Educating Global Thinkers

What does it mean to be a citizen in the global context? How can we effectively educate our students to be global citizens?

Economic, political and cultural realities from around the world are merging together in the process of globalization. Advances in technology are the driving force behind this blending of societies to form a global entity. Improvements in transportation and communication industries have allowed for fast and efficient exchange of goods, ideas and information between nations continents apart. Social media “..allows messages to reach a global scale in a split second and hence enables mobilization of resources across the world. It heightens situational awareness and helps to tap volunteers from around the globe.” (Laad & Lewis, 2012, p. 13).

What are the implications of globalization for educators? Some districts have developed intentional curriculum to promote local and global thinking and participation. The Deliberative Capabilities in School Age Children (CADE) project described by Fonseca & Bujanda (2011) is one such example. The project aims to develop students skills to engage in public deliberations, develop good dialogue, make thoughtful inquiry and take “..socially shared actions aimed at improving collective life.” (P. 246).

Projects like this one highlight the need for educators,to expand our students learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. We must intentionally teach them to become informed and critical thinkers. We must embrace technologies to provide rich and authentic experiences for our students to engage in the real world.

Organizations such as Free the Children ( promote student self-efficacy by enlisting youth as a powerful force in tackling issues such as child labor, sanitation and clean drinking water, education in countries around the world. Through our school’s involvement in this organization’s WeDay campaign, I have witnessed first hand just how eager our students can be to get involved and make a difference. Perhaps our biggest job as educators is to let them!


Fonseca, C., & Bujanda, M. (2011). Promoting children’s capacities for active and deliberative citizenship with digital technologies: the cade Ppoject in costa rica. Annals Of The American Academy Of Political & Social Science, 633(1), 243-262.

Laad, G. & Lewis, G. (2012). Role of social media in crisis communication. Retrieved from

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1 Response to Educating Global Thinkers

  1. caroleware says:

    How can we effectively educate our students to be global citizens?

    Luckily for us, the students in our schools represent many locations on the globe. Students are coming to schools with a broader world view then I ever had as a child. I remember learning about areas around the province, country and world by watching filmstrips, reading books and listening to lectures from my teachers.

    Now, students at the touch of a button can be transported to almost any country with google street view, bulletin boards and world wide organizations that have websites. Instead of just looking at a single black and white photo, they are able to trace a path that a tsunami took, they can walk around in Pompei, swim in the Great Barrier Reef. With this ability, students are able to see views around the world that can help them to gain a better understanding of the world – these are not just photos that have been filtered and selected for them to see, but true photos that show the real sites within a specific area.

    The internet allows for connections between people that might never have “met”. A great example of this is in times of crisis, “the internet gives the ability to communicate quickly and effectively revolutionizing the manner in which people communicate and gather information about stories and topics that are of interest to them (Laad & Lewis, 2012, pg. 4). More and more people are starting to use the internet to start grassroots organizations and movements. Giving our students a strong sense of digital citizenship and citizenship in general will allow them to use these tools to support them in future endeavors.

    Laad, G. & Lewis, G. (2012). Role of social media in crisis communication. Retrieved from

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