Broadening Global Awareness and Interconnectivity to Support International Mindedness and Peace Through Education
We are certainly confident that we are doing a great job helping our students grow to be outstanding citizens. Most schools and teachers worldwide provide a formal education that assures students leave schools knowing at least the basics of math, their native language, science concepts, and social knowledge that englobes local history and local geography. Nonetheless, this formal education that arose after the first industrial revolution has been successful up until now. However, we live in the fourth industrial revolution that has been settled by the globalized technological world. The new roads that the internet has built removed the boundaries of most countries and allowed us to navigate in another dimension as a single and unique community that we use to constantly communicate, conduct business, and get married because we can be at several different places at the same time. That means the internet has made us all real “Global Citizens.”
For this reason, citizens’ education could benefit from being rethought. Schools have been impacted by buzzwords such as “21st century,” “connected world,” and “globally.” Although educators frequently hear these words as the latest trends in education, many schools still promote geographically limited information to students simply because it is what we have experienced so far.
Teaching students about global awareness
So I ask, “What are we teaching our students that guarantees their global awareness and connection?”
To start, we need to understand what it is to be a global citizen. To be a global citizen is to be a member of a world community and transcend geographical or political borders. It is to be accountable simply because we are inhabitants of an intangible, connected world — what I like to call “e-geia.” I consider e-geia this great connected world that does not include all of the countries on Earth, unfortunately, but allows all the people that have access to e-geia to coexist in this incredible parallel dimension of almost five billion active interconnected citizens.
Consequently, all countries and people that live in this huge, creative, exciting, unique, and sometimes dangerous e-continent must learn how to respect each other to be able and ready to navigate in this e-community.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, there are two definitions for the word “community”: “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common” and “the feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Therefore, we all need to abide by the multicultural differences, customs, norms, and laws in our e-geia community; hence, cultural intelligence is a requirement. In addition, we need to understand each other’s history, geographical space, politics, and beliefs to be able to have mobility, do business, and coexist in peace.
International education as the keystone to citizen mobility
So, what endorses mobility in this e-geia community? I truly believe that international education is the keystone for any citizen’s mobility. There are two primary forms of mobility — physical and virtual. In both cases, people from different cultures must coexist with total and unquestionable respect. One of the most important bases of respect is knowledge. In the e-geia 21st-century community, there is no space for cultural ignorance. Information is all around; however, previous academic knowledge such as language, history, geography, and politics assure the understanding and healthy communication of the inhabitants of the e-geia community.
Doing business in e-geia is one of the most exciting and powerful freedoms found today. Moreover, “knowing how people engage with their favorite brands and what influences them to buy are the keys to growing a successful business” (Lindsay Liedke). We are now allowed to buy, sell, and provide services to anyone at any time. A successful business solves many people’s problems, and the greater the number of people a product reaches, the greater the business is. In this way, international education certainly involves journeys and movements among people, minds, or ideas across political and cultural frontiers. International education is what opens students’ minds to think and act critically in the connected world.
If you are thinking, “I do not want to live in this connected society,” I would say that, for most people, this is no longer a choice. With the exponential evolution of world communication, the internet made no space for being an outsider. People born in the connected world are a full part of the e-geia community and must be accountable for their actions and choices. We, from the e-geia, are all insiders, and we must coexist in peace. Therefore, education is the only tool that opens doors to learning consideration and empathy that will guarantee a peaceful and respectful e-society.
What does the future hold for our global citizens?
Finally, a new neighborhood is being built in e-geia — the metaverse! The metaverse is a new dimension that Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, proposes. The idea of the metaverse is a life that is lived through augmented reality and technological glasses — people will live a completely different and exciting life. The metaverse will give real-life experience to the e-geia space, changing how people study, work, buy, and present themselves to society. Citizens from all over the world will be in the very same space talking, feeling, and living real-life experiences. For this reason, we must broaden our education system and include global awareness through international education to guarantee academic and professional mobility, a successful life, and peace.
Questions about international mindedness in schools
What is international mindedness?
International mindedness can be defined in many ways, but it includes being open to other outlooks and views, understanding different cultural contexts, and having the ability to see that other people can also be right.
Why is international mindedness important for students?
International mindedness supports with promoting respect and encouraging collaboration. In school, it supports with teaching students to be autonomous and capable and make fair choices. It also teaches students to care about one another and the environment around them.
How can I improve the development of international mindedness in schools?
To improve the development of international mindedness in educational settings, you should start with creating a solid mission statement and set of values. You could also adapt your curriculum to cover international and multi-cultural perspectives. Furthermore, you could also offer a range of language courses.
Juliana Frigerio is WorldEd School‘s co-founder who is driven by her love for international education. Owner of two degrees, Law and Education, she has joined her 10 years of experience in international law with education and has dived into engaging students across the globe since 2008. She is avid about traveling and getting to know different cultures and people.