place to learn.

Here are some other ideas to help foster not only a strong sense of global citizenship, but also to inspire students to contribute in their local community.

Highlight diversity

Spend a good deal of time, particularly at the beginning of the year, on activities that highlight the diversity found within your own classroom. Each student comes to class with a different background and culture that can enlighten the other students. Just don’t push kids to share if they aren’t ready. They might feel self-conscious about their differences and need to feel more comfortable before willing to participate.

Act locally

Our schools (rightfully so) spend a lot of time focused on how to attract people from the community to come help, either financially or through initiatives like mentoring. The best way to attract attention is to be willing to help out yourself. Organize volunteer activities for your kids not only to get the word out about the school, but also because it’s the right thing to do. Offer extra credit if you have to. If the community gets to meet some good kids, they’ll be willing to help more.

Don’t be afraid of politics (to a point)

Most districts have strict rules about how to cover political themes in class, mostly making sure materials stay unbiased. But having some knowledge about what is going on in your government is key to citizenship. If there is something going on that you think kids would be interested in, bring it up. Just make sure you keep it fair and balanced.

Leverage clubs

A lot of student organizations, like National Honor Society, make community service a key part of their activities. At some schools clubs like these are quite popular, but might still need help from adults. If your school has some civic clubs that are having a tough time getting off the ground, suggest them strongly to kids that you think would be interested and be willing to help out yourself.

Go out of the comfort zone

A key part of being a good citizen, especially locally, is to expose yourself to all of the different neighborhoods, cultures, and issues surrounding the school. Not only should you the teacher do this in an effort to better understand your students’ at-home environments, but it might also be a good idea to have the students become better acquainted with the world outside. Participate at neighborhood fairs and local holiday parades or join up with local service organizations and charities. This can be particularly valuable if your students tend to be bussed in from other neighborhoods.

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