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Perspectives from researchers

A short video from researchers from the Development Education Research Centre within IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society.
To me, development education and global learning is about how to apply learning about the wider world, about global and sustainable issues to make the world a better place. It’s not just about learning about the wider world, it’s about what you do with that learning in a way that encourages critical thinking and critical reflection about the wider world and what we can do to make the world a more just and sustainable one. One of my own major areas of research has been how we can bring those things together through a range of research projects that demonstrate the value of learning about development and global issues. I recently produced some work on what fair trade means within schools.
I’m currently writing a book on education for social change, which brings together my interest about different approaches to learning about global issues and how they connect with making the world a better place. I’ve also done quite a lot of work around the field of global skills, because I feel that’s been an area that’s been sadly neglected. There has been a lot of emphasis on knowledge and values, but much less on skills.
Finally, I would say that one of the things I’ve been most pleased about and we shall see what much more of, is how we can connect this growing body of academics and research is about these issues to policymakers and practitioners in a way that can enable us all to learn together to see what is the value of making sense of the world in which we’re living. The world is currently going through some very difficult times, whether it’s been the global pandemic, whether the impact of climate change, or increasing insecurity around the world.
What I think global learning can provide is a way of, not so much making sense of all these issues, but how we can connect some of these issues to our own growing concerns about our everyday lives. And if global learning has do one thing much more the future, it’s to ensure it connects much more what people are doing on an everyday learning basis. More than a new discipline, to me, global citizenship education or a subset or a school subject that is a new educational perspective, and ethos, making sense and framing theoretically and methodologically different types of knowledge, abilities, and values.
Among different interpretations and ideas, underpinning global citizenship publication, I personally embrace a non-neutral global social justice framework, which considers global citizenship location, not only a new educational content or a mere extension of their citizenship concept from the national to the global level, but a new perspective that allows policymakers and practitioners to re-conceptualise old issues within a new educational stance. This framework encompasses the individual global mindedness, subjective responsibility, and behaviour to our social and environmental sphere. I consider global citizenship education more an umbrella term, encompassing several issues and approaches. I’m not very interested in tracing clear boundaries between similar concepts. I’m very inclusive, and I tend to see similarities rather than differences in these concepts.
I believe that the most important contribution to global citizenship to formal and informal education is the idea to provide a new angle to overcome the conundrums of limited educational concepts- such as intercultural or multicultural education, civic or citizenship education- combining interculturality with social issues and sustainability and providing new meanings to the problems of citizenship in global, plural, and heterogeneous societies. It offers a holistic educational view, closing the traditional gap between citizenship and sustainability, human rights and environment, social and biosphere., .
This all encompassing perspective seems quite appropriate to properly address some current challenges that globalisation generated in our society. Global ending is a term that’s used currently here in the UK, in particular, and also in other places in Europe, to describe an approach to educational and particularly approaches to pedagogy, which are trying to help all learners at whatever stage in education get to grips with the big global issues and how to respond to them. So it’s partly about teaching about various global issues, but it’s also about having a very critical way of thinking about our place in those global issues and our place in the world. So understanding how our lives connect with others elsewhere.
And there’s a particular emphasis on social justice, on trying to achieve sustainability, a more equitable world, and really, understanding how what we do in our local context influences and affects what happens for other people elsewhere. It’s really good education. All education and the process of learning should, I think, involve understanding issues– all issues– from a variety of perspectives, accepting that our knowledge is very contextualised and very local and very partial. And however well-educated we might be, we don’t know everything, and we certainly don’t understand everything from everyone’s point of view.
So any teaching of any subject within a school or within a higher education establishment really ought to take a very critical perspective, a reflective perspective, and be one that challenges our assumed and presumed understandings of the world. Taking global citizenship, I think this is an interesting concept in that it focuses our minds on the action part of global learning. So in my definition of global learning earlier, I didn’t really talk so much about what the outcomes of the learning process are, and global citizenship focuses on the practise of being a citizen but in a global context.
So educating someone to be a global citizen is thinking about what is the sort of person one is trying to produce out of whatever educational intervention is being undertaken. So the focus there is on a sense of responsibility towards others, a sense of being part of a global community, working towards a world that has more equality for everybody so that everyone has equal opportunities as citizens of that global community.

Now that we have explored the range of terms that are familiar to members of the group, let’s listen to some researchers from the Development Education Research Centre, at the UCL Institute of Education.

They each discuss their own perspective on key global education terms and how they see them as important to the field. They also outline key issues and lessons they have learned from their own research.

The speakers are:

  • Professor Douglas Bourn, who gives his views on global learning and talks about his work with teachers and research on global skills.
  • Professor Massimiliano Tarozzi, who talks about the concept of global citizenship and its importance to educational practice.
  • Dr Clare Bentall, who provides her thoughts on global learning and global citizenship and their relevance to teachers in practice.

When you’re watching the videos try to consider which terms resonate most with your own ideas and experiences.

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Global Education for Teachers

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