Fostering Global Citizenship
Realizing the need for more global citizens is not the same as knowing how to guide students to become global citizens. There are classes on world history, current events, foreign languages, etc. Organizing and presenting the content to study different cultures seems easy enough. Thoughtful educators, seeking ways to foster global citizenship, realize that there is a more important question. Can content alone help students develop cross-cultural communication skills, preparing them to excel in our ever-globalizing world?
Anyone who has engaged in cross-cultural interactions knows that no amount of book learning can fully prepare you. Different parts of the world often disagree about historical perspectives. Individuals often agree and disagree with aspects of the cultures they emerge from, rendering most generalizations incorrect (or even potentials for insult). Even high levels of language proficiency sometimes only allow people to realize the extent of the gaps in communication. (This Harvard Business Review article gives some comical examples of how culturally based miscommunication causes big problems in the professional sphere.)
In real-world cross-cultural engagement, knowing how to navigate and recognize miscommunication can be just as useful as background knowledge about other cultures. Unfortunately, this kind of cross-cultural knowledge cannot be taught by conveying information. Developing cross-cultural communication skills requires cross-cultural engagement, which means that successful engagement requires the skills. For educators, the problem of assisting the development of global citizenship is a catch-22 of sorts.
The best way to prepare students to become global citizens, then, is to put them into situations where they can begin to accumulate cross-cultural experiences. Students need nurturing, supervised environments in which they can make mistakes and learn. Realizing this need for real experience, Knovva Academy runs a series of educational programming that not only covers subjects related to global citizenship, but also brings students from around the world together. The diverse participants of these meetings allow students to engage and interact with one another, having fun while together they learn traditional cross-cultural materials.
One of Knovva Academy’s solutions for this need for nurturing cross-cultural engagement is our Model G20 program. At the Model G20 (MG20), high school students from around the world congregate both to learn about the real G20, and to engage in interactive learning. These interactions consist of role-playing exercises, wherein students simulate actual G20 activities. Role-playing in a real cross-cultural environment allows students to learn about world events, while having fun with fellow students, and gaining invaluable cross-cultural experiences.
Global Citizens & The Future
In the age of the internet, technology progresses to shrink the world. With social media platforms and email, there are no limits to people connecting and communicating. Educators are faced with new challenges as we need to adjust the ways in which we prepare students to integrate in this new global world.